Dative sentences - can anyone explain?

By goldenmom3533, in 'Latin Grammar Questions', May 15, 2017.

  1. goldenmom3533 New Member

    Hello! I previously had mentioned that my daughter is on homebound (not homeschool, but when you are sick) and so she is not getting any in class instruction. We would appreciate any guidance as appropriate on her worksheet on dative sentences.

    She has a worksheet says to structure the sentences or endings to make a Dative sentence.

    The worksheet asks to "Use one word from each of the columns to make a complete sentence..." the words are:
    Heri, Mane
    canem, cibum, pecuniam, panem, vinum, libros
    cani, amicis, patri, ancillae, senatoribus, liberibus
    dedi, dedimus, dederunt

    We would appreciate any overall guidance on Dative, maybe an example, etc. thank you, I genuinely appreciate any help.
  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris

    The primary function of the dative is to denote the indirect object. The indirect object is the person or thing towards which you direct an action; it is the "beneficiary" of the action. Basically, a dative means "to X". E.g. magister discipulo(dative) librum dat = "The teacher gives a book to the student". You could also say "The teacher gives the student a book", but this means the same as "The teacher gives a book to the student": whenever you can modify such a sentence so as to use "to", the noun or pronoun after "to" will be dative in Latin.

    Liberibus isn't a correct form. That should probably be liberis.
    goldenmom3533 likes this.
  3. john abshire New Member

    The sailor is giving money to the poet. Nauta poetae pecuniam dat. "Poetae" is dative singular for poet, the indirect object.

    You leave out the preposition "to" and put the indirect object in front of the direct object. [i don't think the position is crucial, but for clarity, the indirect object is generally placed before the direct object.]
    You can restructure the English sentence, "The sailor is giving the poet money." Then it is easier to write the Latin equivalent. It also tells you what the indirect object is.
  4. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    These "general" rules are often misleading. I picked a random sentence by scrolling through Livy Book 1, and the indirect object came after the direct object:
    Ipse iunioribus qui ultro nomina dabant lectis armatisque, ad concitandum inde adversus regem exercitum Ardeam in castra est profectus: imperium in urbe Lucretio, praefecto urbis iam ante ab rege instituto, relinquit.
    (imperium: direct object; Lucretio: indirect object)

    I did it again:
    Quoniam gemini essent nec aetatis verecundia discrimen facere posset, ut di quorum tutelae ea loca essent auguriis legerent qui nomen novae urbi daret, qui conditam imperio regeret, Palatium Romulus, Remus Aventinum ad inaugurandum templa capiunt.
    Again, the indirect object comes after the direct object.
    Pacifica and john abshire like this.
  5. john abshire New Member

    can you translate the sentence? It looks to me that Lucretio may be ablative, not dative.
  6. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    No, it is Dative. "He left the power in the city to Lucretius, (who) already before (had been) appointed prefect of the city by the king."
  7. john abshire New Member

    It could have been translated "He left Lucretius the power,....." where the indirect is placed before the direct, and the preposition "to" is dropped. [I was not stating a rule about all Latin sentences.]
    I was more referring to translating and writing Latin. If you can put the indirect in front of the direct, dropping the preposition, as in "He left Lucretius the power...", vs "He left the power to Lucretius....", it further nails down that Lucretious is the indirect object, and is not object of preposition to.

    by the way, from what text did you find the Latin sentences?
    Last edited by john abshire, May 30, 2017
  8. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Sorry, but I'm not sure what your reasoning is. First, how is it better for "clarity" to put the dative before the accusative? How would the other order be less clear? Second, shouldn't our aim in writing Latin be to imitate good Roman authors as best we can? If yes, why shouldn't we sometimes put the accusative before the dative as Roman authors did?
  9. john abshire New Member

    After thinking about it more, I think it is simpler and more clear to write the sentence with indirect first, but in reading the latin sentence, it depends on the other words and their endings.

    My original reasoning for putting the indirect first;
    As you stated above, if a sentence in English can be written with the indirect object in front of the direct, dropping the preposition, then that noun is the indirect object, and not object of preposition. "The poet is telling a story to the farmer." can be rewritten as "The poet is telling the farmer a story". Here you know that farmer is the indirect object and not object of preposition "to". It follows then to write the Latin sentence with indirect object before the direct, Poeta agricolae fabulam narrat. [besides this is the way the author of my book does it.]

    On the other hand,
    "The men are guarding the town for the queen." I can't see how one could put queen in front of town and make a sensible English sentence, but it seems to me queen is the indirect object of this sentence. I would think the Latin should be Viri oppidum reginae servant. In fact, it makes more sense than putting the indirect object before the direct, as in Viri reginae oppidum servant, because this could be (mis) interpreted as "The queen's men are guarding the town."

    I think it comes down to clarity, making the sentence say what you want it to, with as little possibility of misinterpretation as possible.
    Last edited by john abshire, May 31, 2017

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