previous next

510. The Supine in -ū 1 is used with a few adjectives and with the nouns fās , nefās , and opus , to denote an action in reference to which the quality is asserted:—
  1. rem nōn modo vīsū foedam, sed etiam audītū (Phil. 2.63) , a thing not only shocking to see, but even to hear of.
  2. quaerunt quid optimum factū sit (Verr. 2.1.68) , they ask what is best to do.
  3. hōc fās est dictū (Tusc. 5.38) , if this is lawful to say.
  4. vidētis nefās esse dictū miseram fuisse tālem senectūtem (Cat. M. 13) , you see it is a sin to say that such an old age was wretched.

Note 1.--The supine in -ū is thus in appearance an Ablative of Specification (§ 418).

Note 2.--The supine in -ū is found especially with such adjectives as indicate an effect on the senses or the feelings, and those which denote ease, difficulty, and the like. But with facilis , difficilis , and iūcundus , ad with the gerund is more common:—

    nec vīsū facilis nec dictū adfābilis ūllī; (Aen. 3.621), he is not pleasant for any man to look at or address.
    difficilis ad distinguendum similitūdō; (De Or. 2.212), a likeness difficult to distinguish.

Note 3.--With all these adjectives the poets often use the Infinitive in the same sense: as,—facilēs “aurem praebēre(Prop. 2.21.15) , indulgent to lend an ear.

Note 4.--The supine in -ū with a verb is extremely rare: as, “pudet dictū(Tac. Agr. 32) , it is a shame to tell. [On the analogy of pudendum dictū .]

1 The only common supines in -ū are auditū , dictū , factū , inventū , memorātū , nātū , vīsū . In classic use this supine is found in comparatively few verbs. It is never followed by an object-case.

hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (3):
    • J. B. Greenough, Benjamin L. D'Ooge, M. Grant Daniell, Commentary on Caesar's Gallic War, AG BG 1.3
    • J. B. Greenough, Benjamin L. D'Ooge, M. Grant Daniell, Commentary on Caesar's Gallic War, AG BG 7.64
    • J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge, Select Orations of Cicero, Allen and Greenough's Edition., AG Cic. 1.12
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: