Substantive Clauses of Purpose (p1)

To understand the distinction between a substantive clause and a relative clause, follow this link.

Of substantive clauses, those that take the subjunctive have two central uses:

  • To express purpose
  • To describe results

Both such clauses either take ut or (where the purpose/results are negative).

  • He warns him to avoid all suspicious activities: monet ut omnēs suspīciōnēs vītet.
  • I beg that you aid her: tē rogō ut eam iuvēs.
  • He persuades them to leave: persuādet ut abeant.
  • He orders his men not to return: suīs imperāvit nē redeant.

A few things to note in the examples above:

  • The third phrase would look identical as either a substantive clause of purpose or result. One must use context to determine whether he is in the process of persuading them to leave, or whether he has already achieved this result.
  • The verbs that take substantive clauses may also take secondary objects (I beg you; He orders them) in any case except the nominative.

Substantive Clauses of Purpose are used with a variety of verbs and verbal phrases to denote actions that have future/planned directive. Such as:

  • (id) agō, agere, ēgī, actum, I do it (so that)
  • censeō, censēre, censuī, censum, I think, suppose, judge, recommend
  • ēdīcō, ēdīcere, ēdīxī, ēdictum, I publish, decree
  • mandō, mandāre, mandāvī, mandātum, I order, command
  • precor, precārī, precātus sum, I beg, pray

In general, verbs of admonishing, asking, bargaining, commanding, decreeing, determining, permitting, persuading, resolving, urging and wishing are apt to take an ut/nē substantive clause of purpose. For a fuller list, see A&G 563 fn1.

In poetry, don’t be surprised to find an infinitive clause standing as a substitute for the substantive. There are also more common prose variations for particular verbs and verbal phrases under this general heading, which I’ll sort through in coming posts.

The Essential AG: 563


Substantive Clauses

A&G define the substantive clause as “a clause…used as a noun,” in contrast to the relative clause, which operates in place of adjectives or adverbs.

  • I am the man whom you are seeking. (relative clause, as adjective)
  • She ascended, as Ariadne ascended with Dionysius. (relative clause, as adverb)
  • They warned us this would happen. (substantive clause, as noun)
  • She wishes to see you immediately. (substantive clause, as noun)

To tease this out more explicitly, the relative clauses redefine or redescribe ‘man’ and ‘ascended,’ whereas the substantive clauses are effectively an apposition of the verb.

  • They warned us this would happen = their warning was ‘this would happen’
  • Shes wishes to see you immediately = this is her wish: to see you immediately

A&G refine this, stating that a substantive clause will always apposite a nominative or accusative case. (In the example above, she wishes x and they warned us x would both be in the accusative in Latin.)

English is partial to abstract nouns, where Latin is partial to verbal phrases.

  • She demanded an investigation: postulābat ut quaestiō habērētur.

Substantive Clauses Take Four General Forms:

  • Subjunctive Clauses
  • Indicative Clauses with quod
  • Indirect Questions (with the Subjunctive)
  • Infinitive Clauses

This fourth form, the infinitive (with possible subjective accusative) is not properly a clause. Still these often replace ut clauses with the subjunctive, and are the mainstay of indirect discourse.

The Essential AG: 560-62

Verbs of Reminding

At the start, I should differentiate verbs of reminding from verbs of recalling/remembering.

  • I remind Sally to wash the dishes.
  • I remember Sally used to wash the dishes. She was terrible at it.

Latin displays a similar grammatical differentiation.

  • Verbs of remembering take the genitive or the accusative, with a varying sense for each. (see my post here.)
  • Verbs of reminding take the genitive and the accusative.

With verbs of reminding, the accusative describes the person reminded, the genitive describes the thing reminded (except in rare cases, where a neuter pronoun appears in the accusative as well).

  • The girl reminded him of his daughter: puella eum filiae admonēbat.
  • Allow me to remind you of your duty: vōs mihi liceat vestrī officiī admonēre.
  • I remind them of this: eōs hōc moneō.

Another common construction is accusative of the personal reminded with dē + ablative to describe the thing reminded.

  • I reminded her of the party: eam dē conviviō monuī. 

Verbs of Reminding:

  • admoneō, admonēre, admonuī, admonitum
  • commonefaciō, commonefacere, commonefēcī, commonefactum
  • commonefiō, commonefiērī, commonefactus sum
  • moneō, monēre, monuī, monitum

(I place moneō last because it’s common, but it generally takes a double accusative, or the + ablative construction)

The Essential AG: 351

Verbs of Forgetting

These operate in congress with verbs of remembering and recalling.

  • With the accusative, they denote a physical loss of possession of some memory—a falling away of some piece of memory from the mind.
  • With the genitive, they deny a mindful or attentive state, with respect to some topic or object of memory.
  • I forgot the cat at home: felem domī oblītus sum.
  • I neglect the cat’s basic needs: rērum felis oblīviscor.
  • Let them forget the Greeks: Graiōs oblīviscantur.
  • Don’t let her be careless of the Greek statues: cavē nē Graia statua oblīviscātur. (They’re fragile!)

As with verbs of remembering:

  • Personal pronouns (meī, tuī, suī, nostrī) are generally in the genitive.
  • Neuter pronouns (illum, istum, hōc) are generally in the accusative.

Verbs of Forgetting:

  • oblīviscor, oblīviscī, oblītus sum, forget
  • dēdiscō, dēdiscere, dēdidicī, forget, unlearn, Jamaican word for 70s dance

The Essential AG: 350a-b

Verbs of Remembering and Recalling

The verbs of remembering and recalling take either and accusative or a genitive.

  • With the accusative, they describe a sort of physical possession of some object within the mind or memory.
  • With the genitive, they describe a mindful or contemplative state with respect to some object.
  • I remember Sulla killing the man: Sullam quattuor hominēs interficere meminī.
  • He thought fondly of Sulla: Sullae benē meminerat.
  • She remembers her own dog, but not her neighbor’s dog: suum canem meminit, set nōn sui vicinī canem.
  • She was mindful of her own business: suae meminerat.

Recall that meminī is a perfect with present sense (denoted a perfected state), and pluperfect with perfect (past) sense.

Also, note:

  • Personal pronouns (meī, tuī, suī, nostrī) are generally in the genitive.
  • Neuter pronouns (illum, istum, hōc) are generally in the accusative.

Some other common verbs of remembering:

  • revocō, revocāre, revocāvī, revocātum
  • memorō, memorāre, memorāvī, memorātum (sic. commemorō, etc.)
  • teneō, tenēre, tenuī, tentum

(I can’t confirm this, but I get the sense that teneō would only take the accusative, and not the airier ‘remembering state’ wit hthe genitive. I feel this is true because it’s more directly attached to physical possession than the other verbs.)

Reminīscor, reminīscī, – is a rare alternative, though it takes the same two options: accusative for physical possession of memory, or gentive of a mindful state.

Recordor, recordārī, recordātus sum usually takes the accusative, though may take dē + ablative.

  • I am reminded of their tears: dē suōrum lacrimīs recordor.

The Essential AG: 350a-d

Participle with Verbs of Effecting

Verbs denoting completed action (faciō, indūcōredeō, dō) may take a participle in place of an infinitive of the same verb, rendering the description more forcible:

  • Many did away with their officers: praefectōs suōs multī missōs fēcērunt.
  • Many made their officers leave: praefectōs suōs multī mittere fēcērunt.
  • She will get everything done: trānsactum omne reddet.
  • She will work to complete everything: omne transigere reddet.
  • Don’t make her angry with me: nē mihi incensam dēs.
  • Don’t cause her to begim angry with me: nē mihi illiam incendere dēs.

This effect is frequent with constructions describing the actions of authors:

  • Xenophon presents Socrates disputing: Xenophōn facit Sōcratem disputantem.
  • Plato introduced Alcibiades drunk: Platō indūxit Alcibiādem pōtum.

The Essential AG: 497c

Predicate Accusatives

In double accusative constructions, predicate accusatives are (a) both objects of the same verb and (b) synonymous with one another. They are especially common with verbs of naming, choosing, appointing, making, esteeming and showing.

  • They elected Cicero consul: Cicerōnem cōnsulem creavērunt.
  • The people will soon name me augur: populus mē mox augurem nōminābunt.
  • He thought no one a man in comparison with himself: hominem prae sē nēminem putāvit.
  • He offered himself as leader: ducem sē praebuit.
  • She turned boys into men: puerōs virōs vertēbat.
  • The girl named the horse Blondie: puella Flavum equum appellāvit.

The distinction here is with double accusative constructions that feature two different accusative objects.

  • She taught the boys the basics: puerōs elementa docuit.

There is no identity between the boys and their basics, whereas with Cicero and consul are now synonymous in the first example above.

When these constructions are made passive, both predicates are put in the nominative.

  • Cicero is elected consul: Cicerō cōnsul creātur.
  • Blondie was named by the girl: Flavus ab pellā appellātus est.

The predicate accusative can also be an adjective.

  • Old age makes men mild and gentle: aevus mītēs et mānsuētōs hominēs facit.

The Essential AG: 392-3

Perhaps If You Read This…

There’s a particular distinction between fortisan and fortasse (both meaning ‘perhaps’) that isn’t intuitive.

  • Fortisan regularly take a (Potential) subjunctive, except in those rare moments of poetry, where it takes the indicative.
  • Fortasse usually takes the indicative, except in those rare moments of poetry, where it takes the subjunctive.
  • Fortasse occasionally takes an infinitive, but only in Roman Comedy
  • Perhaps you will ask what all this fuss is: forsitan quaerātis quī iste terror sit.
  • Perhaps I have acted rashly: forsitan temerē fēcerim.
  • Perhaps you will ask me what all this fuss is about: quaerēs fortasse, quī iste terror sit.
  • Perhaps that was a mistake: fortasse errāvī.

Other ‘Perhaps’ Constructions:

  • forsan, chiefly takes the indicative, though it takes both pretty evenly-handed.
  • fors, rare to begin with, it takes either the indicative or the subjunctive
  • forsit / for sit, occurs just once, in Horace, and takes the subjunctive
  • fortassis, rare and takes the indicative
  • fortasse an (note the switch) is rare and takes the subjunctive (whereas fortasse is usually with the indicative)

The Essential AG: 447a-b

Ablative of Dignity

(It’s not an official ablative, I realize, but play along.)

The adjectives dīgnus, -a, -um and indīgnus, -a, -um take an ablative object.

  • She was a woman most worthy of her mother, grandmother and forebears: fēmīna matre, avā et abaviīs dīgnissima fuit.
  • He judged you entirely unworthy of every honor: tē omnī honōre indīgnissimum iūdicāvit.

Dīgnus and indīgnus can also initiate a subjunctive relative clause (or more rarely a clause with ut).

  • Dignified things are those which you labor over: dīgna sunt in quibus ēlabōrārēs.
  • He is worthy who kills the thief: dīgnus quī fūrem interficiat.
  • They are unworthy of our ransom: indīgnī sunt ut redimerēmur.

The adjectives will sometimes take a genitive instead, but only in colloquial usage or poetry.

Occasionally, the poet will also use these adjectives with an infinitive.

  • You were worthy to spare: parcere dīgna erās.

The verb dīgnor, dīgnārī, dīgnātus also takes an ablative.

  • I am unworthy of such an honor: nōn mē tālī honōre dīgnor.
  • She was worthy of the prize: praemiō dīgnāta est.

The Essential AG: 318b

Verbs of Exchange and Trade

With verbs of exchange and trade, either the thing given or the thing taken are placed in the ablative of price:

  • He barters his faith and piety for money: fidem et pietātem suam pecūniā commūtat.
  • He exchanges his wealth for faith and piety: pecuniam suam fidē et pietātē commūtat.
  • He exchanged his native land for exile: exsilium patriā mūtāvit.
  • He exchange exile for his native land: patriam exsiliō mūtāvit.

Note the slight change in English for each variation.

Exchanges are often performed with cum.

  • He exchanged his sword for a bow: ensem cum arcō vertit.

The Essential AG: 417b