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

Weather Expressions in Latin

Some of the more common impersonal expressions in Latin are those that describe the weather.

  • grandinat, it’s hailing
  • pluit, it’s raining
  • ningit, it’s snowing
  • fulgurat, there’s a lightning bolt! (A&G have ‘it lightens’)
  • tonat, it thunders
  • rōrat, there’s dew on the grass

Note that these verbs can take subjects (Iupitter tonat) but they don’t have to. A&G are incomplete here, so let’s try to extrapolate on other ways the Romans might have describe the weather. I’m working with the assumption that these impersonal expressions are much like those of modern Romance languages (hace calor, fa caldo, it’s warm). The Latin expressions ought to cover the same range, right?

  • calidum est, it’s warm
  • frigidum est, it’s chilly
  • hūmidum est, it’s humid
  • nubiliōsum est, it’s cloudy
  • partim nubiliōsum est, it’s partly cloudy
  • ventōsum est, it’s windy
  • lūcet, it’s sunny
  • partim lūcet, it’s partly sunny

The impersonal list in A&G technically covers ‘verbs expressing operations of nature and the time of day,’ so here are two more entries in the list:

  • vesperāscit, it grows late
  • lūcīscit hōc, it grows light

The Essential AG: 208a

Uses of the Gerundive

Uses of the Gerundive

Summary of the Gerundive

The gerundive has two distinct forms–it may appear as verbal adjective (gerundive proper) or as verbal noun [the gerund–see ‘Uses of the Gerund’ (Gerund and Gerundive)]

  • There gerundive is attributive, the gerund substantive

The gerundive, a verbal adjective, “is always passive, denoting necessity, obligation, or propriety” (AG, §500)

The gerundive proper has three uses:

  1. It may agree with a noun, conferring a descriptive sense of necessity, obligation or propriety onto that noun
  2. It may appear within the secondary periphrastic construction, as a predicate to some noun with esse
  3. With certain verbs to express purpose

The Gerundive as Adjective

  • We see a brave man, worthy to be preserved: fortem et cōnservandum virum vidēmus.
  • We hear from him that an unbearable injury is done: iniūria facta esse nōn ferenda eō audīmus.

The Gerundive with the Second Periphrastic

Recall that the second periphrastic is a construction tying some form of esse to the gerundive (‘future passive participle’)

  • Won’t he need to be heard: nōnnē audiendus eus erit?
  • The city must be taken: urbs capienda est.

The Gerundive as Impersonal Periphrastic

Note that this is the only use of the gerundive capable of taking an object, and the use that falls nearest to the gerund

Since these gerundives, like all gerunds, are neuter, they can only be distinguished in sense–gerundives always carry a tone of necessity, obligation or propriety

  • Time must be obeyed: temporī serviendum est.
  • Caesar must not be succeeded: Caesarī nōn succendum est.
  • Moderate exercise must be used: ūtendum est exercitātiōnibus modicīs (abl.)

The Gerundive of Purpose

The gerundive may appear with certain verbs, those describing giving, delivering, agreeing for, having, receiving, undertaking and demanding

  • He took care that the ships and cargoes should be kept: nāvīs atque onera adservanda cūrābat.
  • He held the temple for overseeing: aedem habuit tuendam.
  • He admitted the men for prayers: virōs petendōs accēpit.

Essential AG: 196, 500

Famous Phrase: ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam

(With that, I say that Carthage must be destroyed.)

[Cato the Elder ended all of his speeches with this line after the Second Punic War. His wishes were fulfilled, three years after his death, in 146 BC.]

gerundive_summary.pdf