edited by Meagan Ayer et al.

Uses of Prepositions

Book Nav
main

220. Prepositions are regularly used either with the accusative or with the ablative.

a. The following prepositions are used with the accusative.

ad  to circiter  about intrā  inside
adversus  against cis, citrā  this side iūxtā  near
adversum  towards contrā  against ob  on account of
ante  before ergā  towards penes  in the power of
apud  at, near extrā  outside per  through
circā  around īnfrā  below pōne  behind
circum  around inter  among post  after
praeter  beyond secundum  next to ultrā  on the further side
prope  near suprā  above versus  towards
propter  on account of trāns  across

b. The following prepositions are used with the ablative.1

ā, ăb, abs  away from, by ē, ex  out of
absque  without, but for prae  in comparison with
cōram  in presence of prō  in front of, for
cum  with sine  without
  from tenus  up to, as far as

c. The following may be used with either the accusative or the ablative, but with a difference in meaning.

in  into, in sub  under
subter  beneath super  above

In and sub, when followed by the accusative, indicate motion to, when by the ablative, rest in, a place.

Vēnit in aedīs.
He came into the house.

Erat in aedibus.
He was in the house.

Disciplīna in Britanniā reperta atque inde in Galliam trānslāta esse exīstimātur.
The system is thought to have been discovered in Great Britain and thence brought over to Gaul.

Sub īlice cōnsederat.
He had seated himself under an ilex.

sub lēgēs mittere orbem
to subject the world to laws (to send the world under laws)

221. The uses of the prepositions are as follows.

  1. Ā, ab (away from,2 from, off from) with the ablative.

a. Of place.

Ab urbe profectus est.
He set out from the city.

b. Of time.

   (1) from

ab hōrā tertiā ad vesperam
from the third hour till evening

   (2) just after

ab eō magistrātū
after [holding] that office

c. Idiomatic uses.

Ā reliquīs differunt.
They differ from the others.

ā parvulīs
from early childhood

prope ab urbe
near (not far from) the city

līberāre ab
to set free from

occīsus ab hoste (periit ab hoste)
slain by an enemy

ab hāc parte
on this side

ab rē êius
to his advantage

ā rē pūblicā
for the interest of the state

  2. Ad (to, towards, at, near) with the accusative (cf. in into).

a. Of place.

Ad urbem vēnit.
He came to the city.

ad merīdiem
towards the south

ad exercitum
to the army

ad hostem
toward the enemy

ad urbem
near the city

b. Of time.

ad nōnam hōram
till the ninth hour

c. With persons.

Ad eum vēnit.
He came to him.

d. Idiomatic uses.

Ad supplicia dēscendunt
They resort to punishment.

Ad haec respondit.
To this he answered.

ad tempus
at the [fit] time

adīre ad rem pūblicam
to go into public life

ad petendam pācem
to seek peace

ad latera
on the flank

ad arma
to arms

ad hunc modum
in this way

quem ad modum
how, as

ad centum
nearly a hundred

ad hōc
besides

omnēs ad ūnum
all to a man

ad diem
on the day

  3. Ante (in front of, before) with the accusative (cf. post after).

a. Of place.

ante portam
in front of the gate

ante exercitum
in advance of the army

b. Of time.

ante bellum
before the war

c. Idiomatic uses.

ante urbem captam
before the city was taken

ante diem quīntum (a.d.v.) Kal.
the 5th day before the Kalends

ante quadriennium
four years before or four years ago

ante tempus
too soon
(before the time)

  4. Apud (at, by, among) with the accusative.

a. Of place (rare and archaic).

apud forum
at the forum (in the marketplace).

b. With reference to persons or communities.

apud Helvētiōs
among the Helvetians

apud populum
before the people

apud aliquem
at one's house

apud sē
at home or in his senses

apud Cicerōnem
in [the works of] Cicero

  5. Circā (about, around) with the accusative (cf. circum, circiter).

a. Of place.

templa circā forum
the temples about the forum

circā sē habet
he has with him (of persons)

b. Of time or number (in poetry and later writers).

circā eandem hōram
about the same hour

circā īdūs Octōbrīs
about the fifteenth of October

circā decem mīlia
about ten thousand

c. Figuratively [in later writers, about, in regard to] (cf. ).

circā quem pūgna est
with regard to whom, etc.

circā deōs neglegentior
rather neglectful of (i.e. in worshiping) the gods

  6. Circiter (about) with the accusative.

a. Of time or number.

circiter īdūs Novembrīs
about the 13th of November

circiter merīdiem
about noon

  7. Circum (about, around) with the accusative.

a. Of place.

circum haec loca
hereabout

circum Capuam
around Capua

circum illum
with him

lēgātiō circum īnsulās missa
an embassy sent to the islands round about

circum amīcōs
to his friends round about

  8. Contrā (opposite, against) with the accusative.

contrā Ītaliam
over against Italy

contrā haec
in answer to this

a. Often as adverb.

haec contrā
this in reply

contrā autem
but on the other hand

quod contrā
whereas, on the other hand

  9. Cum (with, together with) with the ablative.

a. Of place.

vāde mēcum
go with me

cum omnibus impedīmentīs
with all [their] baggage

b. Of time.

prīmā cum lūce
at early dawn
(with first light).

c. Idiomatic uses.

māgnō cum dolōre
with great sorrow

commūnicāre aliquid cum aliquō
share something with some one

cum malō suō
to his own hurt

cōnflīgere cum hoste
to fight with the enemy

esse cum tēlō
to go armed

cum silentiō
in silence

  10. (down from, from) with the ablative (cf. ab away from; ex out of).

a. Of place.

dē caelō dēmissus
sent down from heaven

dē nāvibus dēsilīre
to jump down from the ships

b. Figuratively, concerning, about, of.3

Cōgnōscit dē Clōdī caede.
He learns of the murder of Clodius.

cōnsilia dē bellō
plans of war

c. In a partitive sense (compare ex), out of, of.

ūnus dē plēbe
one of the people

d. Idiomatic uses.

multīs dē causīs
for many reasons

quā dē causā
for which reason

dē imprōvīsō
of a sudden

dē industriā
on purpose

dē integrō
anew

dē tertiā vigiliā
just at midnight
(starting at the third watch)

dē mēnse Decembrī nāvigāre
to sail as early as December

  11. Ex, ē [from (the midst), out of; opposed to in] with the ablative (cf. ab and ).

a. Of place.

Ex omnibus partibus silvae ēvolāvērunt.
They flew out from all parts of the forest.

ex Hispāniā
(a man) from Spain

b. Of time.

ex eō diē quīntus
the 5th day from that
(four days after)

ex hōc diē
from this day forth

c. Idiomatically or less exactly.

ex cōnsulātū
right after his consulship:

ex êius sententiā
according to his opinion

ex aequō
justly

ex imprōvīsō
unexpectedly

ex tuā rē
to your advantage

māgnā ex parte
in a great degree

ex equō pūgnāre
to fight on horseback

ex ūsū
expedient

ē regiōne
opposite

quaerere ex aliquō
to ask of some one

ex senātūs cōnsultō
according to the decree of the senate

ex fugā
in (their) flight

ūnus ē fīliīs
one of the sons

  12. In, with the accusative or the ablative.

    (1) With the accusative: into (opposed to ex).

a. Of place.

In Ītaliam contendit.
He hastens into Italy.

b. Of time: till, until.

in lūcem
till daylight

c. Idiomatically or less exactly.

in merīdiem
towards the south

amor in (ergā, adversus) patrem
love for his father

In āram cōnfūgit.
He fled to the altar.
(on the steps, or merely to)

in diēs
from day to day

in longitūdinem
lengthwise

in lātitūdinem patēbat
extended in width

in haec verba iūrāre
to swear to these words

hunc in modum
in this way

ōrātiō in Catilīnam
a speech against Catiline

in perpetuum
forever

in pêius
for the worse

in diem vīvere
to live hand-to-mouth (for the day)

    (2) With the ablative: in, on, among.

       In very various connections.

in castrīs
in the camp
(cf. ad castra to, at, or near the camp)

in marī
on the sea

in urbe esse
to be in town

in tempore
in season

in scrībendō
while writing

Est mihi in animō.
I have it in mind.
(I intend.)

in ancorīs
at anchor

in hōc homine
in the case of this man

in dubiō esse
to be in doubt

  13. Īnfrā (below) with the accusative.

a. Of place.

ad mare īnfrā oppidum
by the sea below the town

īnfrā caelum
under the sky

b. Figuratively or less exactly.

īnfrā Homērum
later than Homer

īnfrā trēs pedēs
less than three feet

īnfrā elephantōs
smaller than elephants

īnfrā īnfimōs omnīs
the lowest of the low

  14. Inter (between, among) with the accusative.

inter mē et Scīpiōnem
between myself and Scipio

inter ōs et offam
between the cup and the lip
(the mouth and the morsel)

inter hostium tēla
amid the weapons of the enemy

inter omnīs prīmus
first of all

inter bibendum
while drinking

inter sē loquuntur
they talk together

  15. Ob (towards, on account of) with the accusative.

a. Literally:

  (1) of motion (archaic).

ob Rōmam
towards Rome (Ennius)

ob viam
to the road
(preserved as adverb, in the way of)

  (2) Of place in which, before, in a few phrases.

ob oculōs
before the eyes

b. Figuratively, in return for (mostly archaic, probably a word of account, balancing one thing against another).

ob mulierem
in pay for the woman

ob rem
for gain

Hence applied to reason, cause, and the like, on account of (a similar mercantile idea), for.

ob eam causam
for that reason

quam ob rem (quamobrem)
wherefore, why

16. Per (through, over) with the accusative.

a. Of motion.

per urbem īre
to go through the city

per mūrōs
over the walls

b. Of time.

per hiemem
throughout the winter

c. Figuratively, of persons as means or instruments.

per hominēs idoneōs
through the instrumentality of suitable persons

licet per mē
you (etc.) may for all me

Hence, stat per mē (it is through my instrumentality) and per sē (in and of itself).

d. Weakened, in many adverbial expressions.

per iocum
in jest

per speciem
in show, ostentatiously

  17. Prae (in front of) with the ablative.

a. Literally, of place (in a few connections).

prae sē portāre
to carry in one's arms

prae sē ferre
to carry before one;
exhibit or proclaim ostentatiously (figuratively)
make known

b. Figuratively, of hindrance, as by an obstacle in front (compare English for).

Prae gaudiō conticuit.
He was silent for joy.

c. Of comparison.

prae māgnitūdine corporum suōrum
in comparison with their own great size

  18. Praeter (along by, by) with the accusative.

a. Literally.

praeter castra
by the camp
(along by, in front of)

praeter oculōs
before the eyes

b. Figuratively, beyond, besides, more than, in addition to, except.

praeter spem
beyond hope

praeter aliōs
more than others

praeter paucōs
with the exception of a few

  19. Prō (in front of) with the ablative.

sedēns prō aede Castoris
sitting in front of the temple of Castor

prō populō
in presence of the people

So prō rōstrīs [on (the front of) the rostra] and prō contiōne [before the assembly (in a speech)].

a. In various idiomatic uses.

prō lēge
in defence of the law

prō vitulā
instead of a heifer

prō centum mīlibus
as good as a hundred thousand

prō ratā parte
in due proportion

prō hāc vice
for this once

prō cōnsule
in place of consul

prō vīribus
considering his strength

prō virīlī parte
to the best of one's ability

prō tuā prūdentiā
in accordance with your wisdom

  20. Propter (near, by) with the accusative.

Propter tē sedet.
He sits next you.

       Hence, on account of (cf. all along of).

propter metum
through fear

  21. Secundum4 (just behind, following) with the accusative.

a. Literally.

Ite secundum mē (Plaut.)
Go behind me.

secundum lītus
near the shore

secundum flūmen
along the stream
(cf. secundō flūmine  down stream).

b. Figuratively, according to.

secundum nātūram
according to nature

  22. Sub (under, up to) with the accusative or the ablative.

     (1) Of motion, with the accusative.

sub montem succēdere
to come close to the hill

a. Idiomatically.

sub noctem
towards night

sub lūcem
near daylight

sub haec dicta
at (following) these words

    (2) Of rest, with the ablative.

sub Iove
in the open air
(under the heaven, personified as Jove)

sub monte
at the foot of the hill

a. Idiomatically.

sub eōdem tempore
about the same time (just after it)

  23. Subter (under, below) with the accusative (sometimes, in poetry, the Ablative).

subter togam (Liv.)
under his mantle 

BUT
subter lītore (Catull.)
below the shore

  24. Super,5 with the accusative or the ablative.

    (1) With the accusative, above, over, on, beyond, upon.

a. Of place.

super vāllum praecipitārī (Iug. 58)
to be hurled over the rampart

Super laterēs coria indūcuntur. (B.C. 2.10)
Hides are drawn over the bricks.

super terrae tumulum statuī (Legg. 2.65)
to be placed on the mound of earth

super Numidiam (Iug. 19)
beyond Numidia

b. Idiomatically or less exactly.

vulnus super vulnus
wound upon wound

super vīnum (Q. C. 8.4)
over his wine

    (2) With the ablative, concerning, about (the only use with this case in prose).

hāc super rē
concerning this thing

super tālī rē
about such an affair

itterās super tantā rē exspectāre
to wait for a letter in a matter of such importance

a. Poetically, in other senses.

līgna super focō largē repōnēns (Hor. Od. 1.9.5)
piling logs generously on the fire

nocte super mediā (Aen. 9.61)
after midnight

  25. Suprā (on top of, above) with the accusative.

suprā terram
on the surface of the earth

    So also figuratively.

suprā hanc memoriam
before our remembrance

suprā mōrem
more than usual

suprā quod
besides

  26. Tenus (postpositive, as far as, up to) regularly with the ablative, sometimes with the genitive (cf. § 359.b).

    (1) With the ablative.

Taurō tenus
as far as Taurus

capulō tenus
up to the hilt

    (2) With the genitive.

Cumārum tenus (Fam. 8.1.2)
as far as Cumae

    Note 1— Tenus is frequently connected with the feminine of an adjective pronoun, making an adverbial phrase.

hāctenus
hitherto

quātenus
so far as

dē hāc rē hāctenus
so much for that (about this matter so far).

    Note 2— Tenus was originally a neuter noun, meaning line or extent. In its use with the genitive (mostly poetical) it may be regarded as an adverbial accusative (§ 397.a).

  27. Trans (across, over, through, by) with the accusative.

a. Of motion.

Trāns mare currunt.
They run across the sea.

trāns flūmen ferre
to carry over a river

trāns aethera
through the sky

Trāns caput iace.
Throw over your head.

b. Of rest.

Trāns Rhēnum incolunt.
They live across the Rhine.

  28. Ultrā (beyond, on the further side) with the accusative.

cis Padum ultrāque
on this side of the Po and beyond

ultrā eum numerum
more than that number

ultrā fidem
incredible

ultrã modum
immoderate

    Note— Some adverbs, such as intus and īnsuper, appear as prepositions (see § 219).

    For prepositions in compounds, see § 267.

 

Footnotes

1. For palam etc., see § 432.

2. Ab signifies direction from the object, but often towards the speaker; compare (down from), and ex (out of).

3. Of originally meant from (cf. off ).

4. Old participle of sequor.

5.Comparative of sub.

extras

The Prepositional Phrase in Latin

AG142.jpg
AG143.jpg
AG144.jpg
AG145.jpg
AG146.jpg
AG147.jpg
AG148.jpg