Ablative of Manner

Ablative of Manner, Means and Instrument (p 1/3)

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 Manner 

Like the ablative of means and instrument, the ablative of manner qualifies a verb is usually paired with the conjunction cum

  • He came with speed: cum celeritāte vēnit.
  • She died with honor: cum hōnōre periit. 

The ablative of manner may appear without cum where it is paired instead with a limiting adjective, though even here cum is not unheard of

  • He came with the greatest speed: summā celeritāte vēnit.
  • What does it matter how your compel me: quid rēfert quā ratiōne mē cōgātis?
  • I will not say at how great a risk he did this: nōn dīcam quantō cum perīculō id faceret.
With Stock Words

Cum will also disappear with certain ‘stock uses’ of the ablative of manner, such as modō, pactō, ratiōne, ritū, vī, viā, silentiō, iūre, and iniūriā

  • These may be translated as by means of, as agreed upon, with the reason, according to ritual, with force, by the road, silently, rightly, with injury, i.o and etc.

These have become, by frequent use, virtual adverbs

  • He performed the deed according to ritual: ritū actum fēcit.
  • They arrived on the Appian way: viā Appiā vēnit.

Latin poetry will also emit cum, as needed

  • A mountain of water follos in a mass: īnsequitur cumulō aquae mōns.

Famous Phrase: cum hōc, ergō propter hōc

(with this, therefore because of this)

[logical fallacy linking correlation to causation]