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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar


208. Impersonal Verbs may be classified as follows:—

a. Verbs expressing the operations of nature and the time of day:

vesperāscit (inceptive, § 263 . 1), it grows late.ningit, it snows.
lūcīscit hōc, it is getting light.fulgurat, it lightens.
grandinat, it hails.tonat, it thunders.
pluit, it rains.rōrat, the dew falls.

Note— In these no subject is distinctly thought of. Sometimes, however, the verb is used personally with the name of a divinity as the subject: as, Iuppiter tonat, Jupiter thunders. In poetry other subjects are occasionally used: as, fundae saxa pluunt, the slings rain stones.

b. Verbs of feeling, where the person who is the proper subject becomes the object, as being himself affected by the feeling expressed in the verb (§ 354 . b ):—

miseret, it grieves. paenitet (poenitet ), it repents.
piget, it disgusts.pudet, it shames.
taedet, it wearies.
miseret mē , I pity (it distresses me);pudet mē, I am ashamed.

Note— Such verbs often have also a passive form: as, misereor, I pity (am moved to pity); and occasionally other parts: as, paenitūrus (as from †paeniō), paenitendus, pudendus, pertaesum est, pigitum est.

c. Verbs which have a phrase or clause as their subject (cf. §§ 454 , 569.2):—

accidit, contingit, ēvenit, obtingit, obvenit, fit, it happens.

libet, it pleases.dēlectat, iuvat, it delights.
licet, it is permitted.oportet, it is fitting, ought.
certum est, it is resolved.necesse est, it is needful.
cōnstat, it is clear.praestat, it is better.
placet, it seems good (pleases).interest, rēfert, it concerns.
vidētur, it seems, seems good.vacat, there is leisure.
decet, it is becoming.restat, superest, it remains.

Note— Many of these verbs may be used personally; as, vacō, I have leisure. Libet and licet have also the passive forms libitum (licitum) est etc. The participles libēns and licēns are used as adjectives.

d. The passive of intransitive verbs is very often used impersonally (see synopsis in § 207 ):—

ventum est, they came (there was coming).

pūgnātur, there is fighting (it is fought).

ītur, some one goes (it is gone).

parcitur mihi, I am spared (it is spared to me, see § 372).

Note— The impersonal use of the passive proceeds from its original reflexive (or middle) meaning, the action being regarded as accomplishing itself (compare the French cela se fait).

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