Subjunctive vs. "iubere"

Long before Lingua Latina introduces the subjunctive, the author teaches about constructions with forms of iubere.
Think command clauses like eum ire iubet (he commands him to go).

In fact, the author actually draws upon this past knowledge of command clauses to introduce the subjunctive in Ch. 27.
On p. 214, he writes in the margin as follows: "dominus imperat ut colonus accedat = dominus colonum accedere iubet"

Having now been immersed in the subjunctive for months, these iubere clauses actually seem a little foreign.
Are these just two different ways of expressing the same thing, or is there a nuanced distinction that I am missing?

Thank you,


Staff member
Sometimes, different verbs just take different constructions.

Impero most often takes a subjunctive clause, while iubeo usually takes an accusative and infinitive (it sometimes takes the subjunctive as well, but chiefly in special contexts where one is talking about laws or decrees and the like).
Ok, thanks for clarifying.
I think this is more difficult for native English speakers like myself, because in English the subjunctive and the infinitive sound identical at times.
No one ever says: "I command you so that you may do such and such" – it's just: "I command you to do such and such".
So we end up losing the any identifiable distinction between the subjunctive and the infinitive.


Staff member
No one ever says: "I command you so that you may do such and such"
No indeed, but remove the first "you", the "so" and the "may" and it works in a similar way to Latin, though the result is less usual than "I command you to do so and so". However, in English too, different verbs take different constructions. "Command" usually takes the infinitive, but some verbs take a "that" clause equivalent to a Latin ut one; e.g. "I suggest that you do that".


Staff member
Such "that" clauses are supposed to take the subjunctive in English too, by the way. The thing is that the English subjunctive only sounds different from the indicative in the third person singular, while being identical in all other persons. As a result, the distinction is no longer felt so strongly and has been slowly dying for a long time.

"I demand that he do so" ---> "do", as opposed to the indicative "does". In any other person, it will sound excatly the same as the indicative (e.g. "I demand that you do so") but it's still theoretically subjunctive.
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It's a fine line, to be sure, in either language! But it's far easier to spot in Latin than in English.
Just another testament to how Latin can help you improve your English – now my inner grammarian cringes whenever I hear "If I was you..."