edited by Meagan Ayer et al.

The Accusative

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386. The accusative originally served to connect the noun more or less loosely with the verb idea, whether expressed by a verb proper or by a verbal noun or adjective. Its earliest use was perhaps to repeat the verb idea as in the Cognate Accusative (run a race, fight a battle, see § 390). From this it would be a short step to the Factitive Accusative (denoting the result of an act, as in make a table, drill a hole, cf. § 273, Note 1). From this last could easily come the common accusative (of affecting, break a table, plug a hole, see § 387.a). Traces of all these uses appear in the language, and the loose connection of noun with verbidea is seen in the use of stems in composition (cf. § 265.3).1 It is impossible, however, to derive the various constructions of the accusative with certainty from any single function of that case.

The uses of the accusative may be classified as follows.

I. Primary Object: 1. Directly affected by the Action (§ 387.a)
2. Effect of the Action Thing produced (§ 387.a)
Cognate Accusative (§ 390)
II. Two Accusatives: 1. Predicate Accusative (Of Naming etc.) (§ 393)
2. Of Asking or Teaching (§ 396)
3. Of Concealing (§ 396.c)
III. Idiomatic Uses: 1. Adverbial (§ 397.a).
2. Of Specification (Greek Accusative) (§ 397.b)
3. Of Extent and Duration (§ 423, § 425)
4. Of Exclamation (§ 397.d)
5. Subject of Infinitive (§ 397.e)



1. Compare armiger (armor-bearer) with arma gerere (to bear arms); fidicen (lyre-player) with fidibus canere [to (play on) sing to the lyre]. Compare also istanc tāctiō (Plaut.) [the (act of) touching her] with istanc tangere (to touch her) (§ 388.d, Note 2).
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Suggested Citation

Meagan Ayer, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7. http://dcc.dickinson.edu/grammar/latin/accusative