Latin for Duolingo: Prepositions
Welcome back to Latin for Duolingo. If you would like to catch up with previous lessons, you can find a directory of lessons, a classified vocabulary list, and Memrise courses at these links:
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Prepositions in Latin must be used with one of two cases; the accusative or the ablative. Most prepositions “govern” only one case, a few such as “in” can take either, but with a change of meaning. “In” with the accusative means into, onto, against... it has the idea of forward motion, whereas “in” with the ablative denotes simply position, in or on. “Sub” can also take both cases. It’s also helpful to remember that expressions that in English require a prepositional phrase may be handled in Latin with no preposition. For example, the dative case is used to show indirect objects, or “to/for” expressions, and the ablative case is used to express means, manner, place, or time, and frequently without a preposition. We’ll explore ablative uses more in a future lesson. Following is a list of prepositions for this lesson, with the new ones in bold.
ad = to, near, toward, at
ante = before, in front of
circum = around
contra = against
in = into, onto, against
per = through
post = after, behind
propter = on account of, because of
sub = under, underneath (with verbs of motion)
super = over, above, on top of (sometimes with abl.)
trans = across
ab/ a = away from, from, by (expressing agency)
cum = with (expressing accompaniment)
de = concerning, about, from, down from
ex/e = out of, from
in = in, on
pro = on behalf of, for, before, in front of, in place of
sine = without
sub = under, beneath, underneath, below
Feles sub arbore dormit. = The cat sleeps under the tree.
Feles sub arborem currit. = The cat runs under the tree.
Canis trans viam currit. = The dog runs across the road.
Canis per agrum ambulat. = The dog walks through the field.
De libro per diarium auditis. = You hear about the book through the newspaper.
Casam ad flumen habemus. = We have a cottage near/at the river.
Marcus ad magistrum ambulat. = Marcus walks to/toward the teacher.
Marcus a magistro ambulat. = Marcus walks away from the teacher. a before consonants
Marcus ab hominibus ambulat. = Marcus walks away from the men. ab before vowels and h, which is treated as silent
Vir ex aquā venit. = A man comes out of the water. ex before vowels
Navis e portu navigat. = The ship sails out of the harbor. e before consonants, sometimes
Ex silvis veniunt. = They come out of the forest. but not consistently as ab/a
Puer de fenestrā cadit. = The boy falls down from the window.
Gaius cum Marco ambulat. = Gaius walks with Marcus.
Gaius cum Marco pugnat. = Gaius fights with Marcus. they fight each other, as opponents, as well as being in the same physical space
Gaius gladio pugnat. = Gaius fights with a sword. ablative with no preposition is used to express means/instrument
Gaius et Marcus propter feminam pugnant. = Gaius and Marcus are fighting because of a woman.
Gaius contra hostem pugnat. = Gaius fights against the enemy.
Gaius et Marcus impetum in hostes faciunt. = Gaius and Marcus make an attack against/on the enemy.
Marcus pro rege pugnat. = Marcus fights on behalf of the king.
Lucia in aquā stat. = Lucia stands in the water.
Paula in aquam cadit. = Paula falls into the water.
Paula aquam de/a/e flumine portat. = Paula carries water from the river.
Navis circum mundum navigat. = The ship sails around the world.
Puellae circum mensam currunt. = The girls run around the table.
Romani super vias antiquas stant. = The Romans stand upon the ancient ways/ do things the old-fashioned way.
Aqua est super caput meum. = The water is over my head.
ante meridiem (a.m.) = before noon
post meridiem (p.m.) = after noon
Cur ante ostium stas? = Why are you standing in front of the door?
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. = After this, therefore because of this.
Ante victoriam ne canas triumphum. = You should not sing your triumph song before the victory. (Latin proverb; i.e., don’t count your chickens before they hatch)
Thank you once more for following along with these lessons. It has been nearly a year, and we are roughly at the 2nd checkpoint of our “tree”. In the near future we’ll cover time and numbers. Bonam fortunam omnibus vobis!
Next lesson: Time, lesson 1