Throwing a Fit

The impersonal phrase ‘fit ut‘ may be rendered in English as ‘it happens that…’ or ‘it comes about that…’ and takes a subjunctive clause in Latin. This ut-clause may be classed as one of result.

Recall that fit is the third person singular active indicative of fiō, which bears a complicated relationship to faciō, explained best by Mark Damen here. For more information on fiō, don’t bother with the Perseus edition of Lewis and Short. Even the advanced entry looks like this—

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 2.53.53 PMSo detailed! So precise!

Here are a few examples of fit ut in action—

Fit ut hominēs causā nullā multa timeant: It (often) happens that men fear many things with little (good) reason.

Fit ut imbri crebrō certāmen differat: It is the case that, with the heavy rain, the match shall be cancelled.

The Essential A&G: 568n2, 569.2

Short ‘i’ in Fīō

As I discussed in the last post, certain forms of fīō feature a short i instead of the usual long. I thought there would be a long and complicated phonological history to tell, but it turns out fīō is just following a few phonological rules that we already know.

Long vowels before final m, r and t are shortened.

  • amō, amās, amat
  • amem, amēs, amet
  • amer, amēris, amētur
  • so also fīō, fīs, fit

The second rule is more exclusive to fīō, but follows a consistent pattern: the ī is shortened before -er.

  • fierem, fierēs, fieret; fierī

The Essential AG: 603.3, 606.3a