RULE 1: Conditions consist of two parts, the protasis
establishing a condition and introduced by if or unless
(Latin si or nisi) and the apodosis
showing the (potential) result of the condition.
RULE 2: The less real the condition, the more likely
it is to use the subjunctive.
There are several important things to note about Latin conditions and
conditional sentences in general:
1. Know the terms protasis (the "if" half
of a condition) and apodosis (the "then"
half of a condition).
2. There is an important principle involving Latin conditions. Those
which involve "real" situations (i.e. situations which the
speaker sees as definite or likely to happen) take the indicative mood:
present simple-fact, past simple-fact and future more vivid. Those which
presume unreal or unlikely situations take the subjunctive: future less
vivid, present contrary-to-fact and past contrary-to-fact. It may help
to remember the conditions which employ the subjunctive this way:
a. present subjunctive = "should/would" (future less vivid)
b. imperfect subjunctive = "were/would" (present contrary-to-fact)
c. pluperfect subjunctive = "had/would have" (past contrary-to-fact)
3. The future more vivid condition in Latin uses the future tense in
both protasis and apodosis (si ab Graeciâ discedes,
valebis), whereas English uses the future in the
apodosis but the present in the protasis (If you depart from Greece
[n.b. present tense], you will fare well).
For the purposes of this class, we will employ only "perfect"
conditions, i.e. those which have the same type of condition in both halves
of the sentence. Please note, however, that in actual Latin conditions
are often mixed, meaning that the protasis uses a different sort of condition
from the apodosis:
"If I had been there (past contrary-to-fact), I would be dead
now (pres contrary-to-fact)";
"If you should do that (future less vivid), I will reward you (future
"If he did it (past simple-fact), he's smarter than I thought (pres
Click here for a worksheet
nox: An i-stem noun (genitive plural
ops: Not an i-stem noun! Like vis
(plural, vires), the singular form of ops ("help,
aid") has a connotation different from its plural opes ("power,
quis: Note that, after certain subordinating
conjunctions, ali- forms lose their ali- prefix. The
following jingle may help you remember this rule:
Before si, nisi, num, and ne
All the ali's drop away! (OR Ali- takes a holiday!)
ullus: Remember that demonstrative pronouns
(like ullus, solus, alius, nullus,
and so on) exhibit irregular genitive singulars (-ius) and dative
singulars (-i); see Chapter 9.
suscipio: = *sub- + capio,
trado: = trans- + do, literally,
"give across," i.e. "hand over/down."
plenus: + genitive, "full (of . . .)."
Practice and Review. Focus on the type of condition
evidenced in each sentence.