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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar


465. The Present Tense denotes an action or state (1) as now taking place or existing, and so (2) as incomplete in present time, or (3) as indefinite, referring to no particular time, but denoting a general truth:—

    senātus haec intellegit, cōnsul videt, hīc tamen vīvit (Cat. 1.2), the senate knows this, the consul sees it, yet this man lives.

    tibi concēdō meās sēdīs (Div. 1.104), I give you my seat (an offer which may or may not be accepted).

    exspectō quid velīs (Ter. And. 34), I await your pleasure (what you wish).

    tū āctiōnem īnstituis, ille aciem īnstruit (Mur. 22), you arrange a case, he arrays an army. [The present is here used of regular employment.]

    minōra dī neglegunt (N. D. 3.86), the gods disregard trifles. [General truth.]

    obsequium amīcōs, vēritās odium parit (Ter. And. 68), flattery gains friends, truth hatred. [General truth.]

Note— The present of a general truth is sometimes called the Gnomic Present.

a. The present is regularly used in quoting writers whose works are extant:—

    Epicūrus vērō ea dīcit (Tusc. 2.17), but Epicurus says such things.

    apud illum Ulixēs lāmentātur in volnere (id. 2.49), in him (Sophocles) Ulysses laments over his wound.

    Polyphēmum Homērus cum ariete colloquentem facit (id. 5.115), Homer brings in (makes) Polyphemus talking with his ram.


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