Oct 24 2009

Latin Lesson #31: The Subjunctive

I’ve got a new Latin lesson up, starting on the subjunctive mood.  The subjunctive comes very early (lesson 15) in the Missal Latin book that we’re going through at church, compared to the Classical Latin books I’ve got (lesson 28 and 50), so I thought I’d better get to it myself.  We almost never use the subjunctive in English, but Latin uses it so much that it’s hard to find a long passage of text for exercises that doesn’t.

I remember the subjunctive being a tough one for our class in school, because the subjunctive is one area where there’s no simple translation in English.  Latin is very particular about separating things that have happened or will happen from things that might happen.  So you often can’t just translate the words literally anymore, but have to figure out what they meant and then find the best way to say that in English.  When you can translate the meaning of a sentence instead of the individual words, you’ve reached a different level.

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