Irregular Imperatives in Compounds

What you probably know:

Somewhere in Latin class, you likely came across the most common irregular imperatives: dīc, fer, dūc, fac — Speak, Carry, Lead, Do. I repeat them in this order to recreate the mnemonic DFDF, SCLD — Dufus! Dufus! Scold him!, which I was introduced to early on.

What you might not know is whether these irregular forms are maintained within compounds. Indeed, they are, with one exception.

  • Cōnfer haec exempla: compare these examples.
  • Infer tribūtum reditūs foederāle semel in annō: pay your federal income taxes once a year.
  • Eam addūc ut moveat: persuade her to move.
  • Dēdūc maiōrīs verbīs fābulam: expand on your story with more words.
  • Maledīc donec potes: curse them while you still can.

The exception is therefore fac, which is derived from faciō, a verb that more often than not takes its compounds in –ficiō. Such compounds do not display an irregular imperative.

  • Effice tria carmina: complete three poems.
  • Infice regem priusquam cīvēs cōnficiat: poison the kill before he kills the citizens.

If you’d like a refresher on the plurals: cōnferte, addūcite, maledīcite, facīte, efficite, etc.

Also, note that early late features the occasional face, dūce, and dīce (but never fere).

The Essential A & G: 182.


Imperative-esque Colloquial Phrases

I found these poor guys tossed at the end of the section on imperative mood, but they could all work well for your conversational Latin, so have a look:

All three phrases [cūrā ut; fac / fac ut; velim] make use of the subjunctive mood in a clause, much like the clauses of purpose I’ve been discussing of late.

  • Make sure you’re at Rome: cūrā ut Rōmae sīs
  • Makes sure that you take care of your health: fac ut valētūdinem cūrēs.
  • Be (Remain) at home: facite adsītīs domī.
  • I wish that you would send it to me: eum mihi velim mittās.

These are all great ‘polite imperative’ alternatives to the rather clumsy ‘amābō tē‘ that we’re likely more familiar with.

The Essential AG: 449