Ablative of Price and Genitive of Quantity

The price of something is put in the ablative case.

  • He sold the land for money: agrum pecūniā vendidit.
  • Jokes: who wants them for a dinner: logōs rīdiculōs: quis cēnā poscit?

The ablative of price is similar to the ablative of penalty, as it is ultimately an (adverbial) ablative of material, describing the compositional means by which an exchange is achieved.

What you’ll see as often or more often than the ablative of price are similar genitive words indicating indefinite value.

  • It is of great importance to me: mihi magnī interest.
  • That doesn’t matter to me: illud parvī mihi rēfert.
  • The cloak is worthy a great deal to me: amiculum mihi tantī est.
  • I care nothing for this color: istum colōrem nīlī (or nihilī) pendō.

Common words with the genitive of value: magnī, parvī, tantī, quantī, plūris, minōris, nihilī/nīlī, assis, floccī.

(floccī is ‘of a lock of wool.’)

  • I care not a straw: nōn floccī pendō.

The verbs of buying and selling:

  • concilio, conciliāre, conciliāvī, conciliātus: to buy
  • parō, parāre, parāvī, parātus: to buy
  • redimō, redimere, redēmī, redemptus: to buy back
  • vendō, vendere, vendidī, venditus: to sell
  • dō, dāre, dedī, datus: to give, sell

For more on intersum and rēferō:


The Essential AG: 416-17

6 comments on “Ablative of Price and Genitive of Quantity

  1. Kathy says:

    I am very much enjoying this site since I recently discovered it. I was particularly amused by “flocci” in today’s post, since as an avid knitter and fiber worker as well as a Latin teacher I’ve chosen the internet tag “carpe lanam,” the phrase “non flocci pendo” has a slightly different connotation for me! Anyway, thanks for feeding the addiction!

    • rsmease says:

      The ties between knitting and the classics are strong. I know of two girls who frequently knit in class, which is a little rude, but one of them always gives her products to the professor, so it could be worse.

  2. When expressing love for someone, friend, how would that be done? Would the amount of love be considered a price, and thus put in the ablative? Example: You are my most precious friend.

    • rsmease says:

      I’m not sure it would. It might be possible to express the statement this way, but instinct tell me that you’d just you a superlative: carissimus mihi es!

      • Multās grātiās tibi agō! So, saying to my dearest friend that she’s my most precious friend, the correct way would be something like «Amīca dulcis mea, (tū) amīca cārissima es.»

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