SYNTAX OF THE VERB
MOODS AND TENSES[*] 436. The Syntax of the Verb relates chiefly to the use of the Moods (which express the manner in which the action is conceived) and the Tenses (which express the time of the action). There is no difference in origin between mood and tense; and hence the uses of mood and tense frequently cross each other. Thus the tenses sometimes have modal significations (compare indicative in apodosis, § 517. c; future for imperative, § 449. b); and the moods sometimes express time (compare subjunctive in future conditions, § 516. b, and notice the want of a future subjunctive). The parent language had, besides the Imperative mood, two or more forms with modal signification. Of these, the Subjunctive appears with two sets of terminations, -ā-m, -ā-s, in the present tense ( moneam, dīcam ), and -ē-m, -ē-s, in the present ( amem ) or other tenses (essem, dīxissem). The Optative was formed by iē-, ī-, with the present stem (sim, duim) or the perfect ( dīxerim ). (See details in §§ 168, 169.) Each mood has two general classes or ranges of meaning. The uses of the Subjunctive may all be classed under the general ideas of will or desire and of action vividly conceived; and the uses of the Optative under the general ideas of wish and of action vaguely conceived. It must not be supposed, however, that in any given construction either the subjunctive or the optative was deliberately used because it denoted conception or possibility. On the contrary, each construction has had its own line of development from more tangible and literal forms of thought to more vague and ideal; and by this process the mood used came to have in each case a special meaning, which was afterwards habitually associated with it in that construction. Similar developments have taken place in English. Thus, the expression I would do this has become equivalent to a mild command, while by analysis it is seen to be the apodosis of a present condition contrary to fact (§ 517): if I were you, etc. By further analysis, I would do is seen to have meant, originally, I should have wished (or I did wish） to do. In Latin, the original Subjunctive and the Optative became confounded in meaning and in form, and were merged in the Subjunctive, at first in the present tense. Then new tense-forms of the subjunctive were formed,1 and to these the original as well as the derived meanings of both moods became attached (see § 438). All the independent uses of the Latin subjunctive are thus to be accounted for. The dependent uses of the subjunctive have arisen from the employment of some independent subjunctive construction in connection with a main statement. Most frequently the main statement is prefixed to a sentence containing a subjunctive, as a more complete expression of a complex idea (§ 268). Thus a question implying a general negative (quīn rogem? why should n't I ask?) might have the general negative expressed in a prefixed statement (nūlla causa est, there is no reason); or abeat, let him go away, may be expanded into sine abeat . When such a combination comes into habitual use, the original meaning of the subjunctive partially or wholly disappears and a new meaning arises by implication. Thus, in mīsit lēgātōs quī dīcerent, he sent ambassadors to say (i.e. who should say), the original hortatory sense of the subjunctive is partially lost, and the mood becomes in part an expression of purpose. Similar processes may be seen in the growth of Apodosis. Thus, tolle hanc opīniōnem , lūctum sustuleris, remove this notion, you will have done away with grief (i.e. if you remove, etc.). The Infinitive is originally a verbal noun (§ 451), modifying a verb like other nouns: volō vidēre , lit. “I wish for-seeing”: compare English “what went ye out for to see?” But in Latin it has been surprisingly developed, so as to have forms for tense, and some proper modal characteristics, and to be used as a substitute for finite moods. The other noun and adjective forms of the verb have been developed in various ways, which are treated under their respective heads below. The proper Verbal Constructions may be thus classified:— I. Indicative: Direct Assertion or Question (§ 437).
|II. Subjunctive:||a. Independent Uses:||1. Exhortation or Command (§ 439).|
|2. Concession (§ 440).|
|3. Wish (§ 441).|
|4. Question of Doubt etc. (§ 444).|
|5. Possibility or Contingency (§ 446).|
|b. Dependent Uses:||1. Conditions Future (less vivid) (§ 516. b, c). Contrary to Fact (§ 517).|
|2. Purpose (with ut, nē) (§ 531).|
|3. Characteristic (Relative Clause) (§ 535).|
|4. Result (with ut, ut nōn) (§ 537).|
|5. Time (with cum ) (§ 546).|
|6. Intermediate (Indirect Discourse) (§ 592).|
|7. Indirect Questions or Commands (§§ 574, 588).|
|III. Imperative:||1. Direct Commands (often Subjunctive) (§ 448).|
|2. Statutes, Laws, and Wills (§ 449. 2).|
|3. Prohibitions (early or poetic use) (§ 450. a).|
|IV. Infinitive:||a. Subject of esse and Impersonal Verbs (§§ 452, 454).|
|b. Objective Constructions:||1. Complementary Infinitive (§ 456).|
|2. Indirect Discourse (with Subject Accusative) (§ 580).|
|c. Idiomatic Uses:||1. Purpose (poetic or Greek use) (§ 460).|
|2. Exclamation (with Subject Accusative) (§ 462).|
|3. Historical Infinitive (§ 463).|
INDICATIVE MOOD[*] 437. The Indicative is the mood of direct assertions or questions when there is no modification of the verbal idea except that of time. [*] a. The Indicative is sometimes used where the English idiom would suggest the Subjunctive:—
- longum est, it would be tedious [if, etc.]; satius erat, it would have been better [if, etc.]; persequī possum, I might follow up [in detail].
[*] Note.--Substitutes for the Indicative are (1) the Historical Infinitive (§ 463), and (2) the Infinitive in Indirect Discourse (§ 580).For the Indicative in Conditions, see §§ 515, 516; for the Indicative in implied Commands, see § 449. b.
SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD[*] 438. The Subjunctive in general expresses the verbal idea with some modification2 such as is expressed in English by auxiliaries, by the infinitive, or by the rare subjunctive (§ 157. b). [*] a. The Subjunctive is used independently to express—
- An Exhortation or Command (Hortatory Subjunctive: § 439).
- A Concession (Concessive Subjunctive: § 440).
- A Wish (Optative Subjunctive:§ 441).
- A Question of Doubt etc. (Deliberative Subjunctive: § 444).
- A Possibility or Contingency (Potential Subjunctive: § 446).
- Condition: future or contrary to fact (§§ 516. b, c, 517).
- Purpose (Final, § 531).
- Characteristic (§ 535).
- Result (Consecutive, § 537).
- Time (Temporal, § 546).
- Indirect Question (§ 574).
- “hōs latrōnēs interficiāmus ” (B. G. 7.38) , let us kill these robbers.
- “ caveant intemperantiam, meminerint verēcundiae ” (Off. 1.122) , let them shun excess and cherish modesty.
[*] Note 2.--The term hortatory subjunctive is sometimes restricted to the first person plural, the second and third persons being designated as the jussive subjunctive; but the constructions are substantially identical.
[*] Note 3.--Once in Cicero and occasionally in the poets and later writers the negative with the hortatory subjunctive is nōn : as,—ā “lēgibus nōn recēdāmus” (Clu. 155) , let us not abandon the laws.[*] a. The Second Person of the hortatory subjunctive is used only of an indefinite subject, except in prohibitions, in early Latin, and in poetry:—
- “iniūriās fortūnae, quās ferre nequeās, dēfugiendō relinquās ” (Tusc. 5.118) , the wrongs of fortune, which you cannot bear, leave behind by flight.
- “ exoriāre aliquis ultor ” (Aen. 4.625) , rise, some avenger.
- “istō bonō ūtāre dum adsit, cum absit nē requīrās ” (Cat. M. 33) , use this blessing while it is present; when it is wanting do not regret it.
- “ doceās iter et sacra ōstia pandās ” (Aen. 6.109) , show us the way and lay open the sacred portals.
- “ morerētur, inquiēs ” (Rab. Post. 29) , he should have died, you will say.
- “potius docēret ” (Off. 3.88) , he should rather have taught.
- “nē poposcissēs ” (Att. 2.1.3) , you should not have asked.
- “saltem aliquid dē pondere dētrāxisset ” (Fin. 4.57) , at least he should have taken something from the weight.
[*] Note 1.--In this construction the Pluperfect usually differs from the Imperfect only in more clearly representing the time for action as momentary or as past.
[*] Note 2.--This use of the subjunctive is carefully to be distinguished from the potential use (§ 446). The difference is indicated by the translation, should or ought (not would or might).[*] 440. The Hortatory Subjunctive is used to express a concession. 3 The Present is used for present time, the Perfect for past. The negative is nē .
- “ sit fūr, sit sacrilegus: at est bonus imperātor ” (Verr. 5.4) , grant he is a thief, a godless wretch: yet he is a good general.
- “ fuerit aliīs; tibi quandō esse coepit ” (Verr. 2.1.37) , suppose he was [so] to others; when did he begin to be to you?
- “nēmō is umquam fuit: nē fuerit ” (Or. 101) , there never was such a one [you will say]: granted (let there not have been).
- “ nē sit summum malum dolor, malum certē est ” (Tusc. 2.14) , granted that pain is not the greatest evil, at least it is an evil.
[*] Note.--The concessive subjunctive with quamvīs and licet is originally hortatory (§ 527. a, b).For other methods of expressing Concession, see § 527. For the Hortatory Subjunctive denoting a Proviso, see § 528. a. Optative Subjunctive [*] 441. The Optative Subjunctive is used to express a Wish. The present tense denotes the wish as possible, the imperfect as unaccomplished in present time, the pluperfect as unaccomplished in past time. The negative is nē :—
- “ita vīvam ”