Ad Incipiam

The Origin of Ad

“obscure and doubtful” (AG, 219)

Summary of Use

Ad takes and accusative; it may be translated to, toward, at, near

Ad precedes its noun, with exceptions in poetry

Basic Uses


  • She came to the city: ad urbem venit.
  • She came to him: ad eam venit.


  • They danced until the ninth hour: saltābant ad nōnam hōram.
  • They assembled on the [appointed] day: convēnērunt ad diem.


  • He spoke in this way: loquēbātur ad hunc modum.
  • He was sentenced to death: condemnāvit ad mortem. (ad of penalty)
  • He went into politics: adiit ad rem pūblicam.
  • Besides, he was dead: ad hōc periit.  
  • It is fit for the ways of war: aptus est ad rem bellum. (ad of fitness)
  • It is useful to us for this thing: nōbis ūtile est ad hanc rem. (ad of use)

Ad versus In

“With the name of a country, ad denotes to the borders; ininto the country itself.” (AG, 428c)

  • He came to Italy: ad Ītaliam venit.
  • He came into Italy; in Ītaliam venit.

The temporal uses ad and in are identical.

  • They wandered until nightfall: ad noctem errāvērunt.
  • They wandered until nightfall: in noctem errāvērunt.

With Gerunds and Gerundives

“The accusative of the gerund and gerundive is often used after the preposition ad, to denote purpose.” (AG, 506)

  • You summon me to write: mē vocās ad scrībendum.
  • You live to outdo your crimes: vīvis ad vincandum nefas.


Ad may be used to form numerous verbal compounds, or the prepositional compounds adversus (against) and adversum (towards)

The prepositions take an accusative; most of the verbs take an accusative.

The Essential AG: 221.2

Famous Phrase: ad fontes (to the source) [motto of the Renaissance humanists]