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450. Prohibition is regularly expressed in classic prose (1) by nōlī with the Infinitive, (2) by cavē with the Present Subjunctive, or (3) by with the Perfect Subjunctive:—1
  1. (1) “ nōlī putāre(Lig. 33) , do not suppose (be unwilling to suppose).
  2. nōlī impudēns esse (Fam. 12.30.1) , don't be shameless.
  3. nōlīte cōgere sociōs (Verr. 2.1.82) , do not compel the allies.
  4. (2) cavēputēs(Att. 7.20) , don't suppose (take care lest you suppose).
  5. cavē īgnōscās (Lig. 14) , do not pardon.
  6. cavē festīnēs (Fam. 16.12.6) , do not be in haste.
  7. (3) “ necesse habueris(Att. 16.2.5) , do not regard it as necessary.
  8. sīs admīrātus (Fam. 7.18.3) , do not be surprised.
  9. hōc facitō; hōc fēceris (Div. 2.127) , thou shalt do this, thou shalt not do that.
  10. Apellae quidem dīxeris (Fam. 7.25.2) , do not tell Apella even.
  11. vōs quidem mortem timueritis (Tusc. 1.98) , nor must you fear death.

All three of these constructions are well established in classic prose. The first, which is the most ceremonious, occurs oftenest; the third, though not discourteous, is usually less formal and more peremptory than the others.

Note 1.--Instead of nōlī the poets sometimes use other imperatives of similar meaning (cf. § 457. a):—

  1. parce piās scelerāre manūs (Aen. 3.42) , forbear to defile your pious hands.
  2. cētera mitte loquī; (Hor. Epod. 13.7), forbear to say the rest.
  3. fuge quaerere (Hor. Od. 1.9.13) , do not inquire.

Note 2.-- Cavē is sometimes used in prohibitions; also vidē and (colloquially) fac : as,fac quid aliud cūrēs (Fam. 16.11), see that you attend to nothing else.

Note 3.--The present subjunctive with and the perfect with cavē are found in old writers; with the present is common in poetry at all periods:—

  1. exspectētis (Pl. Ps. 1234) , do not wait.
  2. metuās (Mart. Ep. 1.70.13) , do not fear.
  3. cave quicquam responderis (Pl. Am. 608) , do not make any reply.

Note 4.--Other negatives sometimes take the place of :—

  1. nihil īgnōveris (Mur. 65) , grant no pardon (pardon nothing).
  2. nec mihi illud dīxeris (Fin. 1.25) , and do not say this to me.

Note 5.--The regular connective, and do not, is nēve .

a. The Present Imperative with is used in prohibitions by early writers and the poets:—

  1. timē (Pl. Curc. 520) , don't be afraid.
  2. nimium crēde colōrī; (Ecl. 2.17), trust not too much to complexion.
  3. equō crēdite (Aen. 2.48) , trust not the horse.

b. The Future Imperative with is used in prohibitions in laws and formal precepts (see § 449. 2).


1 In prohibitions the subjunctive with is hortatory; that with cavē is an object clause (cf. §§ 450. N.2, 565. N.1).

hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge, Select Orations of Cicero, Allen and Greenough's Edition., AG Cic. 60
    • J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge, Select Orations of Cicero, Allen and Greenough's Edition., AG Cic. S. Rosc..47-57.53-57.57
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Anne Mahoney, Overview of Latin Syntax, Verbs
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