Ūsus est maiōre usū

The phrase ūsus est + ablative is the rarer counterpart to the well known opus est + ablative, signifying need.

 

  • Nunc vīribus ūsus est: now there is need of strength.
  • Quid istīs cōnscrīptīs ūsust: what is the use of getting these in writing?

Ūsus vēnit is another still rarer alternative.

The Essential AG: 411

The Latin Supine

Formation of the Supine

It’s a rare bit of grammar, but we’re lucky, because it’s simple. It takes one of only four forms:

  • The supine is always a fourth-declension (the -us, -ūs declension) noun, and always appears in the accusative or ablative
  • Moreover, these forms will always have an initial t- or s-, leaving four possible endings: -tum, -sum, -tū, and -sū

The accusatives move with verbs; the ablatives move with adjectives: vēnit spectātum [he came to see]; mirabile dictū [marvelous to tell]

You have the endings, now consider the stems:

  • The supine stem is always identical to the perfect passive participle’s stem
  • amātus: amātum, amātū; rectus: rectum, rectū

Uses of the Supine

As I mentioned just above, there are four forms with two endings, and therefore two uses:

The supine accusatives, -tum and -sum are “used after verbs of motion to express purpose” (AG, 509)

  • nam vēnī dē tumultū te admonitum, quem cum abīrēs linquistī: and I’m here to remind you, of the mess you left when you ran away
  • pārentēs abībit inventum postrīdiē: she leaves tomorrow to find her parents

Not that the supine is a singular accusative, even where it follow a plural verb, or takes a plural object

The supine ablatives, -tū and – are used with a handful of adjectives, as a means of reference 

  • iste senex foedus et visū et olfactū est: that geezer is hard on the eyes and the nose
  • nulla optima via catō deglūbū est: there is no best way to skin a cat

The ablatives may also appears with fāsnefās and opus, again as a means of reference 

  • this is unholy to say: hōc nefās dictū est
  • this letter is a burden to write: literra opus scriptū est. 

The supine ablatives are commonly attached to statements about the senses, or statement denoting easy or difficulty.

Essential AG: 94.b; 509-10

Datophilic Verb Phrases

Verbs Takings the Dative (p7/7)

Datophilic Phrases

Phrases with Corresponding Verbs

There are a variety of phrases that take the dative, corresponding in sense to more basic categories of verbs that take the dative

  • I am on hand to aid Caesar: iuvendī Caesaris praestō sum. (cf. adsum)
  • She will humor his request: precī eius mōrem geret. (cf. mōrigeror)
  • Let us all do favors for our loved ones: omnēs amantibus grāta faciāmus. (cf. grātificor)
  • The dog is only obedient to me: iste canis solum mihi dictō audiēns est. (cf. oboedīre)
  • I held confidence in her prophecy: suō effatī fidem habuī. (cf. cōnfidō)

Indepedent Phrases

Other phrases take the dative according to their own, particular sense

  • The Furies inflict their injuries upon the men: Eumenides eīs damna dant.  
  • This slave did me an injury: hīc servus mihi iniūriam fēcit!
  • They brought the slave to trial: servō diem dixērunt.
  • They set the day of the election: comitibus diem dixērunt.
  • They were told to thank the father: grātiās agere patrī iussī sunt.
  • I am thankful to Pompey: grātiam Pompeiō habeō.
  • I must repay Pompey the favor: grātiam Pompeiō mihi referendum est.
  • There is need of action: gerendō opus est.
  • Children too rarely honor their parents: liberī parentibus rarius honōrem habent.
  • He is given credit: acceptum eō ferre est.

The Poetic Dative

The poets put the dative in numerous places were strict Latin syntax suggests some other, more regular, case

  • Nor would I dare to tear the clinging crown from that highly lauded head: nēque egō illī detrahere ausīm / haerentem capitī cum multā laude corōnam (Horace, Satires, 1.10.48-9) [prō abl.]
  • Scorning Iarbas, and the leaders of other men, whom the rich soil of Africa nourishes in triumph–will you also fight a pleasing lover: dēspectus Iarbas / ductorēsque aliī, quōs Āfrica terra triumphīs / dīves alit: placitōne etiam pugnābis amorī? [prō cum + abl. or in + acc.]
  • She filled the wound with tears, and mixed mourning with blood: vulnerā supplēvit lacrimīs flētumque cruōrī / miscuit [Ovid, Metamorphoses, 4.139-140] [prō abl.]

The Essential AG: 367 n2, 368.3a, 413a

Famous Phrase: prīus quam incipiās, consultō et, ubī consuluerīs factō opus est

[before you being, there is need of planning, and where you’ve consulted–of action!]

Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 1.6

verbs_dative_7.pdf

Ablative of Means and Instrument (with Constructions)

Ablative of Manner, Means and Instrument (p 3/3)

 

Summary of Use

Allen and Greenough identify three major categories of case usage with the ablative: (1) the ablative proper, (2) the instrumental ablative and (3) the locative ablative

  • The ablative of means, manner and instrument are a collected heading under the (2) instrumental ablative

These uses of the ablative are part of what was once the instrumental case, so “no sharp line can be drawn between them, and indeed the Romans themselves can hardly have thought of any distinction” (AG 408)

The ablative of manner is often distinguished by the use of cum as an initiating preposition

 

Ablative of Means with Deponent Verbs

The verbs ūtor, fruor, fungor, potior, vescor and their compounds use the ablative of means or instrument

  • I will make use of your kindness: ūtar vestrā benīgnitāte.
  • The hero takes the gold: aurō hērōs potitur.
  • They fed on milk and game: lacte et ferīnā carne vescēbantur.
  • She enjoyed the songs: cārmēnibus frūctus est.
  • He performs the sacrifice carefully: hostiā religiōse fungitur.
  • I could use your sharp eyes here: hīc acerbīs oculīs utār.

With Opus and Ūsus

The impersonal constructions opus est and ūsus est take the ablative of instrument, with ūsus est the rare variant of the two

These constructions favor an ablative participle over an ablative noun

  • There was need of haste: properātō opus erat.
  • I must have your best cunning and cleverness: opus est tuā exprōmptā malitiā atque astūtiā.
  • There is need of magistrates: magistrātibus opus est.
  • Now there is need of arms: nun vīribus ūsus est.

Opus est may also appear as a predicate, with the corresponding noun as nominative subject

  • We need a chief and authority: dux nōbis et auctor opus est. 
  • Here are the things which are required: hīc sunt quae opus sunt.

 

Famous Phrase: quod nōn opus est, asse carum est.

(what you don’t need is pricey at a penny)

[motto for frugality]

– Seneca, Epistulae Morales, 94 (quoting Cato the Elder)

 

ablative_means_instrument_p2.pdf