Constructions with "Quin"

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
The word "quin" can have many different meanings and its uses do not seem to be commonly covered in beginning Latin textbooks. This guide hopes to clearly show the different uses of this word and how they can be identified. Of course if you catch a mistake or something that can be phrased better please let me know as this is my first time doing one of these!

SECTION 1: USES OF QUIN ALONE / WITH INDICATIVE
  • Quin meaning "why not?"
    • This use of quin introduces a slightly softened form of command, similar to English "why don't you ...". It will have an indicative verb in the person and number required.
      • Quin tu hodie cenam coquis? Why don't you cook dinner today?
      • Quin ad amphitheatrum Flavium imus ad gladiatores spectandos? Why don't we go to the Colosseum to watch the gladiators?
    • It can be recognized by having a question mark at the end of the sentence.
    • EXAMPLES FROM ROMANS:
      • Quin accingeris? (Liv. 1.47) Why do you not prepare yourself?
  • Quin etiam
    • Oftentimes quin is found paired with etiam to mean "and moreover".
      • Plebs te odit; quin etiam patres te interficere parant. The plebeians hate you, and moreover, the patricians are preparing to kill you!
    • EXAMPLES FROM ROMANS:
      • Eo cum Catilina venisset, ... quis eum salutavit...? Quin etiam principes ... partem illam subselliorum, ad quam ille accesserat, nudam ... reliquerunt. (Cic. In Catilinam 2.12) When Catiline came there, who greeted him? And moreover the leaders left that part of the benches, to which he had approached, bare.
  • Quin meaning "indeed, rather"
    • As indicated by the heading, Quin can also be used to corroborate the previous statement.
      • Marco non Lingua Latina placet, quin eam odit! Marcus does not like the Latin language, rather, he hates it!
      • Marcus non potest sanari nisi medicus arcessetur, quin si ipsi conemur, certe moriatur! Marcus cannot be cured unless a doctor is summoned, indeed if we were to try ourselves, he would surely die!
    • EXAMPLES FROM ROMANS:
      • Tota plebs aere alieno demersa est, nec sisti potest ni omnibus consuletur; quin si alia aliorum est condicio, accenditur magis discordia quam sedatur. (Liv. 2.29) All the plebeians are overwhelmed with debt, and this cannot be stopped unless everyone is looked after, indeed if there is a different condition for different people, discord is inflamed more than sedated.
SECTION 2: USES OF QUIN INTRODUCING SUBORDINATE CLAUSES
  • Verbs of hindering / preventing
    • Verbs of hindering such as deterreo, abstineo, retineo take quin (sometimes quominus) when negated or partially negated. (when in the positive they take ne / quominus). (a good translation word is "from")
      • Imperator non abstinebit quin ferociter pugnet. The general will not abstain from fighting fiercely.
      • Brutus Lucretiam deterrere non potuit quin se interficeret. Brutus could not deter Lucretia from killing herself.
    • EXAMPLES FROM ROMANS:
      • Aegre abstinent quin castra oppugnent. (Liv. 2.45) They barely abstain from attacking the camp.
      • Germani retineri non potuerant quin tela in nostros coicerent. (Caes. DBG 1.47) The Germans had not been able to be retained from throwing spears into our men.
      • Tantus est eorum omnium furor ut ne Suessiones quidem, fratres consanguineosque nostros, deterrere potuerimus quin cum iis consentirent.(Caes. DBG 2.3) The madness of them all is so great that we could not even retain the Suessiones, our brothers and kindred, from agreeing with them.
    • NOTE: prohibere takes an infinitive rather than a quin clause.
  • Verbs of doubting
    • When a verb of doubting is negated quin is used for "that". (When the doubting verb is not negated numor other indirect question words are used)
      • Non dubito quin vincamus. I do not doubt that we will win.
      • Non erat dubium quin Romani plus possent. There was no doubt that the Romans were more powerful.
    • EXAMPLES FROM ROMANS:
      • Non est dubium quin totius Galliae plurimum Helvetii possint. (Caes. DBG 1.3) There is no doubt that the Helvetii are the most powerful of all Gaul.
      • Haec si enuntiata Ariovisto erunt, non dubito quin de omnibus obsidibus qui apud eum sint gravissimum supplicium sumat. (Caes. DBG 1.31) If these things are disclosed to Ariovistus, I do not doubt that he will select a very painful punishment for all the hostages who are with him.
      • Non ambigitur quin Brutus pessimo publico id facturus fuerit, si ... (Liv. 2.1) It is not disputed that Brutus would have done this with a very bad result for the public (lit. for the public bad), if ...
    • NOTE: For dubito meaning to hesitate, it usually takes an infinitive.
  • Other uses of quin meaning "from" / Quin-based idioms
    • Here are some more examples of quin, and a few idioms using quin.
      • Caesar oppido potitur, perpaucis hostium desideratis quin cuncti caperentur. (Caes. DBG 7.11) Caesar takes the town, with very few of the enemies missing from all of them being captured.
    • non multum afuit quin / haud procul afuit quin= nearly:
      • Haud procul erat quin Remum agnosceret. (Liv. 1.5) He nearly recognized Remus. (more literally: it was not far away from him recognizing Remus)
      • Tanta circa fuga ac trepidatio fuit ut non multum abesset quin opera desereretur. (Liv. 21.7) There was such great flight and trepidation all around that the work was nearly deserted. (lit. it was not far away from the work being deserted)
    • per aliquem stat quin= it is someone's fault that ... not
      • ... quoniam per eum non stetisset quin praestaretur ... (Liv. 2.31) Because it had not been his fault that it was not fulfilled.
  • Verbs of hesitation (rare)
    • Verbs indicating hesitation, such as dubito (to hesitate) and cunctor, usually take the infinitive. However when negated they can in rare cases take quin:
      • Ob haec consuli nihil cunctandum visum quin Lilybaeum classe peteret. (Liv. 21.50) Because of these things it seemed to the consul that he must not delay from seeking Lilybaeum with his fleet.
      • Tum dubitandum non existimavit quin ad eos proficisceretur. (Caes. DBG 2.2) Then he judged that he must not hesitate to set out to them.
SECTION 3: QUIN AS A CONTRACTION
Quin can also stand in for a few other sets of words. (in fact, the "why not" use started as a contraction of "qui-ne")​
  • "qui non"
    • Quin can stand in for "qui non" in a relative clause of characteristic. (or result)
      • Nemo est quin (=qui non) te amet. There is no one who does not love you
      • Nemo est tam fortis quin (=qui non, ut non) rei novitate perturbetur. (Caes. DBG 6.39) There is no one so brave that he is not disturbed by the unexpected occurrence (lit. the newness of the matter).
  • "quod non" (rare)
    • The phrase "non quin" can rarely stand in for "non quod ... non" (not because ... not).
      • Non quin (= quod non) breviter reddi responsum potuerit non recipi reges, potius delecti patrum ad eum missi quam legatis eius Romae daretur responsum, sed ut ... (Liv. 2.15) A selected few from the patricians were sent to him rather than giving the response to his ambassadors at Rome not because the response that the kings were not being received could not be quickly given back, but with the intention that ...
Well, those are the principal uses of the very multifaceted word quin! If you have any corrections or suggestions, again, please put them in the comments!
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Very good post!

Two things:
Tantum est eorum omnium furorem
You see the problem here. I suppose this is supposed to be either tantus est... furor or indirect speech tantum esse... furorem.
quam legatis eius Romae daretur responsum
than giving the response through his ambassadors
"than giving the response to his ambassadors at Rome"
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Very good post, and one that helped clarify some of these distinctions in my own mind. Thank you, Dantius.
 

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
Very good post!

Two things:
You see the problem here. I suppose this is supposed to be either tantus est... furor or indirect speech tantum esse... furorem.
Yeah, a lot of these had to be turned into oratio recta and I seem to have forgotten to change the accusatives here :oops:
 

AoM

nulli numeri
Thanks for the write-up!

I still hate quin, though... :angry:
 

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
It does have a rather annoying number of uses,
especially when (as happened to me) you think you know all of them, and then you come across, in 2 consecutive days, 2 more uses of it (in my case, non quin for non quod non and quin meaning "indeed, rather")
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
I still hate quin, though... :angry:
It does have a rather annoying number of uses,
especially when (as happened to me) you think you know all of them, and then you come across, in 2 consecutive days, 2 more uses of it (in my case, non quin for non quod non and quin meaning "indeed, rather")
Part of the reason it's so confusing (to me at any rate) is it's hard to find a common thread/central meaning that links them all together.

Now, L&S suggests that it's from an old ablative form:

quīn , I.conj. [abl. quī and ne].
...which I suppose makes a sort of sense: "by which/what [thing] not [such-and-such]..."

Now, this would explain many of them:
- quin meaning "why not" (= "by what reason do you not do such-and-such")
- verbs of abstaining etc (e.g. "They barely abstain from attacking the camp" -> "They barely abstain, by which [abstaining] they do not attack the camp".)
- verbs of doubting ("I do not doubt that we will win." -> "I have no doubts [such that, by this scenario I envision] we might not win.")
- and, in a similar way, all the ones meaning "from" or such.

But I can't see how this ties into quin etiam or quin = "indeed, rather", since these doesn't carry any sense of negation (that I can tell) here. (Or the contracted forms in Section 3; but that's less surprising, since they probably did just come from different words in the beginning, and have no real etymological connection.)
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Here's one from Vergil that doesn't seem to neatly fall into any of the above:

ille meum comitatus iter maria omnia mecum
atque omnis pelagique minas caelique ferebat,
inualidus, viris ultra sortemque senectae.
quin, ut te supplex peterem et tua limina adirem,
idem orans mandata dabat.

My commentary suggests it's a sort of quin etiam without the etiam, i.e. "indeed".
 

AoM

nulli numeri
Here's one from Vergil that doesn't seem to neatly fall into any of the above:

ille meum comitatus iter maria omnia mecum
atque omnis pelagique minas caelique ferebat,
inualidus, viris ultra sortemque senectae.
quin, ut te supplex peterem et tua limina adirem,
idem orans mandata dabat.

My commentary suggests it's a sort of quin etiam without the etiam, i.e. "indeed".
Another good resource (if you're not using it already): http://vergil.classics.upenn.edu/vergil/index.php/document/index/document_id/1

One of the notes: "Pal. a m. p., Rom., and Gud. omit "et."" I assume they're talking about after quin and not the et in the text.
 
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