linking verbs (sum and esse)

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linking verbs (sum and esse)

Post by caeruleus » Tue Feb 17, 2004 7:22 pm


Now that I understand the function of an infinitive: What in the world does this mean?:

--The infinitive of sum is esse, to be.

This line stems from a chapter of my study text. It also speaks of these words as linking verbs. Can an example or two be provided in context?


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Post by phil » Tue Feb 17, 2004 7:31 pm

sum means I am, and esse means to be; the're just different forms of the same verb... admitedly they don't appear to have much in common.
Just like video means I see, and videre means to see.
As far as a linking verb goes, esse is differnet from most verbs, in that it doesn't take an object (in the accusative).
rex videt puerum - the king sees the boy, note that the thing he's seeing is in the accusative
rex est puer - the king is a boy, the boy here is in the nominative, because est (yet another form of esse) is a linking (or I prefer copulative) verb.

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Post by Episcopus » Tue Feb 17, 2004 8:02 pm

The infinitive in latin ending, depending on conjugation, -are, -ére, ere, ire, corresponds with the english infinitive "to..." in many ways. It does not involve a person as "sum" might do (I). As in English you may use it as a noun: "Videre puerum puellulis erat gratissimum" - "To see (or Seeing) the boy was very pleasing to the little girls", the infinitive being classed as a neuter noun here, agreeing with gratissimum. Or you may use it thus "Episcopum aram estruere Papae placuit" - "For the Bishop to put up the altar pleased the Pope", here the "Episcopum" is accusative.
Or like English often you can use it with verbs like "posse" (which is irregular) - "to be able" or "cessare" to stop [doing] or "debere" - "must".
"Galli impetum in Romanos facere cessaverunt" - "the Gauls stopped making an attack on the Romans".
Those are some of the commoner uses, hope that helps.

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