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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Infinitive of Purpose

460. In a few cases the Infinitive retains its original meaning of Purpose.

a. The infinitive is used in isolated passages instead of a subjunctive clause after habeō, , ministrō:—

    tantum habeō pollicērī (Fam. 1.5 A. 3), so much I have to promise. [Here the more formal construction would be quod pollicear.]

    ut Iovī bibere ministrāret (Tusc. 1.65), to serve Jove with wine (to drink).

    merīdiē bibere datō (Cato R. R. 89), give (to) drink at noonday.

b.Parātus, suētus, and their compounds, and a few other participles (used as adjectives), take the infinitive like the verbs from which they come:—

    id quod parātī sunt facere (Quint. 8), that which they are ready to do.

    adsuēfactī superārī (B. G. 6.24), used to being conquered.

    currū succēdere suētī (Aen. 3.541), used to being harnessed to the chariot

    cōpiās bellāre cōnsuētās (B. Afr. 73), forces accustomed to fighting.

Note— In prose these words more commonly take the Gerund or Gerundive construction (§ 503 ff.) either in the genitive, the dative, or the accusative with ad:—

    īnsuētus nāvigandī (B. G. 5.6), unused to making voyages.

    alendīs līberīs suēti (Tac. Ann. 14.27), accustomed to supporting children.

    corpora īnsuēta ad onera portanda (B. C. 1.78), bodies unused to carry burdens.

c. The poets and early writers often use the infinitive to express purpose when there is no analogy with any prose construction:—

    fīlius intrō iit vidēre quid agat (Ter. Hec. 345), your son has gone in to see what he is doing. [In prose: the supine vīsum.]

    nōn ferrō Libycōs populāre Penātīs vēnimus (Aen. 1.527), we have not come to lay waste with the sword the Libyan homes.

    lōrīcam dōnat habēre virō (id. 5.262), he gives the hero a breastplate to wear. [In prose: habendam.]

Note— So rarely in prose writers of the classic period.

For the Infinitive used instead of a Substantive Clause of Purpose, see § 457.

For tempus est abīre, see § 504. N. 2.


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