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Ch 36 I don't cook for cooks!

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Ch 36 I don't cook for cooks!

Postby phil » Thu Jan 29, 2004 7:50 pm

This little couplet starts:
Lector et auditor nostros probat, Aule, libellos,
sed quidam exactos esse poeta negat.

Does this translate as:
The reader and the listener approve our pamphlets, Aulus
but a certain poet says they're not finished ?
If so, why is probat singular? I would have expected probant.
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Postby Skylax » Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:09 pm

You are right. But in Latin, when there are several subjects, the verb agrees usually only with the nearest one. "Reader approves and listener too"

Egens aeque est is qui non satis habet et is cui nihil satis potest esse
"The one who has not got enough and the one to which nothing can suffice are equally poor."
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Postby Ulpianus » Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:24 pm

Two other examples from the books (both Cicero, apparently):

nunc mihi nihil libri, nihil litterae, nihil doctrina prodest

senatus populusque Romanus intellegit

You can also get the reverse: where a (gramatically) singular subject has a thoroughly plural overtone the verb may be plural, though grammar would strictly say it should be singular:

pars militum capti, pars occisi sunt

One sees similar things in English: The government are hoping to introduce the law next year. The committee want to consider the position. I'm sure one finds singular for plural too, though I can't think of an instance off the top of my head.
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Postby phil » Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:36 pm

So, it's a bit like the case where adjectives agree with the nearest thing they're modifying 'puer puellaque parva' means the small boy and girl. (Please correct me if I'm wrong)
Does the same hold true for verbs I've just learned where the object takes the dative (or ablative) e.g.
love and obey your leader - ama et pare duci tuo,
but obey and love your leader - pare et ama ducem tuum?
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Postby Skylax » Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:45 pm

I don't know exactly but in this case I would say something like
Duci pare quem amas, or use the pronoun is : Ducem ama eique pare. I wonder if there are rules strictly speaking.
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Postby Ulpianus » Thu Jan 29, 2004 10:26 pm

So, it's a bit like the case where adjectives agree with the nearest thing they're modifying 'puer puellaque parva' means the small boy and girl.


This is certainly correct when the adjective is not predicate. When it is, the "rules" seem to be much more complex -- indeed, so complex, I'm not even sure you could call them rules. There then seems to be some kind of attraction to the masculine (if the nouns are living things and at least one is masculine (?): puer puellaque una profecti, to modify what seems to be a standard example from Livy) or the neuter (if inanimate objects: (from Livy again, via A+G) labor voluptasque societate quadam inter se naturali iuncta (Work and pleasure are joined together by some sort of natural partnership), where neither labor (masc) nor voluptas (fem) is neuter but the participle is!). But even this seems to be subject to a multiplicity of exceptions or variant usages.
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