Dum, Dōnec, and Quoad

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552. As an adverb meaning for a time, awhile, dum is found in old Latin, chiefly as an enclitic (cf. vixdum, nōndum). Its use as a conjunction comes either through correlation (cf. cum . . . tum, sī . . . sīc) or through substitution for a conjunction, as in the English the moment I saw it, I understood. Quoad is a compound of the relative quō (up to which point) with ad. The origin and early history of dōnec are unknown.

553. Dum and quoad (until) take the present or imperfect subjunctive in temporal clauses implying intention or expectancy.

Exspectās fortasse dum dīcat. (Tusc. 2.17)
You are waiting perhaps for him to say.
[until he says; dum is especially common after exspectō.]

Dum reliquae nāvēs convenīrent, ad hōram nōnam exspectāvit. (B. G. 4.23)
He waited till the ninth hour for the rest of the ships to join him.

Comitia dīlāta [sunt] dum lēx ferrētur. (Att. 4.17.3)
The election was postponed until a law should be passed.

An id exspectāmus, quoad nē vestīgium quidem Asiae cīvitātum atque urbium relinquātur? (Phil. 11.25)
Shall we wait for this until not a trace is left of the states and cities of Asia?

Epamīnōndās exercēbātur plūrimum luctandō ad eum fīnem quoad stāns complectī possetatque contendere. (Nep. Epam. 2)
Epaminondas trained himself in wrestling so far as to be able (until he should be able) to grapple standing and fight (in that way).

Note 1— Dōnec is similarly used in poetry and later Latin.

et dūxit longē dōnec curvāta coīrent inter sē capita (Aen. 11.860)
and drew it (the bow) until the curved tips touched each other

Note 2— Dum (until) may be used with the present or future perfect indicative to state a future fact when there is no idea of intention or expectancy; but this construction is rare in classic prose. The future is also found in early Latin. Dōnec (until) is similarly used, in poetry and early Latin, with the present and future perfect indicative, rarely with the future.

Ego in Arcānō opperior dum ista cōgnōscō. (Att. 10.3)
I am waiting in the villa at Arcæ until I find this out.
[This is really dum while.]

Mihi ūsque cūrae erit quid agās, dum quid ēgeris scierō. (Fam. 12.19.3)
I shall always feel anxious as to what you are doing, until I actually know what you have done.
(shall have known)

Dēlicta mâiōrum luēs dōnec templa refēceris. (Hor. Od. 3.6.1)
You shall suffer for the sins of your ancestors until you rebuild the temples.

Ter centum rēgnābitur annōs, dōnec geminam partū dabitĪlia prōlem. (Aen. 1.272)
Sway shall be held for thrice a hundred years, until Ilia shall give birth to twin offspring.

554. Dōnec and quoad (until) with the perfect indicative denote an actual fact in past time.

Dōnec rediitsilentium fuit. (Liv. 23.31.9)
There was silence until he returned.

Ūsque eō timuī dōnec ad rêiciendōs iūdicēs vēnimus. (Verr. 2.1.17)
I was anxious until the moment when we came to challenge the jurors.

Rōmae fuērunt quoad L. Metellus in prōvinciam profectus est. (id. 2.62)
They remained at Rome until Lucius Metellus set out for the province.

Note— Dum (until) with the perfect indicative is rare.

Mānsit in condiciōne ūsque ad eum fīnem dum iūdicēs rêiectī sunt. (Verr. 1.16)
He remained true to the agreement until the jurors were challenged.

555. Dum, dōnec, and quoad (as long as) take the indicative.

Dum anima est, spēs esse dīcitur. (Att. 9.10.3)
As long as there is life, there is said to be hope.

Dum praesidia ūlla fuērunt, in Sullae praesidiīs fuit. (Rosc. Am. 126)
So long as there were any garrisons, he was in the garrisons of Sulla.

Dum longius ā mūnītiōne aberant Gallī, plūs multitūdine tēlōrum prōficiēbant. (B. G. 7.82)
So long as the Gauls were at a distance from the fortifications, they had the advantage because of their missiles.

Dōnec grātus eramtibī, Persārum viguī rēge beātior. (Hor. Od. 3.9.1)
As long as I enjoyed thy favor, I flourished happier than the king of the Persians.

Quoad potuitfortissimē restitit (B. G. 4.12)
He resisted bravely as long as he could.

Note 1— Dōnec in this use is confined to poetry and later writers.

Note 2— Quam diū (as long as) takes the Indicative only.

sē oppidō tam diū tenuit quam diūin prōvinciā Parthī fuērunt (Fam. 12.19.2)
He kept himself within the town as long as the Parthians were in the province.

556. Dum (while) regularly takes the present indicative to denote continued action in past time. In translating, the English imperfect must generally be used.

Dum haec geruntur, Caesarī nūntiātum est. (B. G. 1.46)
While this was going on, a message was brought to Cæsar.

Haec dum aguntur, intereā Cleomenēs iam ad Elōrī lītus pervēnerat. (Verr. 5.91)
While this was going on, Cleomenes meanwhile had come down to the coast at Elorum.

Hōc dum nārrat, forte audīvī. (Ter. Haut. 272)
I happened to hear this while she was telling it.

Note— This construction is a special use of the historical present (§ 469).

a. A past tense with dum (usually so long as) makes the time emphatic by contrast; but a few irregular cases of dum with a past tense occur where no contrast is intended.

Nec enim dum eramvōbīscum, animum meum vidēbātis. (Cat. M. 79)
For while I was with you, you could not see my soul.
[Here the time when he was alive is contrasted with that after his death.]

Coörta est pūgna, pār dum cōnstābant ōrdinēs. (Liv. 22.47)
A conflict began, well matched as long as the ranks stood firm.


Dum oculōs hostium certāmen āverterat. (id. 32.24)
While the struggle kept the eyes of the enemy turned away.

Dum ūnum adscendere gradum cōnātus est, vēnit in perīculum. (Mur. 55)
While he attempted to climb one step [in rank] he fell into danger.

Note— In later writers, dum sometimes takes the subjunctive when the classical usage would require the indicative, and dōnec (until) is freely used in this manner (especially by Tacitus).

dum ea in Samniō gererentur, in Etruriā interim bellum ingēns concītur (Liv. 10.18)
While this was being done in Samnium, meanwhile a great war was stirred up in Etruria.

Illa quidem dum tē fugeret, hydrum nōn vīdit. (Georg. 4.457)
While she was fleeing from you she did not see the serpent.

Dum per vīcōs dēportārētur, condormiēbat. (Suet. Aug. 78)
While he was being carried through the streets he used to fall dead asleep.

Rhēnus servat nōmen et violentiam cursūs (quā Germāniam praevehitur) dōnec Ōceanō misceātur (Tac. Ann. 2.6)
The Rhine keeps its name and rapid course (where it borders Germany) until it mingles with the ocean.

Temporibusque Augustī dīcendīs nōn dēfuēre decōra ingenia dōnec glīscente adūlātiōne dēterrērentur. (id. 1.1)
For describing the times of Augustus there was no lack of talent until it was frightened away by the increasing servility of the age.

For dum, provided that, see § 528.

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. https://dcc.dickinson.edu/grammar/latin/dum-d%C5%8Dnec-and-quoad