Uses of Quīn

Origin of Quīn

Quīn is a contracted conjunction (viz. quī + ) with negative force

Summary of Use

Where used explicitly, quīn may be translated why not, but is otherwise more subtle mechanic for the sentence, and translations will vary case to case

All translations of quīn will carry negative force

Quīn initiates a subjunctive or (rarely) an indicative clause

Subjunctive clauses may be attached to particular verbs or function as clauses of result or characteristic

Indicative clauses will work as commands

Quīn with Hindering, Resisting and Refusing

Quīn produces the subjunctive where it follows negative statements of hindering, resisting, refusing, doubting, failing, neglecting, delaying, etc.

e.g. I could not resist, I did not doubt, She did not delay

  • He does not doubt you said these things: nōn dubitāt quīn haec fāta sīs. 
  • I could not neglect to write to you: praeterīre nōn potuī quīn scriberem ad tē.
  • She does not object to your judging: nōn recūsat quīn iūdicēs.
  • He just missed killing Varus: paulum āfuit quīn Vārum interficeret.
  • There is no doubt that he wants to kill him: nōn est dubium quīn eum interficere velit.

Nōn Dubitō as Exception

Nōn dubitō, where it means I do not doubt, takes the standard construction above (3.2; 3.6)

Nōn dubitō, where it means I do not hesitate, may take the standard construction or (commonly) an infinitive

  • Nōn dubitō illum appellāre sapientem: I do not hesitate to call him a sage

Very rarely, verbs of hindering will also take the infinitive

  • There is nothing to prevent saying it: nihil obest dicere

Quīn with Result and Characteristics Clauses

Where quīn has literal equivalency, (meaning quī nē, etc.), it will initiate a subjunctive clause of result or characteristic

  • No one is so senseless as not to think this: nēmō est tam dēmēns quīn hōc putāret.
  • There was not one of these soldiers who was not wounded: nēmō fuit mīlitum quīn vulnerārētur.
  • Not one of them was not a senator: nēmō illōrum fuit quī nōn senātus esset.

Quīn with Commands

Quīn may move with imperative force, with an indicative verb, and should be translated why not?

  • Why not take it: quīn accipis? 
  • Why not listen to her: quīn eam nōn audītis? 

The Essential AG: 558; 559.1, 559.2

Famous Phrase: facere nōn possum quīn cotīdiē ad tē mittam 

(I cannot help writing to you every day.)

[Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, xii.27.2]



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