Well, At Least Try

Two related of clauses of effort take a substantive clause of purpose with ut + subjunctive. They are classed under the general heading of such phrases that denote an action directed toward the future.

  • I will give it my best shot so that you will be satisfied: huic optīmam operam dābō tibi gratum sīs.
  • Let us attempt it now, to spare ourselves later pains: operam nunc dēmus ut postmodo onera vītēmus.
  • I will chew this over tomorrow: huic negōtium dābō postrīdiē.
  • Take care of this matter so that the plants do not die: huic negōtium dāte ne germina excīdant.

Note this alternative construction for operam dare.

  • He made the effort for the sake of learning: operam dedit discēndō. (gerundive clause)

The Essential AG: 505, 505n1, 563

3 comments on “Well, At Least Try

  1. Did you take these examples from a good source, or are they your own inventions? There seem to be some problems there:

    1) “HUIC operam dabo”; are you sure the use of ‘huic’ in this type of sentence is real Classical Latin? A priori, I would expect to read “HOC/ID operam dabo”, but I haven’t been able to find classical examples of that either. So maybe you just can’t use a neuter pronoun at all, I’m not sure.

    2) There are some prosodical errors. I’m pretty sure ‘Dare’ has a short A in all of its forms. If the I in ‘optimus’ were long, you would have to place the word stress on it. Same for the I in ‘placitus’, and the I in ‘excidant’ (or is this really ex-caedere?).

    3) “Let us attempt it now is an exhortation”, so why would the Latin use an indicative imperfect? Maybe you could use ‘dêmus’?

    4) ‘Ut placita sis’ does not mean ‘so that you will be satisfied’, it means ‘so that you (a woman) may have pleased’ (used mostly in poetry, ‘placitum est’ is a synonym of ‘placuit’). A better translation might be ‘ut contenta sis’ or ‘ut tibi gratum sit’.

    5) ‘Postridie’: wouldn’t ‘cras’ be a better translation for ‘tomorrow’?

    6) The nominative plural of the neuter noun ‘germen’ is ‘germina’.

  2. I forgot: ‘ut non’ should become ‘ne’.

  3. rsmease says:

    Thanks for your guidance!

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