Uses of Vel and -ve
The Origin of Vel
“an old imperative of volō” (AG, 324e)
Summary of Use
Vel is usually a disjunction; it should be translated or
Vel often occurs in the pairing vel…vel; this may be translated either…or or simply or
Vel may also appear “as an intensive particle with no alternative force” (324g)
- He toured three or four towns: vel tres vel quattuor urbēs ambulāvit.
- He gave the very least: dedit vel minimus.
Vel versus Aut
Formally, aut presents exclusive choice, vel present inclusive choice
- Give me liberty, or give me death: dā mihi aut lībertātem aut mortem
- She spoke like this of fortune or glory: tālis loquēbātur vel fortūnā vel glōriā
She may have spoken like that of fortune and glory, but she could not be given both liberty and death.
- This distinction isn’t strictly followed, so give it minimal concern
The Suffix -ve
Vel may also appear as the suffix -ve, holding the same force as vel
- He will come within in two or three hours: duabus tribusve horis veniet.
Famous Phrase: vel sim (or the like)
[i.e. vel similia, a disjunctive phrase corresponding to the conjunctive et cetera]