Home/Index of Chapters
©Damen, 2015
Vocabulary Drill


Chapter 39

RULE 1: Gerunds are verbal nouns; gerundives are verbal adjectives.

RULE 2: Gerunds and gerundives are formed like future passive participles.

RULE 3: Gerund + object > noun + gerundive.

RULE 4: Purpose constructions: ad + accusative noun + accusative gerundive AND genitive noun + genitive gerundive + causâ

I. Grammar

In this lesson, you will complete your study of Latin verb constructions. To help you sort out and review the various types of verbal clauses and phrases you have learned, click here for a worksheet entitled "Subordinate Clauses and Other Constructions," which is a pastiche of pieces drawn from unaltered Latin (Cicero). Do not attempt to translate the passages—much of the vocabulary will be unfamiliar—only determine the type of clause and phrase used in each underlined construction. Answers are provided on the handout, if there is not time in class to cover all the passages.

Also, to help you synthesize the various verb constructions in Latin, click here for a review sheet which overviews the major types of subordinate clauses and the moods or verbal forms each requires.

A. Gerunds

Gerunds are nouns constructed on verb bases. They are created by adding the suffix, -nd- to the present base, producing a form which is identical to the neuter singular of the future passive participle. Note, however, that the gerund lacks the sense of obligation or necessity associated with that participle.

The use of gerunds in Latin closely parallels English idiom, except that the gerund has no nominative form as such. The nominative is supplied by the infinitive (see Wheelock, page 187 note 3). In other words, where English may say either "Swimming every day is good for your health" or "To swim every day is good for your health," Latin has only the infinitive form of the verbal noun in the nominative and thus must use the equivalent of the latter expression.

B. Gerundives

More problematical is the use of the gerundive in Latin. Gerundives replace gerunds when the gerund takes an object:

GERUND: Without reading (Sine legendo), we will never be able to learn.
GERUNDIVE: Without reading good books (Sine bonis libris legendis), we will never able to learn.

Learn to change what in Latin will be expressed as "[of] X to be Y-ed" into "[of] Y-ing X," e.g. "of the city to be saved" as "of saving the city." For further review, see the examples in Wheelock on page 188 and click here for a worksheet on gerund and gerundive constructions.

C. Gerundive Purpose Clauses

One of the widely attested usages of the Latin gerundive is in a phrase equivalent to a purpose clause:

ad + accusative noun + accusative gerundive: literally, "toward X (which is) to be Y-ed"

It can also be expressed as:

genitive noun + genitive gerundive + causâ: literally, "for the sake of X (which is) to be Y-ed."

This construction is best translated as "to Y X" or "for Y-ing X" (see Wheelock's third and fourth sets of examples on page 188 and note 4). Both are called a "gerundive purpose clause."

D. Reading and Recitation

Here is a link to the Reading for this chapter, a passage from Horace's Sermones.

II. Vocabulary

aedificium: = aed- (aedes) "shrine, temple, building" + fac- "make, construction" + -ium, a noun-forming suffix.

iniuria: = in- "not" + iur- "law" + -ia (abstract noun-forming suffix); thus, it means literally "lawlessness."

cupidus: + a genitive noun, "desirous of . . . "

necesse: This adjective is indeclinable. It frequently appears in the impersonal construction necesse est, which is followed by either a complementary infinitive (see P&R 2, page 193; SA 3, page 194) or a subjunctive verb (often introduced by ut).

vetus: Like potens, this is a one-termination third-declension adjective, but unlike other third-declension adjectives it is not i-stem (ablative singular vetere; neuter nominative/accusative plural vetera; genitive plural veterum).

experior: A fourth-conjugation deponent verb, the first we have encountered.


Home/Index of Chapters


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.