Uses of the Gerundive
Summary of the Gerundive
The gerundive has two distinct forms–it may appear as verbal adjective (gerundive proper) or as verbal noun [the gerund–see ‘Uses of the Gerund’ (Gerund and Gerundive)]
- There gerundive is attributive, the gerund substantive
The gerundive, a verbal adjective, “is always passive, denoting necessity, obligation, or propriety” (AG, §500)
The gerundive proper has three uses:
- It may agree with a noun, conferring a descriptive sense of necessity, obligation or propriety onto that noun
- It may appear within the secondary periphrastic construction, as a predicate to some noun with esse
- With certain verbs to express purpose
The Gerundive as Adjective
- We see a brave man, worthy to be preserved: fortem et cōnservandum virum vidēmus.
- We hear from him that an unbearable injury is done: iniūria facta esse nōn ferenda eō audīmus.
The Gerundive with the Second Periphrastic
Recall that the second periphrastic is a construction tying some form of esse to the gerundive (‘future passive participle’)
- Won’t he need to be heard: nōnnē audiendus eus erit?
- The city must be taken: urbs capienda est.
The Gerundive as Impersonal Periphrastic
Note that this is the only use of the gerundive capable of taking an object, and the use that falls nearest to the gerund
Since these gerundives, like all gerunds, are neuter, they can only be distinguished in sense–gerundives always carry a tone of necessity, obligation or propriety
- Time must be obeyed: temporī serviendum est.
- Caesar must not be succeeded: Caesarī nōn succendum est.
- Moderate exercise must be used: ūtendum est exercitātiōnibus modicīs (abl.)
The Gerundive of Purpose
The gerundive may appear with certain verbs, those describing giving, delivering, agreeing for, having, receiving, undertaking and demanding
- He took care that the ships and cargoes should be kept: nāvīs atque onera adservanda cūrābat.
- He held the temple for overseeing: aedem habuit tuendam.
- He admitted the men for prayers: virōs petendōs accēpit.
Essential AG: 196, 500
Famous Phrase: ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam
(With that, I say that Carthage must be destroyed.)
[Cato the Elder ended all of his speeches with this line after the Second Punic War. His wishes were fulfilled, three years after his death, in 146 BC.]