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

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Intensified Verb Variants

The verbal stem –essō (rarely -issō) may be grafted onto existing verbs to denote a certain energy or eagerness of action (though not necessarily repetition.)

  • Capiō (take) —> capessō (snatch)
  • Faciō (do) —> facessō (do eagerly)
  • Petō (seek) —> petissō (look frantically for)

Declension of such verbs is usually third declension for present and infinitive, but fourth declension for perfect and supine.

  • Capessō, capessere, capessīvī, capessītum
  • Petissō, petissere, petissīvī, petissītum

This is somehow related to the rare variant of the future perfect stem -āssō.

  • amāssis (for ameris)
  • although these forms are so rare that there’s no complete declension of any one verb in this form in all extant Latin literature, fragmentary appearances suggest that these too would follow the third (present, infinitive) / fourth (perfect, supine) pattern

The Essential AG: 183.5, 263.2b, 236.2bn

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

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

Objects Direct and Indirect

Pardon the vacation, everyone. I’ve spent the last week cramming for and completing the GRE.

Direct Objects are “immediately affected by the action of a verb” within a standard sentence.

  • Direct objects always follow transitive verbs

Indirect Objects are less than immediately affected by the action of the verb

  • This definition captures the indirect sensibility of genitive and ablative indirect objects, which are not your standard ‘recipient of gift’ phenomena
  • Indirect objects are immediately affected by the milieu of a subject-verb-direct object ‘unit’, regardless of whether this ‘unit’ states all parts explicitly
  • Indirect objects may therefore follow transitive or intransitive verbs

The accusative is the case proper to direct objects, yet an English sentence containing a direct object, where translated to Latin, may feature the other cases as well.
Direct and Indirect in Latin

The following sentences, in English, all feature ‘girl’ as direct object, yet in Latin receive either direct or indirect variations, dependent on the particular syntax of the Latin verb:

  • puellam videō: I see the girl.
  • puellae serviō: I serve the girl. (dative, indirect)
  • puellae misereor: I pity the girl. (genitive, indirect)
  • puellā ūtor: I make use of the girl. (ablative, indirect)

Note that the dative usage holds the regular ‘recipient of gift’ formula that we’d imagine in English, yet the genitive and ablative examples feature non-active verbs, which couldn’t take any object in English without a preposition.

Indeed, the conservative structure of Latin syntax allows Latin to omit many English prepositions when constructing subject-verb-direct object units:

  • petit aprum: he aims at the boar.
  • laudem affectat: he strives for praise.

Where the direct object/subject transition, in English, requires a preposition, Latin merely requires a shift in case:

  • pater fīlium vocat: the father calls his son
  • fīlius patre vocātur: the son is called by his father

The Essential AG: 274-5

Nouns of Agency

Nouns of Agency

Nouns of agency are nouns derived from verbal stems which describe and agent or actor associated with the action.

Endings in -tor and -trix

Some nouns of agency are derive from the use of the endings -tor (or -sor) for male agents and –trix for female agents

  • the endings are attached to the stem of the verb’s perfect passive participle
  • canere (to sing) –> cantus –> cantor, cantoris / cantrix, cantricis (singer)
  • vincere (to conquer) –> victus –> victor, victoris / victrix, victicis (victor)
  • petere (to seek) –> petitus –> petitor, petitoris / petitrix, petitricis (candidate

Occasionally, -tor and –trix may also be added to noun roots

  • via, -ae (road) –> viator, viatrix (traveller)

Endings in -es

Further, agent nouns may be derived by adding -es to the stem of the verb’s present active infinitive:

  • praestare (to stand before) –> praestes, praestitis (guard)
  • tegere (to cover) –> teges, tegetis (coverer, mat)

Again, also from nouns

  • pes, pedis (food) –> pedes, peditis (foot-soldier)

Endings in -o

Finaly, the ending -o describes persons employed in a particular trade

  • Again, these are derived from the stem of the verb’s present active infinitive:
  • gerere (to carry) –> gero, geronis (carrier)

The Essential AG: 236