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

Colloquial Omission of Verbs

In colloquial and poetic language, common verbs like dīcō, faciō, agō and the like are often omitted.

  • What does this aim at: quō hōc [spectat]?
  • You will know a lion by his claws: ex ungue leōnem [cōgnōscēs].
  • What shall I say of this: quid [dē hōc dicam]?
  • The songstress thus spoke in replay: haec contrā cantrix [inquit].
  • Then Cotta said: tum Cotta [inquit].
  • Where are you from, and where are you of to: unde [venīs] et quō [tendis]?

Sum, as a copula, is omitted quite frequently where it is a present indicative or present infinitive:

  • You are his wife: tū coniūnx [es].
  • What need of many words: quid multa [verbōrum est]?
  • What then? Am I the boldest of all: quid ergō [est]? audācissimus ego ex omnibus [sum]?
  • The best things are rare: omnia praeclāra rāra [sunt]?
  • Hear first what must be accomplished: accipe quae peragenda prius [sunt].

As you might imagine, omission of sum will be especially popular in proverbs and sententiae, where clever identities and definitions are made all the time, making a est or a sunt all too predictable.

The Essential AG: 319a

Substantive Clauses

A&G define the substantive clause as “a clause…used as a noun,” in contrast to the relative clause, which operates in place of adjectives or adverbs.

  • I am the man whom you are seeking. (relative clause, as adjective)
  • She ascended, as Ariadne ascended with Dionysius. (relative clause, as adverb)
  • They warned us this would happen. (substantive clause, as noun)
  • She wishes to see you immediately. (substantive clause, as noun)

To tease this out more explicitly, the relative clauses redefine or redescribe ‘man’ and ‘ascended,’ whereas the substantive clauses are effectively an apposition of the verb.

  • They warned us this would happen = their warning was ‘this would happen’
  • Shes wishes to see you immediately = this is her wish: to see you immediately

A&G refine this, stating that a substantive clause will always apposite a nominative or accusative case. (In the example above, she wishes x and they warned us x would both be in the accusative in Latin.)

English is partial to abstract nouns, where Latin is partial to verbal phrases.

  • She demanded an investigation: postulābat ut quaestiō habērētur.

Substantive Clauses Take Four General Forms:

  • Subjunctive Clauses
  • Indicative Clauses with quod
  • Indirect Questions (with the Subjunctive)
  • Infinitive Clauses

This fourth form, the infinitive (with possible subjective accusative) is not properly a clause. Still these often replace ut clauses with the subjunctive, and are the mainstay of indirect discourse.

The Essential AG: 560-62

Perhaps If You Read This…

There’s a particular distinction between fortisan and fortasse (both meaning ‘perhaps’) that isn’t intuitive.

  • Fortisan regularly take a (Potential) subjunctive, except in those rare moments of poetry, where it takes the indicative.
  • Fortasse usually takes the indicative, except in those rare moments of poetry, where it takes the subjunctive.
  • Fortasse occasionally takes an infinitive, but only in Roman Comedy
  • Perhaps you will ask what all this fuss is: forsitan quaerātis quī iste terror sit.
  • Perhaps I have acted rashly: forsitan temerē fēcerim.
  • Perhaps you will ask me what all this fuss is about: quaerēs fortasse, quī iste terror sit.
  • Perhaps that was a mistake: fortasse errāvī.

Other ‘Perhaps’ Constructions:

  • forsan, chiefly takes the indicative, though it takes both pretty evenly-handed.
  • fors, rare to begin with, it takes either the indicative or the subjunctive
  • forsit / for sit, occurs just once, in Horace, and takes the subjunctive
  • fortassis, rare and takes the indicative
  • fortasse an (note the switch) is rare and takes the subjunctive (whereas fortasse is usually with the indicative)

The Essential AG: 447a-b

Review of First Conjugation (Even the Nasty Bits)

You need this. This is your intellectual chi. Failing that, it’s your intellectual tea. Take it daily, slowly–let it steep. Verb summaries don’t have to be boring, but they are important. Try rendering everything in full English translation. ‘I love him, You love cats, She loves the boy who left her.’ Make love triangles. Have fun.

Take five minutes. You won’t regret it.

(PS–I’ll bet there’s at least one mistake on here. find it)

First Conjugation ACTIVE (complete)

Primary Sequence

Present

amō, amās, amat, amāmus, amātis, amant

amem, amēs, amet, amēmus, amētis, ament

Imperfect

amābam, amābās, amābat, amābāmus, amābātis, amābant

amārem, amārēs, amāret, amārēmus, amarētis, amārent

Future

amābō, amābis, amābit, amābimus, amābitis, amābunt

[no subjunctive future primary]

Secondary Sequence

Perfect

amāvī, amāvistī, amāvit, amāvimus, amāvistis, amāvērunt

amāverim, amāveris, amāverit, amāverimus, amāveritis, amāverint

Pluperfect

amāveram, amāverās, amāverat, amāverāmus, amāverātis, amāverant

amāvissem, amāvissēs, amāvisset, amāvissēmus, amāvissētis, amāvissent

Future Perfect

amāverō, amāveris, amāverit, amāverimus, amāveritis, amāverint

[no subjunctive future secondary]

Et Cetera

Present Imperative

amā, amāte

Future Imperative

amātō (2nd or 3rd person singular), amātōte (2nd person plural), amantō (3rd person plural)

Infinitive (present, perfect, future)

amāre

amāvisse

amātūrus esse

Participles (present, future) 

amāns, amantis

amātūrus, -a, -um

Gerund

amandī, amandō, amandum, amandō

Supine

amātum, amātū

The Essential AG: 184 (p89-90)

Famous Phrase: “odī et amō quārē id faciam fortasse requiris / nesciō sed fierī sentiō et excrucior” – Catullus, 85

[I love and hate, perhaps you ask why I do it / I do not know, but I feel it done, and am tortured]

(I imagine this is how we all feel about verb summaries, no?)