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syntax of genitive and infinitive

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syntax of genitive and infinitive

Postby ARCANUS IMMOTUS » Sun Sep 24, 2006 1:51 am

Quick question (actually two). I was re-reading wheelocks chapters 1 through 30 and had two little things I hoped someone could clear up.
1) chapter 2: sententiae antiquae:
7: Me vitare turbam iubes.
you order me to avoid the mob.
How do I know that it is "me" that is to avoid and not "the mob" that is to avoid. They are both accusative. Does any rule of syntax say that the infinitive follows the acc. and not precede it?

2) Same question but with the genitive.
chapter 4 practice and review
8:Femina agricolae portam videt.
The farmer's woman sees the gate or the woman sees the farmer's gate?
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Postby bellum paxque » Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:41 am

There's really no way to know for sure. Usually, the subject of an infinitive construction comes first - but not always. And often, the genitive comes before the noun that governs it (i.e. agricolae portam not portam agricolae) - but not always.

So there's no hard and fast rules. Consider this:

Iason turbam exercitum uitare iussit. sed me uitare turbam iubes!

Jason ordered the crowd to avoid the army. But it's me you tell the crowd to avoid!

Here the different word order emphasizes the contrast.

The key here, as always, is context.

David
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Postby ARCANUS IMMOTUS » Sun Sep 24, 2006 5:17 pm

I didn't think there was, but you can never be sure. And thats the thing, using context I never had a problem reading those sentences but re-reading you start to wonder things you did not the first time because the first time you are too busy hoping your right.
Thanx for your help.
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