Imperative of Sciō, Habeō and Meminī

The imperative of sciō is scītō in the singular and scītōte in the future. These are the future forms, but they are used in the present tense.

Even if you’re a whiz and you know that already, it might be a little less where how to use this imperative in a Latin sentence. The Romans don’t appear to have ordered others to do things like ‘know these by heart before Friday’s exam.’ Instead, the imperative of ‘know’ was more often something like ‘rest assured’ or ‘recall,’ confirming or searching for what is already known rather than standing for the imperative ‘learn.’

  • Scītōte vobīs semper deum propitium esse, sī bonīs: Know that the god will always favor you, so long as you are good.
  • Scītō tibi gratiās dābō: trust that I will return the favor.
  • Scītō exemplum tuī patris: recall the example of your father.

This is also true of habeō, where it means understand, and mēminī. 

  • Habētō tibi me nōn irātum esse: realize that I  am not angry with you.
  • Habetōte vostrum finem: know your limits.
  • Mementō ora candentia parentis: recall your mother’s glowing features.

From the examples in Lewis and Short, I cannot be sure, but it appears that the imperatives of sciō will always take a direct object or an infinitive construction, and never the + ablative construction that may appear with other moods of sciō.

The Essential A  & G: 182a.


Verbs of Forgetting

These operate in congress with verbs of remembering and recalling.

  • With the accusative, they denote a physical loss of possession of some memory—a falling away of some piece of memory from the mind.
  • With the genitive, they deny a mindful or attentive state, with respect to some topic or object of memory.
  • I forgot the cat at home: felem domī oblītus sum.
  • I neglect the cat’s basic needs: rērum felis oblīviscor.
  • Let them forget the Greeks: Graiōs oblīviscantur.
  • Don’t let her be careless of the Greek statues: cavē nē Graia statua oblīviscātur. (They’re fragile!)

As with verbs of remembering:

  • Personal pronouns (meī, tuī, suī, nostrī) are generally in the genitive.
  • Neuter pronouns (illum, istum, hōc) are generally in the accusative.

Verbs of Forgetting:

  • oblīviscor, oblīviscī, oblītus sum, forget
  • dēdiscō, dēdiscere, dēdidicī, forget, unlearn, Jamaican word for 70s dance

The Essential AG: 350a-b

Verbs of Remembering and Recalling

The verbs of remembering and recalling take either and accusative or a genitive.

  • With the accusative, they describe a sort of physical possession of some object within the mind or memory.
  • With the genitive, they describe a mindful or contemplative state with respect to some object.
  • I remember Sulla killing the man: Sullam quattuor hominēs interficere meminī.
  • He thought fondly of Sulla: Sullae benē meminerat.
  • She remembers her own dog, but not her neighbor’s dog: suum canem meminit, set nōn sui vicinī canem.
  • She was mindful of her own business: suae meminerat.

Recall that meminī is a perfect with present sense (denoted a perfected state), and pluperfect with perfect (past) sense.

Also, note:

  • Personal pronouns (meī, tuī, suī, nostrī) are generally in the genitive.
  • Neuter pronouns (illum, istum, hōc) are generally in the accusative.

Some other common verbs of remembering:

  • revocō, revocāre, revocāvī, revocātum
  • memorō, memorāre, memorāvī, memorātum (sic. commemorō, etc.)
  • teneō, tenēre, tenuī, tentum

(I can’t confirm this, but I get the sense that teneō would only take the accusative, and not the airier ‘remembering state’ wit hthe genitive. I feel this is true because it’s more directly attached to physical possession than the other verbs.)

Reminīscor, reminīscī, – is a rare alternative, though it takes the same two options: accusative for physical possession of memory, or gentive of a mindful state.

Recordor, recordārī, recordātus sum usually takes the accusative, though may take dē + ablative.

  • I am reminded of their tears: dē suōrum lacrimīs recordor.

The Essential AG: 350a-d