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Nouns wanting in the Plural

99. Some nouns are ordinarily found in the Singular number only ( singulāria tantum ). These are—

  1. Most proper names: as, Caesar, Cæsar; Gallia, Gaul.
  2. Names of things not counted, but reckoned in mass: as, aurum, gold; āēr, air; trīticum, wheat.
  3. Abstract nouns: as, ambitiō, ambition; fortitūdō, courage; calor, heat.
100. Many of these nouns, however, are used in the plural in some other sense.

a. The plural of a proper name may be applied to two or more persons or places, or even things, and so become strictly common:—

  1. duodecim Caesarēs, the twelve Cæsars.
  2. Galliae, the two Gauls (Cis- and Transalpine).
  3. Castores, Castor and Pollux; Iovēs, images of Jupiter.

b. The plural of names of things reckoned in mass may denote particular objects: as, aera, bronze utensils, nivēs, snowflakes; or different kinds of a thing: as, āerēs, airs (good and bad).

c. The plural of abstract nouns denotes occasions or instances of the quality, or the like:—

  1. quaedam excellentiae, some cases of superiority; ōtia, periods of rest; calōrēs , frīgora, times of heat and cold.

Nouns wanting in the Singular

101. Some nouns are commonly or exclusively found in the Plural ( plūrālia tantum ). Such are—

  1. Many names of towns: as, Athēnae (Athens), Thūriī , Philippī , Vêiī .
  2. Names of festivals and games: as, Olympia, the Olympic Games; Bacchānālia, feast of Bacchus; Quīnquātrūs, festival of Minerva; lūdī Rōmānī, the Roman Games.
  3. Names of classes: as, optimātēs, the upper classes; mâiōrēs, ancestors; līberī, children; penātēs, household gods; Quirītēs, citizens (of Rome).
  4. Words plural by signification: as, arma, weapons; artūs, joints; dīvitiae, riches; scālae, stairs; valvae, folding-doors; forēs, double-doors; angustiae, a narrow pass (narrows); moenia, city walls.

Note 1.--Some words, plural by signification in Latin, are translated by English nouns in the singular number: as, dēliciae, delight, darling; faucēs, throat; fidēs, lyre (also singular in poetry); īnsidiae, ambush; cervīcēs, neck; viscera, flesh.

Note 2.--The poets often use the plural number for the singular, sometimes for metrical reasons, sometimes from a mere fashion: as, ōra (for ōs ), the face; scēptra (for scēptrum ), sceptre; silentia (for silentium ), silence.

102. Some nouns of the above classes (§ 101. 1-4), have a corresponding singular, as noun or adjective, often in a special sense:

  1. As noun, to denote a single object: as, Bacchānal, a spot sacred to Bacchus; optimās, an aristocrat.
  2. As adjective: as, Catō Mâior, Cato the Elder.
  3. In a sense rare, or found only in early Latin: as, scāla, a ladder, valva, a door; artus, a joint.

Nouns Defective in Certain Cases

103. Many nouns are defective in case-forms:1

a. Indeclinable nouns, used only as nominative and accusative singular: fās , nefās , īnstar, nihil , opus (need), secus .

Note 1.--The indeclinable adjective necesse is used as a nominative or accusative.

Note 2.--The genitive nihilī and the ablative nihilō (from nihilum, nothing) occur.

b. Nouns found in one case only (monoptotes):—

  1. In the nominative singular: glōs (F.).
  2. In the genitive singular: dicis , naucī (N.).
  3. In the dative singular: dīvīsuī (M.) (cf. § 94. c).
  4. In the accusative singular: amussim (M.); vēnum (dative vēnō in Tacitus).
  5. In the ablative singular: pondō (N.); māne (N.); astū (M.), by craft; iussū , iniussū , nātū , and many other verbal nouns in -us (M.) (§ 94. c).

    Note.--Māne is also used as an indeclinable accusative, and an old form mānī is used as ablative. Pondō with a numeral is often apparently equivalent to pounds. A nominative singular astus and a plural astūs occur rarely in later writers.

  6. In the accusative plural: īnfitiās .
c. Nouns found in two cases only (diptotes):—

  1. In the nominative and ablative singular: fors, forte (F.).
  2. In the genitive and ablative singular: spontis (rare), sponte (F.).
  3. In the accusative singular and plural: dicam , dicās (F.).
  4. In the accusative and ablative plural: forās , forīs (F.) (cf. forēs ), used as adverbs.
d. Nouns found in three cases only (triptotes):—

  1. In the nominative, accusative, and ablative singular: impetus, -um, -ū (M.)2; luēs , -em, -ē (F.).
  2. In the nominative, accusative, and dative or ablative plural: grātēs, -ibus (F).
  3. In the nominative, genitive, and dative or ablative plural: iūgera , -um, -ibus (N.); but iūgerum , etc., in the singular (cf. § 105. b).
e. Nouns found in four cases only (tetraptotes):—

In the genitive, dative, accusative, ablative singular: diciōnis, -ī, -em, -e (F.).

f. Nouns declined regularly in the plural, but defective in the singular:

  1. Nouns found in the singular, in genitive, dative, accusative, ablative: frūgis , -ī, -em, -e (F.); opis , -ī (once only), -em, -e (F.; nominative Ops as a divinity).
  2. Nouns found in the dative, accusative, ablative: precī , -em, -e (F.).
  3. Nouns found in the accusative and ablative: cassem , -e (F.); sordem , -e (F.).
  4. Nouns found in the ablative only: ambāge (F.); fauce (F.); obice (C.).
g. Nouns regular in the singular, defective in the plural:

  1. The following neuters have in the plural the nominative and accusative only: fel ( fella ), far ( farra ), hordeum ( hordea ), iūs, broth ( iūra ), mel ( mella ), murmur ( murmura ), pūs ( pūra ), rūs ( rūra ), tūs orthūs ( tūra ).

    Note.--The neuter iūs, right, has only iūra in classical writers, but a very rare genitive plural iūrum occurs in old Latin.

  2. calx , cor , cōs, crux, fax , faex, lanx,lūx, nex, ōs ( ōris ),3 os ( ossis ),4pāx, pix, rōs , sāl, sōl , vas ( vadis ), want the genitive plural.
  3. Most nouns of the fifth declension want the whole or part of the plural (see § 98. a).
h. Nouns defective in both singular and plural:

  1. Noun found in the genitive, accusative, ablative singular; nominative, accusative, dative, ablative plural: vicis , -em, -e; -ēs, -ibus.
  2. Noun found in the genitive, dative, accusative, and ablative singular; genitive plural wanting: dapis , -ī, -em, -e; -ēs, -ibus.

1 Some early or late forms and other rarities are omitted.

2 The dative singular impetuī and the ablative plural impetibus occur once each.

3 The ablative plural ōribus is rare, the classical idiombeing in ōre omnium, in everybody's mouth, etc., not in ōribus omnium .

4 The genitive plural ossium is late; ossuum (fromossua, plural of a neuter u-stem) is early and late.

5 An old nominative daps is cited.

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