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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Adjectives used Substantively

289. Neuter Adjectives are used substantively in the following special senses:—

a. The neuter singular may denote either a single object or an abstract quality:—

raptō vīvere, to live by plunder.

in āridō, on dry ground.

honestum, an honorable act, or virtue (as a quality).

opus est mātūrātō, there is need of haste.

[Cf. impersonal passives § 208. d]

b. The neuter plural is used to signify objects in general having the quality denoted, and hence may stand for the abstract idea:—

honesta, honorable deeds (in general).

praeterita, the past (lit., bygones).

omnēs fortia laudant, all men praise bravery (brave things)

c. A neuter adjective may be used as an appositive or predicate noun with a noun of different gender (cf. § 287 . a ):—

trīste lupus stabulīs (Ecl. 3.80), the wolf [is] a grievous thing for the fold.

varium et mūtābile semper fēmina (Aen. 4.569), woman is ever a changing and fickle thing.

malum mihi vidētur esse mors (Tusc. 1.9), death seems to me to be an evil.

d. A neuter adjective may be used as an attributive or a predicate adjective with an infinitive or a substantive clause:—

istuc ipsum nōn esse(Tusc. 1.12), that very “not to be.”

hūmānum est errāre, to err is human.

aliud est errāre Caesarem nōlle, aliud nōlle miserērī; ( Lig. 16 ), it is one thing to be unwilling that Cæsar should err, another to be unwilling that he should pity.

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