Elements of Latin Lesson 32:
The Imperative Mood; Questions and Answers

Nē cēde malīs — Do not yield to misfortunes
From Vergil, author of the Aeneid, the greatest Latin epic poem.

246. The imperative mood expresses a command: as, come! go! speak!

247. The Latin imperative has two tenses, the present and the future. The present is used more than the future, which is not included in this book.

248. The present imperative is used only in the second person, singular and plural. In the active voice the singular is the same in form as the present stem. The plural is formed by adding -te to the singular.

249. Notice the stem vowel of the commands below:

Singular Command Plural Command Translation
vocā vocāte call!
monē monēte advise!
rege regite rule!
audī audīte listen!

Simple rule: The singular command ends in a vowel, the plural command adds the ending -te

Small exception:

For singular commands ending in short -e, the corresponding plural command ends in -ite.

250. The irregular verb sum has es, be thou, and este, be ye, as present imperatives.

251. We learned in § 109 that questions might be introduced, as in English, by interrogative pronouns or adverbs: as, quis? who?  ubi? where?  quō? whither?  cūr? why? and that questions expecting the answer yes or no were often introduced by -ne, the question sign, combined with the first word.

But questions expecting the answer yes or no may take one of three forms:

   1. Venitne? Is he coming? (Asking for information)

   2. Nōnne venit? Is he not coming? (Expecting the answer yes)

   3. Num venit? He isn't coming, is he? (Expecting the answer no)

252. We learned in § 110 that yes-or-no questions are usually answered by repeating the verb, with or without a negative. Instead of this, ita, vērō, certē, etc. (so, truly, certainly, etc.) may be used for yes; and nōn, minimē, etc. for no if the denial is an emphatic by no means, not at all, or the like.

Num via longa est? Minimē
The road isn't long, is it? Not at all.


Print Lesson 32 Exercises

253. Give the present imperative of the following verbs: capiō, veniō, gerō, pateō, servō.


Special Vocabulary

Latin Word Meaning Related Words
cum when
nāvigium, -ī (n) boat navigable
petō, -ere to seek, ask, beg, make for petition, compete
respondeō, -ēre to reply respond, responsive

254. Tum Thēseus nāvigium celeriter parat et ad īnsulam Crētam nāvigat. Cum1 ad ōram altam venit, ex nāvigiō properat et terram petit. Eum Ariadnē,2 fīlia rēgīnae, videt. Tum eum vocat et dīcit: "Quis es, bone vir3? Quid in patriā meā petis? Nōnne Graecus es? Crēta est inimīca Graecīs et vīta tua est in perīculō." Thēseus respondet: "Thēseus sum, Graecōrum hērōs4, nōtus fāmā5 meā per multās terrās. Mīnōtaurum petō. Cum1 eō pugnābō. Eum vincam. Nōnne Thēseō auxilium dabis?" Tum Ariadnē, clārā fāmā et magnō animō Thēseī commōta6, eum amat et respondet: "Num barbara sum? Vītam tuam servābō. Cape arma et venī."

1 The conjunction cum, when, and the preposition cum, with, though alike, are easily distinguished, as cum, with, is followed by the ablative case.
2 Pronounce in English A-ri-ad'ne.
3 Good sir.
4 Hero.
5 Ablative of cause.
6 Moved.

255. 1. Nūntiā, mūnīte, mitte   2. Pete, venī, nāvigāte.   3. Servāte, mūnī, tenē.   4. Vidēte, portā, mittite.


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