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438. The subjunctive in general expresses the verbal idea with some modification1 such as is expressed in English by auxiliaries, by the infinitive, or by the rare subjunctive (§ 157.b).

a. The subjunctive is used independently to express:

  1. An exhortation or command (Hortatory Subjunctive § 439).
  2. A concession (Concessive Subjunctive § 440).
  3. A wish (Optative Subjunctive § 441).
  4. A question of doubt etc. (Deliberative Subjunctive § 444).
  5. A possibility or contingency (Potential Subjunctive § 446).

For the special idiomatic uses of the Subjunctive in Apodosis, see § 514.

b. The subjunctive is used in dependent clauses to express:

  1. Condition: future or contrary to fact (§ 516.b-c, § 517).
  2. Purpose (Final, § 531).
  3. Characteristic (§ 535).
  4. Result (Consecutive, § 537).
  5. Time (Temporal, § 546).
  6. Indirect Question (§ 574).

c. The subjunctive is also used with Conditional Particles of Comparison (§ 524), and in Subordinate Clauses in the Indirect Discourse (§ 580).


1. These modifications are of various kinds, each of which has had its own special development (cf. § 436). The subjunctive in Latin has also many idiomatic uses (as in clauses of result and time) where the English does not modify the verbal idea at all, but expresses it directly. In such cases the Latin merely takes a different view of the action and has developed the construction differently from the English.
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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.