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orberg: inest - "inest in" not redundant "in"?

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orberg: inest - "inest in" not redundant "in"?

Postby svaens » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:12 am

Hi all,

Once more I have time to get back to my Orberg books.

I came across this sentence:

"Quid inest in saccis?"

It's short and simple, and I'm pretty sure just means "what is in the sacks?".

I don't get how to use "inest".
Couldn't it have been written:
"Quid est in saccis?" ?
If not, why?
And why the apparent double "in" with "inest in" used together?


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Re: orberg: inest - "inest in" not redundant "in"?

Postby adrianus » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:01 pm

You can indeed also say "inest saccis", with "saccis" in the dative or ablative (Oxford Latin Dictionary).

I (not an expert) think in these terms, Sean. There is a verb "insum" and it is used with "in" plus the ablative. I avoid the question of why the Romans thought it necessary to have a particular verb because it's so speculative. You could speculate that the "in" is intensified ("inside the sack").
There is also the verb "intro" and it is used either with just the accusative or with "in" plus the accusative.
Also you have "intus in domo" ("inside [in] the house", and not just "in the house")
You could say "Quid est in saccis?" ("What's in the sacks?") but by saying "Quid inest in saccis?" it's more like saying "What do the sacks contain?" or "The sacks are of what?" or "What is inside the sacks?", I believe. I imagine Oerberg is saying look at how this verb "insum" operates.

I think if I ask "Quid inest in hâc materiâ?" it means, yes, "What is in this material?" but also "What is this material made of?" or "What is this material of?" more explicitly.

Cum vel sine "in" praepositione dicitur (secundum OLD).

Ego non peritus sic cogito, Johannes. Exstat "insum" verbum cui in praepositioni cum ablativo servit. Cur Romani tale verbum invenirint rogare effugio quod comtemplativa justa est questio. Forsit eo modo sensus "in" praepositionis ampliatur. Exstat "intro" verbum quod accusativo cum vel sine in praepositione servit. Nota etiam "intus in domo". Certum roges hoc, "Quid est in saccis?", at proximum sed alterum sensum "inest" communicat, ut credo. Dicit Oerberg sic agit "insum" verbum, imaginor.

Si rogo "Quid inest in hâc materiâ?" eodem tempore ita explicitè rogo, "Quid est in hâc materiâ?" et "Quo est haec materia?"


Why not "est" in this? // Cur non "est" in hoc scribitur?

"propterea quod et natura inest in mentibus nostris insatiabilis quædam cupiditas veri videndi" (Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 1.2.44)

"because a certain insatiable desire to behold the truth is in our minds even naturally" or
"because a certain insatiable desire to behold the truth is inside/inherent in our minds even naturally"?
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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Re: orberg: inest - "inest in" not redundant "in"?

Postby Carolus Raeticus » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:56 am


I found a relevant section in Karl Gottlob Zumpt's A Grammar of the Latin Language.

Zumpt wrote:With most of these compound verbs, the preposition (or an equivalent one) may be repeated with its proper case. This is most frequently done in prose with the verbs compounded with ad, con, de, in; as adhibeo, confero, conjungo, communico, comparo, contendo, imprimo, inesse, inscribo, interesse (in the sense of, to be between, or, there is a difference); e.gr. Conferte hanc pacem cum illo bello; consilia sua cum aliquo communicare; in hac vita nihil inest nisi miseria. Incumbo is used with a dative, in the literal sense of leaning or pressing upon; incumbere baculo; in the sense of applying to a pursuit, with in or ad; ad laudem incumbere; in rempublicam incumbere.

Note: These are the general principles of the difficult doctrine concerning the syntax of compounded verbs; it must be pursued further by the help of the lexicon, and attention to the usage of the best authors. It may be further remarked, that many verbs compounded with ab, de and ex, either take the ablative or repeat the preposition; abesse, absistere, abstinere, abire, exire, decedere, excedere, dejicere, depellere, efferre, evadere.

I am merely a newbie, but to me the second paragraph sounds as if there is no real general rule telling us whether to use the same preposition with a compound verb or not. Adrianus' speculation about the repetition acting as some sort of intensifier is interesting. But it does not seem to work with the other prepositions, e.g. adhibere (Perseus-Link).
Should anyone know of a working general rule, I am all ears. I find the proper use of preposition + compound verb rather perplexing.

A good point made in a different Latin forum:
And, yes, in later periods there was much redundancy. However, it’s not really any worse than ‘it is enclosed within the sack’, and arguably less redundant than ‘it is enclosed inside the envelope’, at which we don’t bat an eyelid.


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Sperate miseri, cavete felices.
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