Quid vs cur

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
Quid illic secum solus loquitur

Plautus & Terence often seem to use quid, where I might have expected cur. Is this an early usage? Is it something which should be imitated?
 

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
I don't think it's that uncommon in classical Latin either (at least with certain verbs) as some sort of adverbial accusative.
Here, it could be interpreted as "what" as well, I suppose ("what is he saying...")
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
It wasn't the best example was it ;)

Do you know what the rules are for using it in this fashion?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I don't know of any specific rules. Personally, I would avoid using it when it would be too ambiguous, but I'm not a Roman author.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I don't know of any specific rules.
Well, I know of one idiom where "why" will always be quid and never cur, as far as I know (you never know that an exception won't be found somewhere, but it would only be an exception): Quid plura? meaning "Why more words?", "Let's make it short." I've never seen cur or quare plura?
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
Here is a better example:
Quid nunc igitur stamus
 

AoM

nulli numeri
On Aen. 1.407-8 (quid natum totiens, crudelis tu quoque, falsis / ludis imaginibus?), Austin's note:

"originally a usage of familiar speech (e.g. Ter. Eun. 304 'quid tu es tristis? quidve es alacris?'); it is frequent in both direct and indirect questions."
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
This brings to mind quid taces? Convincam si negas from ... well, you guys know :D

On a side note, qui is also often used in Cicero to mean "how", e.g. qui scis? for quomodo.
 

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
On a side note, qui is also often used in Cicero to mean "how", e.g. qui scis? for quomodo.
It comes from an old ablative form of qui. I remember that really confusing me the first time I saw it (in Livy book 2). But sometimes it's used in a proper relative clause, like in tanta paupertate decessit, ut, qui efferretur, vix reliquerit. There's a bunch of uses of it in Plautus as just an ablative form of qui, quae, quod.
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Cool, interesting, didn't know that. But how is that an ablative form? Wouldn't the ablative be quo?
 

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
I don't know. I guess it's an old third decl. form, just like quem and quibus and ques (another archaism). But I'm not sure.
 
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