The Flavors of Favor

How do you express favor in Latin—what verbs, cases and constructions are on your plate? There are a few basic flavors the favor construction.

The most obvious construction is faveō + a dative object. This verb only rarely appears absolutely (without an object).

  • Do you favor my resources, or those of Caesar: meīs rēbus favētis, aut Caesāris?
  • He prefers the stillness of the evening hours: silentiō noctis favet.

Annuō + dative of person + accusative object usually means ‘to grant + someone + something’ but may also appear as annuō + dative of person and merely mean ‘to favor someone.’

  • She favored the better cause: ratiōnī maiōri annuit.

Adiuvō + accusative ordinarily means ‘aid’ but may in certain oblique cases approach ‘favor.’

  • Favor us with your prayers: nōs precibus adiuvā!

The Essential AG: 367.

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I’m positive. In fact, I’m postpositive.

The words enim, etenim and neque enim are all postpositive tools for emphasis. They typically occur in the second position, but may occur in the third, where the second word is emphatic.

Enim and its emphatic counterpart, etenim, may add an affirmative pulse to a statement or clause. In this sense, they function much as equidem, certē and vērō, though these are not necessarily postpositive.

  • …sed enim istaec captio est: …but this is clearly a trick!
  • in hīs est enim aliqua obscūritās: in fact, these matters contain some mystery.
  • Quid agis?—Nihil enim: What are you up to?—Nothing, truly! (~Nothing, I swear!)

Etenim is very popular in parenthetical phrases.

  • dux huius agminis Caesar est (etenim est prīmus mīlitum): the leader of this line is Caesar, because, of course, he is the first among soldiers.
  • Kate Medoppidum (quae etenim modo hērēdem peperit) nōn trēs diēs vīsa est: Kate Middleton, who as you know just gave birth to the heir, has not been seen for three days.

Enimvērō is another option.

  • Ille enimvēro negat: he, of course, denies it.

The Essential AG: 324h, 324j-k, 599b

Hold the Quam, Please

The comparatives plūs, minus, amplius, and longius may be seen operating without the use of quam while performing the same semantic work. Generally, these operate with a measure or number and no change in case.

  • Plūs septigentī captī sunt. More than seven hundred were taken.
  • Plūs teriī parte interfectā, nos perditī esse putāvimus, With more than one-third slain, we thought ourselves done for.
  • Aditus in lātitūdinem nōn amplius ducentōrum pedum relinquēbātur. An approach of not more than two hundred feet in width was left. (Genitive of measure.)

The Essential AG: 407c

Minus and Minimē with Negative Force

Minus and minimē are the comparative adverbs meaning less so and least of all. However, in colloquial Latin they typically fill the role of ‘not’ and ‘no.’

  • Sī minus possunt, exeāmus. If they are unable, let us head out.
  • Audācissimus ego tand’ ex omnibus?—minimē. Am I therefore the most outrageous of men? Certainly not.

This effect is also present in in phrases with the subjunctive and quōminus (= ut eō minus).

  • Nōn aetās impedit quōminus agrī colendī studia teneāmus. Age does not prevent us from retaining an interest in tilling the soil.
  • Nihil impedit quōminus id facere possīmus. Nothing prevents us from doing that.

The Essential AG: 558b

Comparison of Regular Adverbs

Remember two simple rules and you’ll have this mastered in no time:

  1. A comparative adverb is always the neuter singular accusative of the corresponding comparative adjective. (ex. clārius)
  2. The superlative adverb is just the superlative stem of the corresponding superlative adjective with –ē. (ex. clārissimē)

Here are some additional examples:

  • carē, cārius, cārissimē, dearly, more dearly, most dearly
  • miserē, miserius, miserrimē, wretchedly, more wretchedly, most wretchedly
  • leviter, levius, levissimmē, lightly, more lightly, most lightly
  • audācter, audācius, audācissimē, boldly, more boldly, most boldly
  • bene, melius, optimē, well, better, best
  • male, peius, pessimē, poorly, worse, worst

The Essential AG: 218

Comparison of Adverbs: Irregular and Defective

Here are some irregular adverbs that defy the rules set up in this post.

  • diū, diūtius, diūtissimē, for a long time, for a longer time, for the longest time
  • potius, —— potissimum, rather, first of all
  • saepe, saepius,saepissimē, often, more often/again, most often
  • satis, satius, —— enough, preferable
  • secus, sētius, —— otherwise, worse
  • multum (or multō), magis (or mage), maximē, much, more, most
  • parum, minus, minimē, not enough, less, least
  • nūper, ——, nūperrimē, newly, most newly
  • temperē, temperius, —— seasonably, more seasonably

Most of these are either disconnected from their corresponding adjectives (semantically), or are defective in either comparative or superlative form. However, the real outlier here is the multum/ō, magis/e, maximē set, which is an aggregate of various options. Multō is of course the ablative singular neuter for the positive adjective, and mage the neuter accusative of the comparative adjective.

Magis and maximē may also be paired with other adjectives to create their comparatives, especially in adjectives ending in -eus or -ius (in the positive.)

  • idōneus, magis idōneus, maximē idōneus, fit, more fit, most fit

The Essential AG: 128, 218a