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question on the subjunctive

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question on the subjunctive

Postby nostos » Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:18 pm

rogavere quare non posses quod ceteri fecerunt discere: They asked why you could not learn what the others had done (P&R 15 Ch. 30). But Benissimus has this translated as 'fecissent'. I'm not sure if it's just a mistake or if, much more likely, it's something I'm missing? I still have lots to get through with subjunctives.

Also is 'quod ceteri fecissent' dependent on 'posses discere' or is it an independent use of the subjunctive? Because 'what they may have done' seems like it would be dependent, I mean it's not a complete thought without 'why you couldn't learn'. Help!
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Re: question on the subjunctive

Postby benissimus » Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:33 am

nostos wrote:rogavere quare non posses quod ceteri fecerunt discere: They asked why you could not learn what the others had done (P&R 15 Ch. 30). But Benissimus has this translated as 'fecissent'. I'm not sure if it's just a mistake or if, much more likely, it's something I'm missing? I still have lots to get through with subjunctives.

"had done" is distinctly pluperfect, so why translate it as perfect (fecerunt)? fecissent does not need to be subjunctive, but it certainly can be on account of a relative clause of characteristic or reported (as opposed to known) fact (e.g. "what they [apparently] had done").

Also is 'quod ceteri fecissent' dependent on 'posses discere' or is it an independent use of the subjunctive? Because 'what they may have done' seems like it would be dependent, I mean it's not a complete thought without 'why you couldn't learn'. Help!

This is just a normal relative clause, the antecedent is implied id or similar.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Postby nostos » Mon Aug 29, 2005 5:14 pm

Thanks! I've been writing out my verb paradigms for the past couple of days before school begins so I won't make mistakes like that because they aren't automatic yet (for the most part), and I've been so eager to learn more that I haven't given them the time they deserve.

So fecisse can but does not have to be subjunctive; it depends on authorial intention, if I got it correctly. I've checked out A&G's 'Informal Indirect Discourse', which is what I think you're referring to: reported fact, basically 'the thought of some other person than the speaker or writer'. Makes perfect sense, but it won't stick until I've had some more practice with subjunctives in general, the main clauses that are used (rel. clauses of characteristic &c.), and then I can move onto the rest.

Thanks again!
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