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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Present with iam diū etc.

466. The Present with expressions of duration of time (especially iam diū, iam dūdum) denotes an action continuing in the present, but begun in the past (cf. § 471. b).

In this use the present is commonly to be rendered by the perfect in English:—

    iam diū īgnōrō quid agās (Fam. 7.9), for a long time I have not known what you were doing.

    tē iam dūdum hortor (Cat. 1.12), I have long been urging you.

    patimur multōs iam annōs (Verr. 5.126), we suffer now these many years. [The Latin perfect would imply that we no longer suffer.]

    annī sunt octō cum ista causa versātur (cf. Clu. 82), it is now eight years that this case has been in hand.

    annum iam audīs Cratippum (Off. 1.1), for a year you have been a hearer of Cratippus.

    adhūc Plancius mē retinet (Fam. 14.1.3), so far Plancius has kept me here.

Note 1— The difference in the two idioms is that the English states the beginning and leaves the continuance to be inferred, while the Latin states the continuance and leaves the beginning to be inferred. Compare he has long suffered (and still suffers) with he still suffers (and has suffered long).

Note 2— Similarly the Present Imperative with iam dūdum indicates that the action commanded ought to have been done or was wished for long ago (cf. the Perfect Imperative in Greek): as, —iam dūdum sūmite poenās (Aen. 2.103), exact the penalty long delayed.


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