Imperative of Sciō, Habeō and Meminī

The imperative of sciō is scītō in the singular and scītōte in the future. These are the future forms, but they are used in the present tense.

Even if you’re a whiz and you know that already, it might be a little less where how to use this imperative in a Latin sentence. The Romans don’t appear to have ordered others to do things like ‘know these by heart before Friday’s exam.’ Instead, the imperative of ‘know’ was more often something like ‘rest assured’ or ‘recall,’ confirming or searching for what is already known rather than standing for the imperative ‘learn.’

  • Scītōte vobīs semper deum propitium esse, sī bonīs: Know that the god will always favor you, so long as you are good.
  • Scītō tibi gratiās dābō: trust that I will return the favor.
  • Scītō exemplum tuī patris: recall the example of your father.

This is also true of habeō, where it means understand, and mēminī. 

  • Habētō tibi me nōn irātum esse: realize that I  am not angry with you.
  • Habetōte vostrum finem: know your limits.
  • Mementō ora candentia parentis: recall your mother’s glowing features.

From the examples in Lewis and Short, I cannot be sure, but it appears that the imperatives of sciō will always take a direct object or an infinitive construction, and never the + ablative construction that may appear with other moods of sciō.

The Essential A  & G: 182a.

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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.

Verbs Found Chiefly In the Imperative

A few verbs (some of which you’re already familiar with) appear chiefly in the imperative, and only rarely in other forms.

  • salvē, salvēte, salvētō : hail! [the forms salvēre, salveō, salvētis and salvēbis are also found.]
  • avē/havē, avēte, avētō : hail! or farewell! [the form avēre is also found.]
  • cedo, cedite/cette : hand it over! tell! (not cēdocedo is a second person imperative; cēdo is a first person indicative)
  • apage : begone! (cf. Gk. ἄπαγε)

A Lewis and Short search suggests that the latter two (quite reasonably given their Greek roots) are found principally in Roman comedy.

The Essential AG: 206g

The Vocative Case: Syntax

The Vocative is the case of direct address, and may be interspersed with other cases in poetic language.

  • Tiberīne pater, tē, sāncte, precor: O father Tiber, to thee, holy one, I pray. ( is the accusative object)
  • Rēs omnis mihi tēcum erit, Hotensī: My whole attention will be devoted to you, Hortensius.

Where a noun is placed in apposition to a vocative with the imperative, it may be apposited in the nominative.

  • Audī tū, populus Albānus: hear, though people of Alba.

Where the implied subject is or vōs, a vocative adjective may take the place of a vocative noun.

  • Quō moritūre ruis: where are you rushing off to die?
  • Cēnsōrem trabeāte salūtās: robed, you salute the censor.

The Essential AG: 340a-b

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