Minus and Minimē with Negative Force

Minus and minimē are the comparative adverbs meaning less so and least of all. However, in colloquial Latin they typically fill the role of ‘not’ and ‘no.’

  • Sī minus possunt, exeāmus. If they are unable, let us head out.
  • Audācissimus ego tand’ ex omnibus?—minimē. Am I therefore the most outrageous of men? Certainly not.

This effect is also present in in phrases with the subjunctive and quōminus (= ut eō minus).

  • Nōn aetās impedit quōminus agrī colendī studia teneāmus. Age does not prevent us from retaining an interest in tilling the soil.
  • Nihil impedit quōminus id facere possīmus. Nothing prevents us from doing that.

The Essential AG: 558b


Uses of Quōminus

Uses of Quōminus


Summary of Use

Quōminus is used with verbs of hindering and refusing, and initiates a subjunctive verb

Quōminus is literally equivalent to ut eō minus


  • Poverty does not prevent us from speaking: nōn egestās impedit quōminus fēmur
  • Poverty does not prevent us from speaking: nōn egestās impedit ut eō minus fēmur
  • Nothing hinders us from being able to do that: nihil impedit quōminus id facere possīmus
  • Nothing hinders us from being able to do that: nihil impedit ut eō minus id facere possīmus


The Essential AG: 558 b


Famous Phrase: I honestly couldn’t find anything for a word this rare, but here’s the motto of my alma mater, the University of Chicago:


crescat scientia, vita excolātur (let learning grow, that life may be enriched)



Uses of Quīn

Origin of Quīn

Quīn is a contracted conjunction (viz. quī + ) with negative force

Summary of Use

Where used explicitly, quīn may be translated why not, but is otherwise more subtle mechanic for the sentence, and translations will vary case to case

All translations of quīn will carry negative force

Quīn initiates a subjunctive or (rarely) an indicative clause

Subjunctive clauses may be attached to particular verbs or function as clauses of result or characteristic

Indicative clauses will work as commands

Quīn with Hindering, Resisting and Refusing

Quīn produces the subjunctive where it follows negative statements of hindering, resisting, refusing, doubting, failing, neglecting, delaying, etc.

e.g. I could not resist, I did not doubt, She did not delay

  • He does not doubt you said these things: nōn dubitāt quīn haec fāta sīs. 
  • I could not neglect to write to you: praeterīre nōn potuī quīn scriberem ad tē.
  • She does not object to your judging: nōn recūsat quīn iūdicēs.
  • He just missed killing Varus: paulum āfuit quīn Vārum interficeret.
  • There is no doubt that he wants to kill him: nōn est dubium quīn eum interficere velit.

Nōn Dubitō as Exception

Nōn dubitō, where it means I do not doubt, takes the standard construction above (3.2; 3.6)

Nōn dubitō, where it means I do not hesitate, may take the standard construction or (commonly) an infinitive

  • Nōn dubitō illum appellāre sapientem: I do not hesitate to call him a sage

Very rarely, verbs of hindering will also take the infinitive

  • There is nothing to prevent saying it: nihil obest dicere

Quīn with Result and Characteristics Clauses

Where quīn has literal equivalency, (meaning quī nē, etc.), it will initiate a subjunctive clause of result or characteristic

  • No one is so senseless as not to think this: nēmō est tam dēmēns quīn hōc putāret.
  • There was not one of these soldiers who was not wounded: nēmō fuit mīlitum quīn vulnerārētur.
  • Not one of them was not a senator: nēmō illōrum fuit quī nōn senātus esset.

Quīn with Commands

Quīn may move with imperative force, with an indicative verb, and should be translated why not?

  • Why not take it: quīn accipis? 
  • Why not listen to her: quīn eam nōn audītis? 

The Essential AG: 558; 559.1, 559.2

Famous Phrase: facere nōn possum quīn cotīdiē ad tē mittam 

(I cannot help writing to you every day.)

[Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, xii.27.2]