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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Forms of Interrogation

332. A question of simple fact, requiring the answer yes or no, is formed by adding the enclitic -ne to the emphatic word:—

tūne id veritus es (Q. Fr. 1.3.1), did you fear that?

hīcine vir usquam nisi in patriā moriētur (Mil. 104), shall this man die anywhere but in his native land?

is tibi mortemne vidētur aut dolōrem timēre (Tusc. 5.88), does he seem to you to fear death or pain?

a. The interrogative particle -ne is sometimes omitted:—

patēre tua cōnsilia nōn sentīs (Cat. 1.1), do you not see that your schemes are manifest? (you do not see, eh?)

Note— In such cases, as no sign of interrogation appears, it is often doubtful whether the sentence is a question or an ironical statement.

b. When the enclitic -ne is added to a negative word, as in nōnne, an affirmative answer is expected. The particle num suggests a negative answer:—

nōnne animadvertis (N. D. 3.89), do you not observe?

num dubium est (Rosc. Am. 107) there is no doubt, is there?

Note— In Indirect Questions num commonly loses its peculiar force and means simply whether.

c. The particle -ne often when added to the verb, less commonly when added to some other word, has the force of nōnne :—

meministīne mē in senātū dīcere (Cat. 1.7), don't you remember my saying in the Senate?

rēctēne interpretor sententiam tuam (Tusc. 3.37), do I not rightly interpret your meaning?

Note 1— This was evidently the original meaning of -ne; but in most cases the negative force was lost and -ne was used merely to express a question. So the English interrogative no? shades off into eh?

Note 2— The enclitic -ne is sometimes added to other interrogative words: as, utrumne, whether? anne, or; quantane (Hor. S. 2.3.317), how big? quōne malō (id. 2.3.295), by what curse?

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