Licet Constructions

Uses of Licet

Summary of Use

licet is an impersonal verb, appearing only “in the third personal singular, the infinitive and the gerund” (AG, 207)

licet takes the dative whenever it governs a finite phrase or clause

licet also offers the dative (or rarely an accusative) to the subject of this phrase

licet may be translated it is allowed, is permitted, may be done

Summary of Forms

Indicative

  • licet / licēbat / licēbit / licuit / licuerat / licuerit

Subjunctive

  • liceat / licēret / licuerit / licuisset

Et Cetera

  • licēre / licuisse / licitum est / licitūrum est / licēns

Basic Uses

Formal

  • No bathing in the fish-pond: lavāre in cētārium nōn licet.
  • They ask that they may do this: rogant ut id sibi facere liceat.
  • You speak as though it were not permitted: loquēris quasi nōn licēret.

Hortatory

  • let all terrors menace me: licet omnēs mihi terrōres impendeat.

this use may have concessive force, appearing where one would expect a concession with ut

  • if concessive, it should be translated ‘though all terrors might menace me’

Review

Licet may take–

  • the simple infinitive
  • the infinitive with accusative subject
  • the infinitive with dative of interest
  • the subjunctive, usually without ut (concessive licet)

The Essential AG: 207, 527

Famous Phrase: videlicet (contraction of videre licet, it is permitted to see)

[further contracted and anglicized as viz. expressing ‘plainly,’ ‘namely,’ or ‘as follows’]

licet_uses.pdf