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Help with necesse est

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Help with necesse est

Postby pmda » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:12 pm

Hi, In Orberg's LLPSI he has a sentence - which I think I understand but I just want to confirm one thing so if anyone can advise I'd be grateful. It's this:

O, Quam longae sunt horae, cum necesse est totum diem in lecto iacere!'

Now I understand that 'necesse est' takes as its object a noun in the dative case. So a sentence could be (if I remember right from an earlier chapter) 'Dum vivit spirare necesse est homini'.

I am taking it that my first example 'O, Quam longae.....' doesn't have any object in the dative case because the speaker, Quintus, is referring to himself. But I'm also taking it that he had wanted to refer to himself in the sentence he would have said something like:

O, Quam longae sunt horae, cum necesse est totum diem in lecto mihi iacere!'

Do I have this right?
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Re: Help with necesse est

Postby thesaurus » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:31 pm

Yes, you have it right. I would only add that the "mihi" would probably be closer to the "necesse est," as in "cum mihi necesse est totum diem in lecto iacere."

Recte intellegis. Solùm addam "mihi" proxior ad "necesse est" cadeat.

As you've noticed, impersonal verbs like this are frequently used without a dative of reference. That is, they are truly impersonal, as in "It's necessary [not for anyone in particular] to eat every day."

Ut vidisti, verba impersonalia saepe alicui non referant. Id est, re vera impersonalia sunt, exempli gratia "Necesse est [omnibus, non huic vel illi homini] omnibus diebus comere."
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Help with necesse est

Postby pmda » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:00 pm

Thesaurus many thanks.
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Re: Help with necesse est

Postby pmda » Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:28 am

But hold fast!!

Later in the same chapter he has Quintus's mother telling Quintus:

'Iam necesse est te dormire'.

?? One might have expected:

Iam necesse est tibi dormire. ???
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Re: Help with necesse est

Postby Nooj » Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:36 am

The phrase te dormire is the subject of necesse est. Remember that the subject of an infinitive turns into an accusative, thus explaining te.

That you are sleeping/you sleeping is a necessary thing. Or in better English, it is necessary that you are sleeping.
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Re: Help with necesse est

Postby pmda » Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:50 pm

Nooj wrote:The phrase te dormire is the subject of necesse est. Remember that the subject of an infinitive turns into an accusative, thus explaining te.

That you are sleeping/you sleeping is a necessary thing. Or in better English, it is necessary that you are sleeping.


OK but look at the following example from a previous chapter. 'Dum vivit spirare necesse est homini'. Here we have spirare in infinitive and homini in dative. I'm not clear about this....?
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Re: Help with necesse est

Postby Nooj » Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:34 pm

Even in that example, the infinitive is the subject and necesse is the predicate. To breathe is a necessary thing for a man. The person for whom it's necessary to do something is put into the dative. It's a dative of person, or interest or whatever the name is.

It's not so different from the example you gave earlier: Iam necesse est te dormire.

But here, the entire noun phrase te dormire acts as the subject of necesse. I believe you can still have a dative after this, although it'd be redundant - iam necesse est tibi te dormire - that you are sleeping/you sleeping is now necessary for you.

Maybe someone else will be able to better explain it to you. I barely understand what I'm saying sometimes! :D
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Re: Help with necesse est

Postby furrykef » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:54 pm

At first I was going to question that there even is a rule that the subject of an infinitive must take the accusative. The place this most often crops up, of course, is indirect statements, but I thought that was only because it's the object of the main verb. (Compare "Putō eum esse stultum" and "I consider him to be a fool" -- here eum/him seems to be an object of putō/consider.) But this construction with the accusative also pops up in, say, "Iam tempus est mē discēdere" ("Now it's time for me to leave"), and I'm hard-pressed to imagine what else the accusative could be.

One could just consider "X est mē" to be an idiom without rhyme or reason, but then, why do so when there's a rule that seems to explain it?
Last edited by furrykef on Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help with necesse est

Postby Nooj » Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:05 pm

The place this most often crops up, of course, is indirect statements, but I thought that was only because it's the object of the main verb. (Compare "Putō eum esse stultum" and "I consider him to be a fool" -- here eum/him seems to be an object of putō/consider.)


I think that that's how the indirect statement was developed actually. In your example, it's not only the eum that's serving as the object, but the phrase eum esse stultum.

By the way, Greek does the same thing. The subject of an infinitive is in the accusative case.
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Re: Help with necesse est

Postby Imber Ranae » Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:53 pm

Nooj's explanation is correct, but all you need to understand is that both may be used: necesse est may take either a dative of the person or an accusative of the person as the subject of the infinitive. Lewis and Short says that the dative is more emphatic in this case, and personal, which means non-personal subjects must be in the accusative (i.e. "it is necessary/unavoidable that something happen"). The same is also true for licet, but not oportet (always accusative) or libet (always dative of the person pleased).

Necesse est can also take ut with the subjunctive (a consecutive clause).
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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Re: Help with necesse est

Postby pmda » Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:16 pm

Thanks. I'll re-read these posts carefully..
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Re: Help with necesse est

Postby furrykef » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:40 pm

Imber Ranae wrote:Necesse est can also take ut with the subjunctive (a consecutive clause).

Or even the subjunctive without 'ut': "Necesse est enim sit alterum dē duōbus" -- Cicero ("So it's necessary that it be one of the two")
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