Nihil mē terret

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Nihil mē terret

Post by meirad » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:46 pm

I was reading this sentence and I know it translates to "Nothing frightens me." However, my question is, why does 'terret' have the 3rd person singular?

For example, my first assumption if I was translating this, would have been to not cojugate "terreo". Which obviously would have been wrong, but why is it done this way? Is this something that will pop up a lot?

For context, I am a complete beginner to Latin and I'm terrible at grammar.

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Re: Nihil mē terret

Post by bedwere » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:59 pm

Because the subject is nihil. Actually it's the same in English: you wrote "frightens" (3rd person singular), didn't you? You need to know English grammar before you learn Latin grammar.

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Re: Nihil mē terret

Post by jeidsath » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:51 pm

I'm still early stages with my Latin, so maybe others like bedwere can correct me if I make any mistakes. It might be easier to think of:

hilum me terret -- a trifle frightens me

That makes more sense as a 3rd singular subject, I hope?

nihil is just nihilum or ne-hilum, "not a trifle." (Compare English thing and no-thing.)

Regardless, abstract, conceptional, nouns will be boringly singular or plural in terms of their grammar (in both English and Latin). From the standpoint of the language, they still have number and gender. So the infinitive ("to frighten") has other purposes (just as in English).
Joel Eidsath --

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