the power to shape the flow of light

This is another of the fictional incantations I have been working on.

Would I be correct to assume that when the following is translated into Latin:

The power to shape the flow of light.

That both power and flow should be in the accusative case and that light should be in the genitive?
 

Araneus

Umbraticus Lector
Hi!

The phrase in Latin would be something like this:

Potestas formandi fluxum lucis

Potestas is in the nominative here, because it is not affected by the meaning of any verb or preposition. If this were a full sentence (which it is not, as it lacks a finite verb) the nominative would be more easily detected as the subject of the sentence, the person or thing that "does" the action represented by the verb.

If, however, the phrase were made into a full sentence like "I have the power to shape the flow of light", potestas would be in the accusative (potestatem) because that would be the object of "(I) have" (habeo).

You're right about "flow" and "light". Fluxus is in the accusative here (fluxum) as it is the direct object of the verb, i.e what is being "formed". Lux is in the genitive (lucis) because the flow "belongs" to the light - "of light".

Note that some verbs make their objects genitive, dative or ablative. The dictionary entries for these verbs will tell you that.
 
Would this be a better example?

Da mihi potestas formandi fluxum lucis.

Grant me the power to shape the flow of light.

Would power be the direct object of Grant?

Is it possible to have two direct objects in a sentence if the first part is Grant me the power, and then the second part of the sentence describes the power being granted?
 

Araneus

Umbraticus Lector
Would power be the direct object of Grant?
Yes, so that has to be in the accusative, potestatem.

Is it possible to have two direct objects in a sentence if the first part is Grant me the power, and then the second part of the sentence describes the power being granted?
It is possible to have many direct objects in a sentence, either with one verb taking more than one object (they would be connected by and/or in the sentence) or with more than one verb taking direct object(s), as in the one above, where Da has a direct object (potestatem) and formandi has fluxum.

If you were to describe the direct object using adjectives, those adjectives would have to be in the same number, case and gender as the object they belong to. Ex: Da mihi potestatem mysticam formandi... ("Grant me the mystical power of shaping...") Potestatem is singular accusative feminine, so the adjective belonging to it has to be the same.

But if you add a new clause to the sentence to describe the object, the object would become the subject of this clause, and turn into a nominative. Ex: Da mihi potestatem quae pertinet ad formandum fluxum lucis ("Grant me the power which pertains to shaping the flow of light"). Quae ("which") is the subject of pertinet ("pertains") and therefore now nominative, even though it refers to the "power" that was accusative and direct object right before that.

So Quae is the singular nominative feminine form of the relative pronoun ("that", "who" or "which" in English), referring here to potestas. The accusative would be quam.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/qui#Latin

Please tell me if this is enlightening or just confusing ;)
 
Thanks you for your help that it did get a little confusing.

Though I do have another question, Since the majority of all my incantations involve the spell caster requesting a power involving a verb, I am curious if I should always use the infinitive of the verb or if I should always us the future passive participle of the verb as you have done translating to shape into formandi

For example which would be the best translation of the following:

Grant me the power to hear beyond the limits of man.

Da mihi potestatem audire extra terminos hominis.

or

Da mihi potestatem audiendi extra terminos hominis.
 

Araneus

Umbraticus Lector
Since the majority of all my incantations involve the spell caster requesting a power involving a verb, I am curious if I should always use the infinitive of the verb or if I should always us the future passive participle of the verb as you have done translating to shape into formandi
The Formandi I have used here is actually not a future passive participle (which grammatically behaves as an adjective, and is commonly reffered to as the gerundive). Formandi here is a gerund, that is when you treat a verb as a noun, and decline it in cases (only singular forms, no switching between grammatical genders). Here it is in the genitive, as the "act of shaping" belongs to "power" - ergo "the power of shaping". The gerund has dative, accusative and ablative forms as well. The nominative gerund would simply be the infinitive used as a noun in a sentence.

If you take a look at the verb Formo "form" here, and click "more" on conjugation, you find the gerund forms at the bottom. Note that dative and ablative gerunds always are identical, though their meaning is different.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/formo#Latin

Therefore you would never use the infinitive (audire) in such a construction as you have there, although that appears to be the most literal way of translating it from English. You would rather use Audiendi, or phrase it in another way.

extra terminos hominis is correct. You're getting hang of it ;)

I have two more things to add:

1 - If the imperative Da is directed at more than one person/entity or what it is (the Parcae?), it should be the plural imperative, Date. This does not change anything else in the phrase/sentence.

2- You might find this more helpful than my less than perfect attempt at explaining gerunds and gerundives:

http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/101/GerundGerundive.pdf

or

http://homepage.usask.ca/~jrp638/latin/RLsheets/5Dgerundive.pdf

There are also videos on Youtube that explain the basics Latin grammar. Just search for "Latin gerundive", "Latin ablative", etc.

Not that we won't gladly help you with all this, but it's helpful to get things explained in different ways. Especially if you are not very familiar with all the grammatical terms.
 
Indeed, thank you very much for all your help and I will revise all of my other incantations with an infinitive and replace said infinitive with the gerund instead. thanks
.
 

Araneus

Umbraticus Lector
Indeed, thank you very much for all your help and I will revise all of my other incantations with an infinitive and replace said infinitive with the gerund instead. thanks
.
Anytime :) Remember the plural imperatives as well (Date) if that applies. In the phrases were you adress the three fates, that should apply anyhow.
 
Top