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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

AGREEMENT OF ADJECTIVES/ Rules of Agreement

287. One adjective may belong in sense to two or more nouns of different genders. In such cases,—

  1. An Attributive Adjective agrees with the nearest noun:—

    multae operae ac labōris, of much trouble and toil.

    vīta mōrēsque meī, my life and character.

    sī rēs, sī vi, sī tempus ūllum dīgnum fuit (Mil. 19), if any thing, if any man , if any time was fit.

  2. A Predicate Adjective may agree with the nearest noun, if the Nouns form one connected idea:—

    factus est strepitus et admurmurātiō; (Verr. 1.45), a noise of assent was made (noise and murmur).

    Note This is only when the copula agrees with the nearest subject (§ 317 . c).

  3. But generally, a Predicate Adjective will be masculine, if nouns of different genders mean living beings; neuter, if things without life:

      uxor deinde ac līberī amplexī (Liv. 2.40), then his wife and children embraced him.

      labor (M.) voluptās que (F.) societāte quādam inter sē nātūrālī sunt iūncta (N.) (id. 5.4), labor and delight are bound together by a certain natural alliance.

  4. If nouns of different genders include both living beings and things without life, a Predicate Adjective is sometimes masculine (or feminine), sometimes neuter, and sometimes agrees in gender with the nearest if that is plural:—

      rēx rēgiaque classis ūnā profectī (Liv. 21.50), the king and the royal fleet set out together.

      nātūrā inimīca sunt lībera cīvitās et rēx (id. 44.24), by nature a free state and a king are hostile.

      lēgātōs sortēsque ōrāculī exspectandās (id. 5.15), that the ambassadors and the replies of the oracle should be waited for.

a. Two or more abstract nouns of the same gender may have a Predicate Adjective in the neuter plural (cf. § 289 . c):—

stultitia et temeritās et iniūstitia ... sunt fugienda (Fin. 3.39), folly, rashness, and injustice are [things] to be shunned.

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