Colloquial Omission of Verbs

In colloquial and poetic language, common verbs like dīcō, faciō, agō and the like are often omitted.

  • What does this aim at: quō hōc [spectat]?
  • You will know a lion by his claws: ex ungue leōnem [cōgnōscēs].
  • What shall I say of this: quid [dē hōc dicam]?
  • The songstress thus spoke in replay: haec contrā cantrix [inquit].
  • Then Cotta said: tum Cotta [inquit].
  • Where are you from, and where are you of to: unde [venīs] et quō [tendis]?

Sum, as a copula, is omitted quite frequently where it is a present indicative or present infinitive:

  • You are his wife: tū coniūnx [es].
  • What need of many words: quid multa [verbōrum est]?
  • What then? Am I the boldest of all: quid ergō [est]? audācissimus ego ex omnibus [sum]?
  • The best things are rare: omnia praeclāra rāra [sunt]?
  • Hear first what must be accomplished: accipe quae peragenda prius [sunt].

As you might imagine, omission of sum will be especially popular in proverbs and sententiae, where clever identities and definitions are made all the time, making a est or a sunt all too predictable.

The Essential AG: 319a

Datophilic Verb Phrases

Verbs Takings the Dative (p7/7)

Datophilic Phrases

Phrases with Corresponding Verbs

There are a variety of phrases that take the dative, corresponding in sense to more basic categories of verbs that take the dative

  • I am on hand to aid Caesar: iuvendī Caesaris praestō sum. (cf. adsum)
  • She will humor his request: precī eius mōrem geret. (cf. mōrigeror)
  • Let us all do favors for our loved ones: omnēs amantibus grāta faciāmus. (cf. grātificor)
  • The dog is only obedient to me: iste canis solum mihi dictō audiēns est. (cf. oboedīre)
  • I held confidence in her prophecy: suō effatī fidem habuī. (cf. cōnfidō)

Indepedent Phrases

Other phrases take the dative according to their own, particular sense

  • The Furies inflict their injuries upon the men: Eumenides eīs damna dant.  
  • This slave did me an injury: hīc servus mihi iniūriam fēcit!
  • They brought the slave to trial: servō diem dixērunt.
  • They set the day of the election: comitibus diem dixērunt.
  • They were told to thank the father: grātiās agere patrī iussī sunt.
  • I am thankful to Pompey: grātiam Pompeiō habeō.
  • I must repay Pompey the favor: grātiam Pompeiō mihi referendum est.
  • There is need of action: gerendō opus est.
  • Children too rarely honor their parents: liberī parentibus rarius honōrem habent.
  • He is given credit: acceptum eō ferre est.

The Poetic Dative

The poets put the dative in numerous places were strict Latin syntax suggests some other, more regular, case

  • Nor would I dare to tear the clinging crown from that highly lauded head: nēque egō illī detrahere ausīm / haerentem capitī cum multā laude corōnam (Horace, Satires, 1.10.48-9) [prō abl.]
  • Scorning Iarbas, and the leaders of other men, whom the rich soil of Africa nourishes in triumph–will you also fight a pleasing lover: dēspectus Iarbas / ductorēsque aliī, quōs Āfrica terra triumphīs / dīves alit: placitōne etiam pugnābis amorī? [prō cum + abl. or in + acc.]
  • She filled the wound with tears, and mixed mourning with blood: vulnerā supplēvit lacrimīs flētumque cruōrī / miscuit [Ovid, Metamorphoses, 4.139-140] [prō abl.]

The Essential AG: 367 n2, 368.3a, 413a

Famous Phrase: prīus quam incipiās, consultō et, ubī consuluerīs factō opus est

[before you being, there is need of planning, and where you’ve consulted–of action!]

Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 1.6

verbs_dative_7.pdf