Elements of Latin Lesson 18:
The Ablative Denoting With

Labōrāre est ōrāre — To labor is to pray
Motto of the monks of the order of Saint Benedict.

153. The Ablative Denoting With. One of the relations denoted by the Latin ablative is expressed in English by the preposition with (§ 65). But with varies in meaning, and cannot always be translated by the Latin preposition cum. This becomes clear from the following sentences.

  1. The fields are thick with grain.
  2. Marcus fights with his spear.
  3. Julia is living with Cornelia.
  4. Galba toils with great industry.

In #1, with denotes cause, i.e. with grain means because of grain.

In #2, with denotes means, i.e. with his spear means by means of his spear.

In #3, with denotes accompaniment, i.e. Julia is not living alone but in company with Cornelia.

In #4, with denotes manner, i.e. with great industry tells how Galba works.

   These four meanings of with are expressed in Latin by four different constructions of the ablative, known as the Ablative of Cause, Ablative of Means, Ablative of Accompaniment, and Ablative of Manner.


165. Rule for the Ablative of Cause. Cause is denoted by the ablative, usually without a preposition, and answers the question Because of what?

Agrī sunt crēbrī frūmentō.
The fields are thick with grain.


166. Rule for the Ablative of Means. Means is denoted by the ablative without a preposition. This ablative answers the question By means of what? With what?

Mārcus tēlō pugnat.
Marcus fights with his spear.


167. Rule for the Ablative of Accompaniment. Accompaniment is denoted by the ablative with cum. This ablative answers the question In company with whom?

Iūlia cum Cornēliā habitat.
Julia is living with Cornelia.


168. Rule for Ablative of Manner. Manner is denoted by the ablative with cum. Cum may be omitted if an adjective is used with the ablative. This ablative answers the question How? In what manner?

Galba cum dīligentiā labōrat.
Galba works with industry.

Galba magnā cum dīligentiā labōrat.
Galba works with great industry.

But remember: cum is optional if there is an adjective modifying the noun. So:

Galba magnā dīligentiā labōrat.
Galba works with great industry.


Exercises

Print Lesson 18 Exercises

169. What uses of the ablative do you discover in the following passage and what question does each answer?

   The day after the battle we retreated with all our forces. The roads were deep with mud and the men were weary with fighting. To make matters worse, aviators attacked our crowded ranks with bombs. The machines flew low, but with such speed that we could not hit them. At last with a sigh of relief we entered a forest so thick with trees that we were well protected by the branches. Many wretched refugees with their wives and children sought shelter there.


     



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