Textkit Logo

Subjunctive Perfect vs Imperfect

Here's where you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

Moderator: thesaurus

Subjunctive Perfect vs Imperfect

Postby Joseph » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:57 am

In Exercise 7 of North & Hillard's Latin Prose Composition, the answer key disagrees with me on two sentences:

#5
English: So numerous were the enemy that they easily took the city.
Me: Tot erant hostes ut facile urbem caperent.
Answer Key: Tot erant hostes us facile urbem ceperint.

#6
English: The tree was so high that it fell, and lay on the ground.
Me: Tam alta erat arbor ut caderet humique iaceret.
Answser Key: Tam alta erat arbor ut cediderit et humi jaceret.

Why should I have used the perfect subjunctive instead of the imperfect in these two sentences?
Joseph
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:25 am

Re: Subjunctive Perfect vs Imperfect

Postby Craig_Thomas » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:57 am

With result clauses, the verb goes in the tense that seems most appropriate to the sense. In other words, you use the tenses much as you would if the verb were in the indicative. Here, we're not saying that the enemies were taking the city or that the tree was falling, but that they have taken the city and that it has fallen, so the perfect tense is the logical choice.
Craig_Thomas
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:42 am

Re: Subjunctive Perfect vs Imperfect

Postby ptolemyauletes » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:56 pm

Yes, that is a very good explanation. Result clauses do not follow the so-called sequence of tenses as other similar clauses do. This is because result clauses are felt to make the most sense when using the most applicable tense.

Think of it this way using your examples:

'So numerous were the enemy that they easily took the city.
Tot erant hostes ut facile urbem caperent.
Tot erant hostes us facile urbem ceperint.'
The result clause is a clause that describes a separate, independent and real event from that of the main clause. IT is a related event, a resultant event, obviously, but a separate and event nonetheless.
The imperfect tense in this case does not give a sense of the finality needed here.
It would mean something like 'So numerous were the enemy that they were easily taking the city.'
The incomplete sense of the imperfect anticipates some sort of interruption.


Compare this with a purpose clause, indirect command or a fear clause, both of which demand the imperfect subjunctive following a historical tense.
servi fugiverunt ne poenam darent.
dux militibus imperavit ut urbem aggredirentur.
puer timebat ut puella maneret.

In all of these cases the secondary clause is not a real event, but rather an intention, or a worry, or a purpose, or some such thing. With result clauses the result clause is something that actually happened, will happen, is happening etc. The subjunctive mood is simply a result of the construction, but implies no unreality. In fear clauses, indirect command, purpose clauses etc the secondary clause is in a sense unreal, a possibility, and hence the tense is not as important as in a result clause. The tense follows a more general rule - the sequence of tenses.
The only thing we can guarantee when communicating via the internet is that we will be almost completely misunderstood, and likely cause great offence in doing so. Throw in an attempt at humour and you insure a lifelong enemy will be made.
User avatar
ptolemyauletes
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:26 am

Re: Subjunctive Perfect vs Imperfect

Postby Joseph » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:52 am

Thanks fellows, that makes plenty of sense. My next question (I am sure I'll have many, so I'll just keep them all in this thread):

Lesson 20 Sentence: He was thought to be a good general.
Me: Eum esse imperatorem bonum putabantur.
Answer Key: Bonus imperator esse putabantur.

I was under the impression that infinitives took an accusative subject. Did I miss some exception for esse?
Joseph
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:25 am

Re: Subjunctive Perfect vs Imperfect

Postby adrianus » Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:23 am

"putabatur" non "putabantur"

Vide http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=AG+458&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0001

Imperator putabatur bonus esse
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.
adrianus
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3252
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:45 pm

Re: Subjunctive Perfect vs Imperfect

Postby Joseph » Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:28 am

Right, I actually have "putabatur" in both my answer and the key as well, I don't know what I pluralized it while typing it here. :oops:
Joseph
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:25 am

Re: Subjunctive Perfect vs Imperfect

Postby Venabili » Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:22 am

The way I understand it, the nominative is not because of the esse, but because of the main verb - passive constructs with thinking and saying verbs are expressed with infinitive + nominative...

Disclaimer: Still learning so I suspect that I may be oversimplifying the rule or missing some exceptions. But "He is thought/said to be/ave been" always becomes infinitive + Nominative I think.
Venabili
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:24 pm

Re: Subjunctive Perfect vs Imperfect

Postby ptolemyauletes » Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:28 pm

Lesson 20 Sentence: He was thought to be a good general.
Me: Eum esse imperatorem bonum putabantur.
Answer Key: Bonus imperator esse putabantur.

I was under the impression that infinitives took an accusative subject. Did I miss some exception for esse?


This is a passive verb. Passive verbs do not normally take an accusative, as the subject receives the action. I teach my students 'doer' and 'done to'. Normally the Done to is Accusative (letter 'm' for my students), but in a passive sentence the 'doer' is also the 'done to', and in the nominative case.
Also, the verb 'to be', as it is intransitive, does not need take an accusative. 'bonus imperator' is nominative as it is the predicate of the subject, which is the nominative 'he' in 'putabatur'. The verb 'to be' and other verbs like it will have the same case on one side of it as the other.

Think of this sentence: ille est bonus imperator. It is only natural that the 'bonus imperator' is nominative, as it is the predicate of 'ille'. The same is true of your passive sentence. That the verb 'to be' in your sentence happens to be an infinitive makes no difference.
The only thing we can guarantee when communicating via the internet is that we will be almost completely misunderstood, and likely cause great offence in doing so. Throw in an attempt at humour and you insure a lifelong enemy will be made.
User avatar
ptolemyauletes
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:26 am


Return to Learning Latin

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: naturalphilosopher and 89 guests