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376. The Dative often depends, not on any particular word, but on the general meaning of the sentence (Dative of Reference).

The dative in this construction is often called the Dative of Advantage or Disadvantage,1 as denoting the person or thing for whose benefit or to whose prejudice the action is performed.

  1. tibi arās (Plaut. Merc. 71), you plough for yourself.
  2. tuās rēs tibi habētō; (Plaut. Trin. 266), keep your goods to yourself (formula of divorce).
  3. laudāvit mihi frātrem, he praised my brother (out of regard for me; laudāvit frātrem meum would imply no such motive).
  4. meritōs mactāvit honōrēs, taurum Neptūnō, taurum tibi, pulcher Apollō; (Aen. 3.118), he offered the sacrifices due, a bull to Neptune, a bull to thee, beautiful Apollo.

Note.--In this construction the meaning of the sentence is complete without the dative, which is not, as in the preceding constructions, closely connected with any single word. Thus the Dative of Reference is easily distinguishable in most instances even when the sentence consists of only two words, as in the first example.

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