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Neuter Plural Subject with Singular Verb?

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Neuter Plural Subject with Singular Verb?

Postby Discipulus Tristis » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:57 pm


Recently someone mentioned to me that, as they understood it, Latin has certain types of neuter plural nouns that take a singular rather than a plural verb form. This sounded vaguely familiar, so I consulted my various textbooks and grammars. I wasn't able to find a reference to the phenomenon. However, I think I may have seen it used in poetry (perhaps imitating some feature of Greek). Can anyone enlighten me?

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Re: Neuter Plural Subject with Singular Verb?

Postby modus.irrealis » Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:51 am

It's standard in Classical Greek so I wouldn't be surprised if it had been imitated in Latin, but I don't think I've ever seen it mentioned in Latin grammar references. And googling came up with very little except I did find http://books.google.ca/books?id=6bCWl_i ... ct&f=false where speaking about an example in a Latin translation of the bible it says "In Latin it is a glaring solecism to use a singular verb with a plural subject".
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Re: Neuter Plural Subject with Singular Verb?

Postby adrianus » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:44 pm

Allen & Greenough, §101 wrote:NOTE 2: The poets often use the plural number for the singular, sometimes for metrical reasons, sometimes from a mere fashion: as, óra (for ós), the face; scéptra (for scéptrum), sceptre; silentia (for silentium), silence.
At the same time, though, any verb taken is plural, as you might expect.
Per idem tempus, autem, ullum verbum cui tale nomen conjungitur multitudinem significat, ut vis fieri.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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