edited by Meagan Ayer et al.
Uses of Conjunctions
323. Copulative and disjunctive conjunctions connect similar constructions, and are regularly followed by the same case or mood that precedes them.
scrīptum senātuī et populō (Cat. 3.10)
written to the senate and people
ut eās [partīs] sānārēs et cōnfīrmārēs (Mil. 68)
that you might cure and strengthen those parts
neque meā prūdentiā neque hūmānīs cōnsiliīs frētus (Cat. 2.29)
relying neither on my own foresight nor on human wisdom
a. Conjunctions of Comparison (as ut, quam, tamquam, quasi) also commonly connect similar constructions.
Hīs igitur quam physicīs potius crēdendum exīstimās? (Div. 2.37)
Do you think these are more to be trusted than the natural philosophers?
Hominem callidiōrem vīdī nēminem quam Phormiōnem. (Ter. Ph. 591)
A shrewder man I never saw than Phormio. (cf. § 407)
Ut nōn omne vīnum sīc nōn omnis nātūra vetustāte coacēscit. (Cat. M. 65)
As every wine does not sour with age, so not every nature [does].
in mē quasi in tyrannum (Phil. 14.15)
against me as against a tyrant
b. Two or more coordinate words, phrases, or sentences are often put together without the use of conjunctions (Asyndeton, § 601.c).
omnēs dī, hominēs
all gods and men
summī, mediī, īnfimī
the highest, the middle class, and the lowest
Iūra, lēgēs, agrōs, lībertātem nōbīs relīquērunt. (B. G. 7.77)
They have left us our rights, our laws, our fields, our liberty.
c. 1. Where there are more than two coordinate words etc., a conjunction, if used, is ordinarily used with all (or all except the first).
aut aere aliēnō aut māgnitūdine tribūtōrum aut iniūriā potentiōrum (B. G. 6.13)
by debt, excessive taxation, or oppression on the part of the powerful
At sunt mōrōsī et anxiī et īrācundī et difficilēs senēs. (Cat. M. 65)
But, (you say) old men are capricious, solicitous, choleric, and fussy.
2. But words are often so divided into groups that the members of the groups omit the conjunction (or express it), while the groups themselves express the conjunction (or omit it).
propudium illud et portentum, L. Antōnius īnsīgne odium omnium hominum (Phil. 14.8)
that wretch and monster, Lucius Antonius, the abomination of all men
Utrumque ēgit gravite, auctōritāte et offēnsiōne animī nōn acerbā. (Lael. 77)
He acted in both cases with dignity, without loss of authority and with no bitterness of feeling.
3. The enclitic -que is sometimes used with the last member of a series, even when there is no grouping apparent.
vōce voltū mōtūque (Brut. 110)
by voice, expression, and gesture
cūram cōnsilium vigilantiamque (Phil. 7.20)
care, wisdom, and vigilance.
quōrum auctōritātem dīgnitātem voluntātemque dēfenderās (Fam. 1.7.2)
whose dignity, honor, and wishes you had defended
d. Two adjectives belonging to the same noun are regularly connected by a conjunction.
multae et gravēs causae
many weighty reasons
vir līber aç fortis (Rep. 2.34)
a free and brave man
e. Often the same conjunction is repeated in two coordinate clauses.
et . . . et (-que . . . -que)
both . . . and
aut . . . aut
either . . . or
vel . . . vel
either . . . or
[Examples in § 324.e, below.]
sīve (seu) . . . sīve (seu)
whether . . . or
[Examples in § 324.f, below.]
f. Many adverbs are similarly used in pairs, as conjunctions, partly or wholly losing their adverbial force.
nunc . . . nunc
tum . . . tum
iam . . . iam
now . . . now
modo . . . modo
now . . . now
simul . . . simul
at the same time . . . at the same time
quā . . . quā
now . . . now
both . . . and
[this] and [that] alike
Modo ait modo negat. (Ter. Eun. 714)
Now he says yes, now no.
Simul grātiās agit, simul grātulātur. (Q. C. 6.7.15)
He thanks him and at the same time congratulates him.
Ērumpunt saepe vitia amīcōrum tum in ipsōs amīcōs tum in aliēnōs. (Lael. 76)
The faults of friends sometimes break out, now against their friends themselves, now against strangers.
quā marīs quā fēminās (Pl. Mil. 1113)
both males and females
g. Certain relative and demonstrative adverbs are used correlatively as conjunctions.
ut [rel.] . . . ita, sīc [dem.]
as (while) . . . so (yet).
tam [dem.] . . . quam [rel.]
so (as) . . . as
cum [rel.] . . . tum (dem)
while . . . so also
not only . . . but also
324. The following conjunctions require notice.
a. Et (and) simply connects words or clauses; -que combines more closely into one connected whole. -que is always enclitic to the word connected or to the first or second of two or more words connected.
cum coniugibus et līberīs
with [their] wives and children
with fire and sword
[Not as separate things, but as the combined means of devastation.]
aquā et īgnī interdictus
forbidden the use of water and fire
[In a legal formula, where they are considered separately.]
b. Atque [(ac) and] adds with some emphasis or with some implied reflection on the word added. Hence it is often equivalent to and so, and yet, and besides, and then. But these distinctions depend very much upon the feeling of the speaker, and are often untranslatable.
omnia honesta atque inhonesta
everything honorable and dishonorable
(too, without the slightest distinction)
ūsus atque disciplīna
practice and theory beside
(the more important or less expected)
atque ego crēdō
and yet I believe (for my part)
c. Atque (ac), in the sense of as, than, is also used after words of comparison and likeness.
as soon as
nōn secus (nōn aliter) ac sī
not otherwise than if
prō eō ac dēbuī
as was my duty
(in accordance as I ought)
aequē ac tū
as much as you
Haud minus ac iussī faciunt.
They do just as they are ordered.
d. Sed and the more emphatic vērum or vērō (but) are used to introduce something in opposition to what precedes, especially after negatives (not this ... but something else). At (old form ast ) introduces with emphasis a new point in an argument, but is also used like the others; sometimes it means at least. At enim is almost always used to introduce a supposed objection which is presently to be overthrown. At is more rarely used alone in this sense.
Autem (however, now) is the weakest of the adversatives, and often marks a mere transition and has hardly any adversative force perceptible. Atquī (however, now) sometimes introduces an objection and sometimes a fresh step in the reasoning. Quod sī (but if, and if, now if) is used to continue an argument.
Note— Et, -que, and atque (ac) are sometimes used where the English idiom would suggest but, especially when a negative clause is followed by an affirmative clause continuing the same thought.
Impetum hostēs ferre nōn potuērunt ac terga vertērunt (B. G. 4.35)
The enemy could not stand the onset, but turned their backs.
e. Aut (or) excludes the alternative; vel (an old imperative of volō) and -ve give a choice between two alternatives. But this distinction is not always observed.
Sed quis ego sumaut quae est in mē facultās (Lael. 17)
But who am I or what special capacity have I?
[Here vel could not be used, because in fact a negative is implied and both alternatives are excluded.]
Aut bibat aut abeat. (Tusc. 5.118)
Let him drink or (if he won't do that, then let him) quit.
[Here vel would mean, let him do either as he chooses.]
Vīta tālis fuit vel fortūnā vel glōriā. (Lael. 12)
His life was such either in respect to fortune or fame.
(whichever way you look at it)
sī propinquōs habeant imbēcilliōrēs vel animō vel fortūnā (id. 70)
if they have relatives beneath them either in spirit or in fortune
(in either respect, for example, or in both)
aut deōrum aut rēgum fīliī (id. 70)
sons either of gods or of kings
[Here one case would exclude the other.]
implicātī vel ūsū diūturnō vel etiam officiīs (id. 85)
entangled either by close intimacy or even by obligations
[Here the second case might exclude the first.]
f. Sīve (seu) is properly used in disjunctive conditions (if either ... or if), but also with alternative words and clauses, especially with two names for the same thing.
sīve inrīdēns sīve quod ita putāret (De Or. 1.91)
either laughingly or because he really thought so
sīve deae seu sint volucrēs (Aen. 3.262)
whether they (the Harpies) are goddesses or birds
g. Vel (even, for instance) is often used as an intensive particle with no alternative force.
the very least
h. Nam and namque (for) usually introduce a real reason, formally expressed, for a previous statement; enim (always postpositive), a less important explanatory circumstance put in by the way; etenim (for, you see; for, you know; for, mind you) and its negative neque enim introduce something self-evident or needing no proof.
(ea vīta) quae est sōla vīta nōminanda. Nam dum sumus inclūsī in hīs compāgibus corporis, mūnere quōdam necessitātis et gravī opere perfungimur; est enim animus caelestis, etc. (Cat. M. 77)
(that life) which alone deserves to be called life. For so long as we are confined by the body's frame, we perform a sort of necessary function and heavy task; for the soul is from heaven.
Hārum trium sententiārum nūllī prōrsus adsentior. nec enim illa prīma vēra est. (Lael. 57)
I do not agree with any of these three opinions. For of course that first one isn't true.
i. Ergō (therefore) is used of things proved formally, but often has a weakened force. Igitur (then, accordingly) is weaker than ergō and is used in passing from one stage of an argument to another. Itaque (therefore, accordingly, and so) is used in proofs or inferences from the nature of things rather than in formal logical proof. All of these are often used merely to resume a train of thought broken by a digression or parenthesis. Idcircō (for this reason, on this account) is regularly followed (or preceded) by a correlative (as, quia, quod, sī, ut, nē), and refers to the special point introduced by the correlative.
Malum mihi vidētur esse mors. Est miserum igitur, quoniam malum. Certē. Ergō et eī quibus ēvēnit iam ut morerentur et eī quibus ēventūrum est miserī. Mihi ita vidētur. Nēmō ergō nōn miser. (Tusc. 1.9.)
Death seems to me to be an evil. ‘It is wretched, then, since it is an evil.’ Certainly. ‘Therefore, all those who have already died and who are to die hereafter are wretched.’ So it appears to me. ‘There is no one, therefore, who is not wretched.’
Quia nātūra mūtārī nōn potest, idcircō vērae amīcitiae sempiternae sunt. (Lael. 32)
Because nature cannot be changed, for this reason true friendships are eternal.
j. Autem, enim, and vērō are postpositive;1 also, generally, igitur and often tamen.
k. Two conjunctions of similar meaning are often used together for the sake of emphasis or to bind a sentence more closely to what precedes.
but in truth
for of course
(§ 324.h, above).
For Conjunctions introducing Subordinate Clauses, see Syntax.