Relative tenses

john abshire

Well-Known Member

Dicunt eum iuvisse eam. They say that he was helping her.
Dicent eum iuvisse eam. They will say that he was helping her.

— from my textbook; tenses of the infinitive are relative, not absolute. Then, how does iuvisse = “was helping” when the main verb is present and future?
Edits
dicent iuvare = “they will say that he will” (at least it should be) since the tenses are relative.
similar is
dixerunt iuvare = “they said that he was”
??
 
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Matthaeus

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Check gender of eam.
 

Pacifica

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You can take a look here again, John: http://latindiscussion.com/forum/threads/relative-tenses-of-the-infinitive.34909/

But maybe you need a fuller explanation.

The tense of the infinitive being "relative" means that it's relative to the main verb. In practice, as far as indirect statements are concerned, that means the following:

No matter the tense of the main verb—whether it's present, past, or future, the same rule always applies. And the rule is only logical when you consider the literal meanings (given here after the first =).

- A present infinitive denotes something that is the case at the same time as the main verb. For example:

Dicit se legere = he says himself to read = he says he's reading.
Dixit se legere = he said himself to read = he said he was reading.
Dicet se legere = he will say himself to read = he will say he's reading.

- A perfect infinitive denotes something that happened before the main verb. For example:

Dicit se legisse = he says himself to have read = he says he read (or has read, or was reading... basically anything that's past relatively to the time when he says it).
Dixit se legisse = he said himself to have read = he said he had read.
Dicet se legisse = he will say himself to have read = he will say he has read (or read, or was reading... anything that's past relatively to the time when he says it).

- A future infinitive denotes something that will (or would) happen later than the main verb. For example:

Dicit se lecturum (esse) = he says himself (to be) going to read = he says he will read.
Dixit se lecturum (esse) = he said himself (to be) going to read = he said he would read.
Dicet se lecturum (esse) = he will say himself (to be) going to read = he'll say he will read.
 
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john abshire

Well-Known Member

You can take a look here again, John: http://latindiscussion.com/forum/threads/relative-tenses-of-the-infinitive.34909/

But maybe you need a fuller explanation.

The tense of the infinitive being "relative" means that it's relative to the main verb. In practice, as far as indirect statements are concerned, that means the following:

No matter the tense of the main verb—whether it's present, past, or future, the same rule always applies. And the rule is only logical when you consider the literal meanings (given here after the first =).

- A present infinitive denotes something that is the case at the same time as the main verb. For example:

Dicit se legere = he says himself to read = he says he's reading.
Dixit se legere = he said himself to read = he said he was reading.
Dicet se legere = he will say himself to read = he will say he's reading.

- A perfect infinitive denotes something that happened before the main verb. For example:

Dicit se legisse = he says himself to have read = he says he read (or has read, or was reading... basically anything that's past relatively to the time when he says it).
Dixit se legisse = he said himself to have read = he said he had read.
Dicet se legisse = he will say himself to have read = he will say he has read (or read, or was reading... anything that's past relatively to the time when he says it).

- A future infinitive denotes something that will (or would) happen later than the main verb. For example:

Dicit se lecturum (esse) = he says himself (to be) going to read = he says he will read.
Dixit se lecturum (esse) = he said himself (to be) going to read = he said he would read.
Dicet se lecturum (esse) = he will say himself (to be) going to read = he'll say he will read.
Part of the confusion is that the present occurs before the future, so dicet se legisse then could translate “he will say that he is reading.” Further, legisse means “had read, was reading, did read, etc” but relative to future it just means past or present, that is; “occurring before the time of the main verb”
 

Clemens

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No, dicet sē legisse couldn't mean "He will say that he is reading," because the act of reading will be in the past when he says it. In other words, at the time the sentence dicet sē legisse is uttered, both actions (the saying and the reading) could well be in the future, but at the time when dicet happens, legisse is in the past relative to that future event, not relative to the time of the utterance dicet sē legisse.

It might be easier (in these cases) if you think of the past infinitive as an "anterior" infinitive, and the future infinitive as a "posterior" infinitive.
 

Pacifica

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john abshire

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Legisse means "to have read".
there must be a basic concept that I am missing, and it is probably a basic rule in English?

These three sentences vary the main verb's tense, while the clause verb (iuvare) remains the same; keeping the clause at the same time as the main verb.
1-They say that he is helping her. Dicunt eum iuvare eam.
2-They will say that he is helping her. Dicent eum iuvare eam.
3-They said that he was helping her. Dixerunt eum iuvare eam.

These three have a future tense verb in the clause, and vary the main verb:
4-They say that he will help her. Dicunt eum iuturum esse eam.
5-They will say that he will help her. Dicent eum iuturum esse eam.
6-They said that he would help her. Dixerunt eum iuturum esse eam.

questions;
1- are the sentences 3 and 6 correct?
 

john abshire

Well-Known Member

Dixerunt eum iuvare eam.
They said that he is helping her.
dixerunt eum iuturum esse eam.
They said that he will help her.

Are these two translations also correct? I.e. “he is” for “he was” and “he will” instead of “he would”?
 

Pacifica

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Yes, they're less likely but they could be correct in some contexts. E.g. They (just now) said that he will help her.
 

Puer Pedens

Member

You can take a look here again, John: http://latindiscussion.com/forum/threads/relative-tenses-of-the-infinitive.34909/

But maybe you need a fuller explanation.

The tense of the infinitive being "relative" means that it's relative to the main verb. In practice, as far as indirect statements are concerned, that means the following:

No matter the tense of the main verb—whether it's present, past, or future, the same rule always applies. And the rule is only logical when you consider the literal meanings (given here after the first =).

- A present infinitive denotes something that is the case at the same time as the main verb. For example:

Dicit se legere = he says himself to read = he says he's reading.
Dixit se legere = he said himself to read = he said he was reading.
Dicet se legere = he will say himself to read = he will say he's reading.

- A perfect infinitive denotes something that happened before the main verb. For example:

Dicit se legisse = he says himself to have read = he says he read (or has read, or was reading... basically anything that's past relatively to the time when he says it).
Dixit se legisse = he said himself to have read = he said he had read.
Dicet se legisse = he will say himself to have read = he will say he has read (or read, or was reading... anything that's past relatively to the time when he says it).

- A future infinitive denotes something that will (or would) happen later than the main verb. For example:

Dicit se lecturum (esse) = he says himself (to be) going to read = he says he will read.
Dixit se lecturum (esse) = he said himself (to be) going to read = he said he would read.
Dicet se lecturum (esse) = he will say himself (to be) going to read = he'll say he will read.
What about the imperfect tense, dicebat, is it used, too? if so, how would it be? I mean, the translation into English version..
 

Pacifica

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Of course, dicebat can be used too. The rule that I explained above stays the same. When I said it applied no matter the tense of the main verb, I really meant it.

Dicebat se legere = he said himself to read = he said (or was saying, kept saying, or used to say) he was reading.
Dicebat se legisse = he said himself to have read = he said he had read.
Dicebat se lecturum (esse) = he said himself (to be) going to read = he said he would read.
 
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