The Online Latin Grammar

Indirect Statement

Comes after a voice in which the voice, ears, eyes or mind is used.

Uses the accusative infinitive construction.

The tense of the infinitive is determined by the tense originally spoken.

Indirect Command

Words of commanding and forbidding.

Uses the construction ut or ne plus present subjunctive or imperfect subjunctive according to the sequence of tenses.

There are two exceptions, iubeo and veto, which are instead followed by an accusative infinitive construction.

Iubeo cannot be followed by "non". Veto or impero ne must be used instead.

Indirect Questions

A verb in which the voice, eyes, ears or mind is used, plus a question word and the appropriate subjunctive.

Purpose Clauses

To express purpose use ut or ne plus the correct subjunctive.

The relative pronoun can also be used with the subjunctive, as can the supine, to express purpose.

The future participle and the gerund and gerundive can also be used to express purpose.

Result Clauses

Result is expressed by ut or ut non plus the subjunctive suggested by the sequence of tenses.

It is quite frequently signposted by words meaning "so great", "so much", etc.

In result clauses "se" and "suus" refer to the subject of the ut bit of the clause, not the main clause like all other constructions.

The relative pronoun can be used in result clauses.

Verbs of Fearing

Where English uses an infinitive after a verb of fearing, so does the Latin. When "that" is implied in translation, then Latin uses ne plus subjunctive.

Impersonal Verbs

In english they are mostly weather verbs, but in Latin they are:

Impersonal Use of the Passive

If a verb is used transitively it can be put in the passive and the object turned into the subject.

Verbs of motion can be effectively rendered in the impersonal passive.

Conditional sentences

Conditional clauses are introduced by if, unless, if ... not, whether ... or.

They consist of a main clause and a conditional clause, the latter of which usually come first.

Open Conditions

The indicative is used in conditionals that involve real certainties.

English has concealed futures, using what looks like a present, eg "come" when, it means future. Latin uses the future or future perfect.

Remote and unfulfilled subjunctive

Identifiable in english by use of word "would" in the main clause or apodosis. In latin the subjunctive is used in both clauses. The present subjunctive refers to the future, the imperfect to present, and the pluperfect to past.

Time Clauses

Introduced by the following words:

1) in the "concealed future", Latin uses the future perfect rather than the present.
2) postquam, etc are followed by the perfect indicative when they refer to the past.
3) when a definite interval of time is mentioned the pluperfect is used.
4) when an action has occured repeatedly in the past, the pluperfect is used.
5) when the action is in primary sequence, perfect is used to indicate repeats.
6) antequam, postquam and posteaquam are often divided, and should not be translated before the word is complete.
7) in ideas of purpose or expectation the verb in the time clause goes into the subjunctive.
8) the verb goes into the subjunctive naturally when it is a subordinate clause in an indirect statement.

Cum (= when)

When the verb in the cum clause is in a primary tense, it is in the indicative. When the verb in the cum clause is in historic tense, it is in the subjunctive, either imperfect or pluperfect. If a cum clause uses the idea of time, with no mention of cause and effect, the historic indicative can be used.

"inverted cum" clause, used when the idea usually to be expressed in a cum clause is the more important one, so instead the main clause is turned into a cum clause.

cum (=whenever, as often as)

future time=future perfect indicative
present time=perfect indicative
past time=pluperfect indicative.

cum (=since)

present time=present subjunctive
past time=imperfect subjunctive

cum (=although, whereas)

plus subjunctive

Dum (=while)

While has several meanings in English:
"in the course of the time that..." - uses the present indicative even in indirect statement.
"exactly as long as..."
"all the time that..."

dum (=until)

Same rules as regular time words.
dum, dummodo (=provided that, if only, as long as)
uses the subjunctive, negated by ne.

dum (=because, that)

uses indicative

Because, although, as if.

uses quod, quia or quoniam. The mood of the verb indicates the translation.


Clauses beginning with "although", "though", "even though" or "even if" are known as concessive clauses. They can deal either with facts or with possibilities.

The factual concessive clauses are introduced by quamquam, etsi, tametsi, etiamsi, etiam se, with the verb in the indicative.

The concessive clauses dealing with possibilities start with quamvis, etsi, etiamsi, etiam si and the verb is in the subjunctive.

"etsi", etc are all compounds of si meaning "even if". Therefore they follow the rules of the conditional clause.

As if, as (comparison)

"as if" words:

perinde ac se, tamquam si, quasi, velut, sicut, velut si, tamquam, ut si.

Quin and Quominus

After "doubt" "deny" "hinder" and "prevent", Latin often uses quin plus the subjunctive after a negated verb of the above type.

Quin means literally "by which not" and "but that".

"aegre" and "vix" can be used as a milder substitute for a negative verb.

Quominus is used with much the same meaning as quin after verbs of hindering and preventing whether negated or not. Means literally "by which the less".

prohibeo can be followed simply by the infinitve.