Uses of Quam (Everything Else)

Uses of Quam (part 4 of 4)

Summary of Use

Quam has many and various uses in Latin

It appears most commonly as the standard coordinating conjunction of comparison between two adjectives, adverbs or clauses (part 1)

  • Two things compared with quam will always appear in the same case
  • There are better and worse (common and less common) ways to compare with quam

The phrases quam ut, quam quī, quam sī and quam (alone) may also initiate a subjunctive statement (part 2)

  • These include clauses of purpose, characteristic and comparison

The compouds quamquam and quamvīs are concessive particles, taking either subjunctive or indicative clauses (part 3)

Quam and its compounds have several other functions (part 4)


The pairing tam…quam connects a demonstrative and relative pair of phrases (i.o.) and should be translated so (as) … as with comparative force.

When used of present characteristics, the relative phrase may take a subjunctive verb

  • He spoke as often as possible: tam saepē orātus est quam poterat. 
  • She eat as much as she might like: tam multa edit quam velit. 

Quam with Relative Time

Quam may appear with single adverbs that already offer comparative force: ante, prius, post, posteā, prīdiē, and postrīdiē

  • She did not let him go until he gave her a pledge: nōn ante dīmīsit eum quam fidem dedit.
  • There came the third day after he said these things: post diem tertium quam dīxerat vēnit.

In this same way, quam may appear with the ablative of time

  • She died within eight months after his death: octāvō mēnse quam eius mortem morīta est.

The phrase quam diū should be translated as long as and takes the indicative.

  • She spoke as long as she could: ōrābat quam diū poterat.

Idiomatic Uses

Quam inhabits a number of idioms–mīrum quam (marvelously), sānē quam (immensely), valdē quam (enormously)–all of which function as adverbs.

  • He has uncommonly few of his own: suōs valdē quam paucōs habet.
  • I was immensely glad: sānē quam sum gāvīsus.

Placing quam before a superlative adjective or adverb intensifies the superlative

  • They had the very least: quam mimimum habuērunt.

The Essential AG: 291c, 323g, 535c



Famous Phrase: carpe dīem! quam minimum credūla posterō [seize the day! put the very least trust in tomorrow]

(Horace, Odes, 1.1)