accusative or dative

By john abshire, in 'Latin Grammar Questions', Jun 17, 2017.

  1. john abshire Member

    "The Romans used to sing to the gods."
    Is "gods" an indirect object of "used to sing"?; object of preposition "to"?; or direct object of "used to sing"?

    I translated this into Latin as; Romani ad deos cantabant.
    Obviously I chose gods as the object of preposition "to", with "gods" in the accusative.
    However, i am not sure that i am right, or why the other choices are wrong.
  2. Mafalda Member

    I think it is not quite clear to you what direct and indirect objects are. Which is the direct and and which is the indirect object in the sentence I sang you a song?
  3. john abshire Member

    song is d.o., you is i.o.
  4. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    Yes. I believe here the dative should be used: "Deis cantabant". "ad" generally implies physical motion, like "he walked to the Colosseum", and if you used just a direct object, like "deos cantabant", it would mean "they used to sing about the gods". (cf. the opening lines of the Aeneid: "arma virumque cano", "I sing (of) arms and the man")
    Mafalda likes this.
  5. john abshire Member

    So, as Mafalda was implying, in the sentence "The Romans used to sing to the gods."; gods are the indirect object, and gods should be in the dative case.
    It is much easier for me to see the indirect object when there is a direct object in the sentence. Exempli gratia; "He gave a book to the girl."
    If the sentence above were "The Romans used to sing songs to the gods." I would have caught (much easier) that gods are the indirect object.
    It is also helpful to know the more full meaning of "ad".

    thank you both.
  6. Mafalda Member

    Try with some simple English sentences, here are a few for you, to begin with:
    I read a poem.
    I read a poem to my sister.
    I saw a falling star.
    I did not see my sister.
    He wrote a letter.
    A friend of mine wrote a letter to my sister.
    She bought me an ice-cream.
    John understands the meaning of direct object.
    Can he also explain us the meaning of indirect object?

    As to ad its meanings are many and diverse, you will pick them up as you go along. But you do not need ad for the indirect object, Dative case does the job.
    Last edited by Mafalda, Jun 18, 2017
  7. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    It's worth noting that in Latin, when you say "I wrote a letter to someone", "ad + acc" can be used (in fact, I believe it's the more regular construction): Here are some examples from L+S
    litteras, quas ad Pompeium scripsi, tibi misi, id. ib. 3, 9, 3: plura ad te scribam, si, etc., Cic. Att. 11, 10, 3: scriberem ad te de hoc plura, si Romae esses, id. ib. 6, 4, 11: haec ad te scripsi verbosius,
  8. Mafalda Member

    Illustris Danti, do not complicate things, let the man make friends with the Dative case first. Ad+acc will have to wait.
  9. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    I was pointing that out because you used this sentence:
    And that would regularly use ad+acc, not the dative case.
  10. Mafalda Member

    They are English sentences to practice telling the direct object from the indirect, not for translating into Latin.
  11. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
  12. john abshire Member

    I had answers for your questions all done at one time and erased them.
    I could answer your questions, right or wrong, but i am not sure how fruitful it would be. I do have a book on order, english grammar for latin students. Hopefully that will clear up my confusion on this matter.
    In general, I am getting burned out- trying to move too fast in my text. I am having to look up too many words (translating sentences), and it is taking the fun out of it, plus the 3rd declension has me pissed off. I need to slow down, and learn well what i have covered.

    thanks for your efforts.
    Dantius likes this.
  13. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    I know the feeling.

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