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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Informal Indirect Discourse

592. A Subordinate Clause takes the Subjunctive when it expresses the thought of some other person than the writer or speaker:—

  1. When the clause depends upon another containing a wish, a command, or a question, expressed indirectly, though not strictly in the form of Indirect Discourse:—

    animal sentit quid sit quod deceat (Off. 1.14), an animal feels what it is that is fit.

    huic imperat quās possit adeat cīvitātēs (B. G. 4.21), he orders him to visit what states he can.

    hunc sibi ex animō scrūpulum, quī sē diēs noctīsque stimulat ac pungit, ut ēvellātis postulat (Rosc. Am. 6), he begs you to pluck from his heart this doubt that goads and stings him day and night. [Here the relative clause is not a part of the Purpose expressed in ēvellātis, but is an assertion made by the subject of postulat.]

  2. When the main clause of a quotation is merged in the verb of saying, or some modifier of it:—

    sī quid dē hīs rēbus dīcere vellet, fēcī potestātem (Cat. 3.11), if he wished to say anything about these matters, I gave him a chance.

    tulit dē caede quae in Appiā viā facta esset (Mil. 15), he passed a law concerning the murder which (in the language of the bill) took place in the Appian Way.

    nisi restituissent statuās, vehementer minātur (Verr. 2.162), he threatens them violently unless they should restore the statues. [Here the main clause, “that he will inflict punishment,” is contained in minātur.]

    iīs auxilium suum pollicitus sī ab Suēbīs premerentur (B. G. 4.19), he promised them his aid if they should be molested by the Suevi. [= pollicitus sē auxilium lātūrum, etc.]

    prohibitiō tollendī, nisi pactus esset, vim adhibēbat pactiōnī (Verr. 3.37), the forbidding to take away unless he came to terms gave force to the bargain.

  3. When a reason or an explanatory fact is introduced by a relative or by quod (rarely quia) (see § 540):—

    Paetus omnīs librōs quōs frāter suus relīquisset mihi dōnāvit (Att. 2.1.12), Pœtus presented to me all the books which (he said) his brother had left.

    Note— Under this head even what the speaker himself thought under other circumstances may have the Subjunctive. So also with quod even the verb of saying may be in the Subjunctive (§ 540. N.2). Here belong also nōn quia, nōn quod, introducing a reason expressly to deny it. (See § 540. N.3.)

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