Latin for beginners (1911)/Part III/Lesson LXXI

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search



401. Review the word lists in §§ 510, 511.

402. The Gerund. Suppose we had to translate the sentence

By overcoming the Gauls Cæsar won great glory

We can see that overcoming here is a verbal noun corresponding to the English infinitive in -ing, and that the thought calls for the ablative of means. To translate this by the Latin infinitive would be impossible, because the infinitive is indeclinable and therefore has no ablative case form. Latin, however, has another verbal noun of corresponding meaning, called the gerund, declined as a neuter of the second declension in the genitive, dative, accusative, and ablative singular, and thus supplying the cases that the infinitive lacks.[1] Hence, to decline in Latin the verbal noun overcoming, we should use the infinitive for the nominative and the gerund for the other cases, as follows:

Nom. superāre overcoming
to overcome





superandī, of overcoming

superandō, for overcoming

superandum, overcoming

superandō, by overcoming


Like the infinitive, the gerund governs the same case as the verb from which it is derived. So the sentence given above becomes in Latin

Superandō Gallōs Caesar magnam glōriam reportāvit

403. The gerund[2] is formed by adding -ndī, -ndō, -ndum, -ndō, to the present stem, which is shortened or otherwise changed, as shown below:

Paradigm of the Gerund

Gen. amandī monendī regendī capiendī audiendī
Dat. amandō monendō regendō capiendō audiendō
Acc. amandum monendum regendum capiendum audiendum
Abl. amandō monendō regendō capiendō audiendō

a. Give the gerund of cūrō, dēleō, sūmō, iaciō, veniō.

b. Deponent verbs have the gerund of the active voice (see § 493). Give the gerund of cōnor, vereor, sequor, patior, partior.

404. The Gerundive. The gerundive is the name given to the future passive participle (§ 374.d) when the participle approaches the meaning of a verbal noun and is translated like a gerund. It is the adjective corresponding to the gerund. For example, to translate the plan of waging war, we may use the gerund with its direct object and say cōnsilium gerendī bellum; or we may use the gerundive and say cōnsilium bellī gerendī, which means, literally, the plan of the war to be waged, but which came to have the same force as the gerund with its object, and was even preferred to it. 405. Compare the following parallel uses of the gerund and gerundive:

Gerund Gerundive

Spēs faciendī pācem

The hope of making peace

Spēs faciendae pācis

The hope of making peace


Locus idōneus pugnandō

A place suitable for fighting

Locus idōneus castrīs pōnendīs

A place suitable for pitching camp


Mīsit equitēs ad īnsequendum

He sent horsemen to pursue

Mīsit equitēs ad īnsequendōs hostīs

He sent horsemen to pursue the enemy


Nārrandō fābulās magister puerīs placuit

The teacher pleased the boys by telling stories

Nārrandīs fābulīs magister puerīs placuit

The teacher pleased the boys by telling stories

a. We observe

  1. That the gerund is a noun and the gerundive an adjective.
  2. That the gerund, being a noun, may stand alone or with an object.
  3. That the gerundive, being an adjective, is used only in agreement with a noun.

406. Rule. Gerund and Gerundive.

  1. The Gerund is a verbal noun and is used only in the genitive, dative, accusative, and ablative singular. The constructions of these cases are in general the same as those of other nouns.
  2. The Gerundive is a verbal adjective and must be used instead of gerund + object excepting in the genitive and in the ablative without a preposition. Even in these instances the gerundive construction is more usual.

407. Rule. Gerund or Gerundive of Purpose. The accusative of the gerund or gerundive with ad, or the genitive with causā[3] (= for the sake of), is used to express purpose.

Gerund Gerundive

Ad audiendum vēnērunt or

Audiendī causā vēnērunt

They came to hear

Ad urbem videndam vēnērunt or

Urbis videndae causā vēnērunt

They came to see the city

Note. These sentences might, of course, be written with the subjunctive of purpose,—vēnērunt ut

audīrent; vēnērunt ut urbem vidērent. In short expressions, however, the gerund and gerundive of purpose are rather more common.

408. We have learned that the word denoting the owner or possessor of something is in the genitive, as, equus Galbae, Galba’s horse. If, now, we wish to express the idea the horse is Galba’s, Galba remains the possessor, and hence in the genitive as before, but now stands in the predicate, as, equus est Galbae. Hence this is called the predicate genitive.

409. Rule. Predicate Genitive. The possessive genitive often stands in the predicate, especially after the forms of sum, and is then called the predicate genitive.



alīcui negōtium dare, to employ someone (lit. to give business to some one)

novīs rēbus studēre, to be eager for a revolution (lit. to be eager for new things)

reī mīlitāris perītissimus, very skillful in the art of war

sē suaque omnia, themselves and all their possessions




  1. Caesar cum in Galliā bellum gereret, militibus decimae legiōnis maximē fāvit quia reī mīlitāris perītissimī erant.
  2. Sociīs negōtium dedit reī frumentāriae cūrandae.
  3. Lēgāti nōn sōlum audiendī causā sed etiam dicendī causā vēnērunt.
  4. Imperātor iussit explōrātōres locum idōneum mūnindō reperīre.
  5. Nuper hae gentēs novīs rēbus studēbant; mox iīs persuādēbō ut Caesarī sē suaque omnia dēdant.
  6. Iubēre est regīnae[4] et pārēre est multitūdinis.[4]
  7. Hōc proeliō factō quīdam ex hostibus ad pācem petendam venērunt.
  8. Erant quī arma trādere nōllent.
  9. Hostēs tam celeriter prōgressī sunt ut spatium pīla in hostīs iaciendī non darētur.
  10. Spatium neque arma capiendī[5] neque auxilī petendī[5] datum est. II.
  11. These ornaments [6]belong to Cornelia.
  12. Men very skillful in the art of war were sent [7]to capture the town.
  13. The scouts found a hill suitable for fortifying very near to the river.
  14. Soon the cavalry will come [8]to seek supplies.
  15. The mind of the Gauls is eager for revolution and for undertaking wars.
  16. To lead the line of battle [9]belongs to the general.
  17. [10]Whom shall we employ to look after the grain supply?



  1. Sometimes, however, the infinitive is used as an accusative.
  2. The gerund is the neuter singular of the future passive participle used as a noun, and has the same formation. (Cf. § 374.d.)
  3. causā always follows the genitive.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Predicate genitive.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Which of these expressions is gerund and which gerundive?
  6. belong to = are of.
  7. Use the gerundive with ad.
  8. Use the genitive with causā. Where should causā stand?
  9. Compare the first sentence.
  10. Compare the second sentence in the Latin above.