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  5. "Num Corinna sola habitat?"

"Num Corinna sola habitat?"

Translation:Surely Corinna does not live alone?

August 27, 2019



For the translation, do we really need to add "surely" every time for the sentence structure with "num"? Can we just say something like "Doesn't Corinna live alone?" or "Corinna doesn't live alone, does she?" (and don't call me Surely).

Edit: I think "of course (not)" would also work for the translation of "num". What do you think?


"Doesn't Corinna live alone?" lacks the expectation of a negative answer that num requires, but "Corinna doesn't live alone, does she?" should be accepted.


Thanks for the explanation!

So I can understand NUM poses the English TAG QUESTIONS, is that true?

Yet, your answer made think how badly I have been studying this Latin course since I try to gasp the language patterns solely based on the exercises, and never going to the tips-and-notes session. This is something I will fix from the next unit on.


I blelieve it is not quite a tag question. See this on tag questions. http://www.grammar.cl/Intermediate/Question_Tags.htm

Here are examples of a Duo tag question from the Spanish course.

"Nosotras deberíamos leer las instrucciones, ¿cierto?" (We should read the instructions, shouldn't we?)

"Tú puedes mejorar tus calificaciones, ¿no?" (You can improve your grades, can't you?)

Notice what is tagged on at the end of each sentence.


There's no tag question in the Latin, but that doesn't mean that using a tag question in the English translation would be wrong. Where Latin uses a particle "num" to signal that a negative answer is expected, unstilted modern English uses tag questions. They serve the same purpose.

There are plenty of cases in Duolingo where the sentence structure doesn't align perfectly (or at all) between two languages. There are many examples far more egregious than this, where literal word-for-word translation is sacrificed for the sake of natural expression. Using the "doesn't...does she?" structure here would be a mild and totally reasonable instance of that, imo.

At any rate, Allen & Greenough's Latin Grammar translates "num" questions with English tag questions, so there's certainly traditional precedent for it:

Num dubium est? (Rosc. Am. 107) There is no doubt, is there?


Yes, my friend, that's right. Thank you!


It has nothing to do with being a tag question like in English. As it doesn't exist in Latin. So, you cannot compare.

You cannot compare Spanish and Latin for the ""Tú puedes mejorar tus calificaciones, ¿no?"" as Latin lacks somewhat of short ways to say "no". This structure is not applicable to Latin.

But Num and Nonne are really like English tags.

You study Italian, do you?

= means in English, I'm convinced that the person really study Italian, or I want to direct the question in one direction: the "yes" direction.

So, it's 100% exactly like the Latin "Nonne".

For "don't you?. It's exactly the meaning of the Latin "Num".

Remember that translating is not making a calque of the words from a language to another one, it's reaching the closest meaning you can, trying to not add additional meanings, or removing meanings. That's all. If they translated your Corean series with words of the same grammatical nature only, you would have a hard time to understand what they mean.


Be careful, though, with the English versions.

Expecting the answer yes (the Latin one with Nonne), you really have to couple the tag "don't you" with a positive-sounding question: You like ice cream, don't you? (expected answer: Of course I do!!) Or, "You study Italian, don't you?"

Expecting the answer No, the one in Latin that uses Num, you'll have: You don't like spinach, do you?! (Expected answer: No, of course I don't like spinach!) disclaimer--I personally love spinach; but I imagine these questions being asked of small children.


No. In English grammar a negative tag question demands a positive reply and vice versa. Thus, num is a marker that demands a negative reply - "No." Just sharing information. Smile.


Have you ever seen the movie "Airplane!"?


All the threads for "num" questions make that exact reference.


Yep! I've seen Airplane. "Stop calling me Shirley"


I've just checked that using TAG QUESTION in "Corinna surely doesn't live alone, does she?" was not accepted, BUT "Corinna surely doesn't live alone?" was accepted; and despite the same sense, using SURELY inside the sentence makes much more sense to me.


It is because they want you to be forced to consider "num" as a question-word. But your question seems to call also a negative answer, so it's probably okay too.


The problem is that it is not a tag question. See my observation elsewhere, above.


"Num" and "Nonne" in Latin, can be considered as some kind of questions-tags, they are not at the end of the sentence, but at the beginning, as real question-words, but the important part is their ability to modulate the meaning and the sense of the answer. So, in the meaning, it's the same thing.

Num = I expect a negative answer.
Very often a question-tag is used in English to express it.

Nonne = I expect an affirmative answer.
Very often, a question-tag is also used in English to express that.
Do you? Right? Etc...
The one who asks the question want the other one to answer "yes".

So, they are the same.


Yes, my friend, that's right. Thank you!


How about "Corinna doesn't live alone, does she?"


Yes, I keep trying this, too. "Surely" really isn't something I say every day; it seems quite stilted. The "doesn't ... , does she?" structure is an idiomatic way of showing that you're "expecting the answer NO."


I agree entirely. The "doesn't ... , does she?" structure serves very well to translate sentences with num. I use this structure regularly in everyday speech. I very rarely use "Surely", and the way it is being used in this translation and others in this section feels very unnatural to me.


I'm sure the course contributors know that. But they wrote this structure to teach us.

It shows us better, that:

  • Num is used as a question word.
  • Num has a role of a negation, so no other negation is the sentence.

Surely not" (=num) she lives alone. Very literal, but very efficient to learn.

When I say "it has a role of negation", I mean, in the English translation. The "surely not" is more about a strong negative probability, and so = a strong probability of a negative answer.

And it's the more important here. Question with "num" = strong probability (according to the one who asks the question) to get a negative answer.

The fact to have this Latin meaning, is more important than having a sentence that we could say everyday. Anyway, in English, we don't use everyday a question with a strong probability of negative answer, that's a Latin thing.


The 'surely' is a necessary marker of incredulity which in the sentence given would elicit the emphatic answer NO, as you have indicated. Puts me in mind of Victor Meldrew and his catchphrase of 'I don't believe it!' in One Foot in the Grave.


I've been trying to get them to accept this, too. It is correct.


Regards: "Corinna doesn't live alone, does she?" That is a tag question. Just not a good translation of the Latin. See the Duo tip for this lesson. https://www.duolingo.com/skill/la/places/tips-and-notes Reading the tips makes the lesson so much easier.

See my comentary/ explanation above on Tag Questions


Corinna DOES live alone, and don't call me Shirley!


in Latdic.net explains it this way:

NUM adverb Definitions: 1. if, whether 2. now, surely not, really, then (asking question expecting neg)


It's "now" only when used with "etiam". Most of the time, it's the negative-meaning-question-word, like here.


"Corinna doesn't live alone, does she?" should be accepted. It's a clear parallel to this Wiktionary example:

Num Sparta insula est? -- Sparta's not an island, is it?


How about, "Does Corinna really live alone?" as a question that 'clearly expects the answer NO.' (see discussion below about "she doesn't ..., does she?" as another way to avoid using the stilted 'surely')


"Really" would mean you could be surprised if the answer was yes, so, yes, it's probably another way to say it, but the course probably prefer you use the negative form.
Or maybe, your construction is a bit too ambiguous, and the "surely not" is even more negative.


For me, it's just an issue about avoiding the use of "surely." ("And don't call me 'Shirley' !"--from the Airplane! movie.) So, it surely sounds funny to some of us, and that's why I'm trying to expand the acceptable options.


I agree, Suzanne. It baffles me that they seem stuck on this one translation. I've reported it multiple multiple times.


I agree on this too. Btw, nice Yahoo Avatar :D


Why avoiding "surely"? Shirley is a nice name!
It's not the best translation maybe, but the Latin Num is unstranlatable in English anyway.

"Does Corinna really live alone?" will be less efficient than their translation, as it can accept a "yes" or a "no", it's too ambiguous, and the "really" include in the sentence another meaning, that would be very confusing. Letting people think that "num" is "really".

"Surely not" sounds like a weak probability to me (= a strong negative possibility). "Really" is like a doubt about a particular term of the question. They are not the same, and the important part is to convey the strong negative probability meaning.


Some people use "surely". Nothing wrong about that. I suspect it is more likely as an emphasis.


"Sola" is feminine and "solus" is masculine, correct?


Correct; they are the nominative singular forms, for feminine and masculine, used to describe singular subjects. (If we have "I see Corinna alone / only Corinna" it will be Corinnam sōlam videō , where "Corinna alone" are both in the accusative singular feminine; similarly, Marcum sōlum videō .)


Surely Shirley isn't sure that she is surely the unsure Shirley? .. How to say THAT in Latin, DuoLingo? :)


No need to put "non"?


Num has got you covered.


Why it isn't solum but sola?


Sola is a feminine nomin. sing. adjective that describes the (feminine nomin. sing.) subject, Corinna.

If Marcus lives alone: Marcus solus habitat. If only the girls go to school: Puellae solae ad ludum eunt. If only the boys are traveling: Pueri iter faciunt soli.


"Sola is a feminine nomin. sing. adjective that describes the (feminine nomin. sing.) subject, Corinna."

See, that makes sense, but... what's got me really confused here is the idea that sola is even supposed to be an adjective at all. I mean, clearly, it's declining like an adjective, so it must be, but... why is an adverb not used instead? I mean, if it's an adjective that's modifying "Corinna" instead of an adverb that's modifying "habitat", then, surely, the sentence must mean...

"Surely, [the lone Corinna] does not reside"

(^ adjective modifying "Corinna")

... instead of...

"Surely, Corinna does not [live alone]"

(^ adverb modifying "live").


Why is it wrong to put Corinna between the auxiliary verb and its negation as in "surely does Corinna not live alone"? Have I read too many Jane Austen novels?


What auxiliary verb? There is no auxiliary verb in this sentence. There is only one verb in this sentence, and it's not an auxiliary: habitat.


Tor, I guess omniLament is talking about the English version of the sentence.


I used a conjunction and it said i got it wrong


Which conjunction was needed?


Giving the correct answer yet being told it's incorrect?


I had Surely Corinna doesn't live alone. And it counted it as a wrong answer


You do need to phrase it as a question, though: adding the "does she?" indicates that you're asking for the listener's agreement.


"Sola" is pronounced wrong


Why is there a question mark in the end of the phrase if the translation is not supposed to be a question?


This sounds more like a declarative sentence; so why does it end with a questionmark?


Minime! Corinna cum Johanne Carolo Primo Hispaniae Rege habitat


What is the difference between solus and sola?


The difference is the masculine and feminine, i.e., "Julius solus domi habitat." and "Livia sola domi habitat."


I don't think the instructions state that the adverb has to follow the verb. I was surprised that habitat sola was wrong.


sola is an adjective, not an adverb.


why does not ?


Because of "num" (if you replace it with "nonne" it would be opposite - without the negation).


Num is negative and translate with "not" in the English sentence, as there's no way to translate it literally in English. Num = "surelynot"

It's because the sentence expect a negative answer, but it's very hard to translate it in English. They chose the "surely-not" way.


Can't see how this question is a negative.


"Num" makes it negative. Like a "surely not".
Even if it's not good English grammar: "Surely not" (=num) she lives alone? She must not lives alone, does she?


These "num" sentences doesn't make much sense...


They do, the default translation pattern is somewhat clumsy. The better one would be Corinna doesn't live alone, does she?


Does it always need the punctuation?


No punctuation needed.


No punctuation in Latin. No coma, and no full stop.

But all the sentences glued together, it's not our habit to read, it's really hard to read, and I don't know how Romans could.



The first Spanish grammar mostly used stops instead of spacing. Almost unreadable.


It's not as difficult as you would think, given regular practice. I started by reading continuous script Greek manuscripts and found that after about two weeks of exposure it came naturally.


So, let's add some unneeded difficulty to the course?
Of course it is possible because they get accustomed to.k But personally, I don't want to read all glued words. I prefer to focus on Latin learning.


I translated the sentence exactly correct..you said it was an error.


Please, take a screenshot, and post it in the troubleshooting section of the forum. Or fill a bug report. It's not useful here, as they won't read.


Hello duo. You are marking exactly correct answers as errors. "Surely Corinna does not live alone"


"Certainly, Corinna does not live alone?" was not accepted.


I'm finding it very difficult to have the motivation to continue this course when I quickly lose all of my hearts on questions they have not yet equipped me to answer. I would find tips for grammar/case rules very helpful.


Maybe this can help a little?

Use nominative Corinna (sōla) when "Corinna (alone)" DOES something, or IS something; in other words, if she's the SUBJECT of the verb, and you'd use "she" to replace the name:

Corinna sōla habitat = Corinna lives alone. (SHE lives ...)

Corinna sōla est laeta = Corinna alone is happy. (SHE is ...)

We see Corinna alone in the road: Corinnam sōlam in viā vidēmus . Here, she's in the accusative case (one of the OBJECT cases), because someone else ("We") are doing something to HER ("seeing her").

Latin is complicated, in that it has three different cases (= forms of the noun) for various object functions (which are all the same in English: HER):

We tell Corinna the story / We tell the story to Corinna, where (TO) HER is an indirect object: Fābulam Corinnae nārrāmus : dative case.

We make a journey WITH Corninna: Iter cum Corinnā facimus , where preposition CUM requires a form called ablative case. (Other prepositions require the accusative, however: Ad Corinnam currimus , We run towards Corinna.)

There's the vocative case, for when we talk to her directly: "Hurry, Corinna!" Festīnā, Corinna!. For her type (1st declension) of name, the nominative and vocative are identical.

Finally, possessive (= genitive case). Haec est vīlla Corinnae , "This is Corinna's house."

Explanations are definitely needed.


Why not Corinna does not live alone, surely


Would "Corinna doesn't live alone?" classify as correct? It expresses surprise, but is that enough to warrant the use of "num"?


Why is my response not accepted, when I submit "Surely Corrina does not live alone?"

That's the direct translation, with punctuation. Argh!


My phone autocorrected "Corinna" to "Corrina" as well, and i didn't notice it for days. Given that there's no other meaning of Corrina in Latin that I'm aware of, it should definitely be counted as a spelling error rather than a wrong answer.


Just add the name to your dictionary, you type on the word, you reply "yes" when they say "do you want to add it to your custom dictionary", and next time, it won't autocorrect this way. It's easy.

For other words, deactivate your autocorrection, or add a Latin keyboard app, or dictionary for keyboards.


If I misspell Corinna as Corrina can it please count as a typo instead of me being wrong


Agreed! I do the same thing every time! I am learning Latin not names!


If you are so sure, why do you ask the question?


Maybe you hear someone else talking as if it's known that "Corinna lives alone." But perhaps you've seen that there's someone else coming and going from her house--so you ask this question in a way that suggests they're crazy (or ill-informed) for thinking that she lives alone.


Is it a question or an affirmative sentence?


It's a question. The one who asks it thinks he knows that it's not true, and so he poses the question using the particle Num, which 'expects the answer "NO" '.


Minime! Corinna cum Johanne Carolo Primo Hispaniae Rege habitat.


Because I spelled her name wrong?


Yes. Only because of this.


I feel like the spelling of the proper name Corinna shouldn't matter in the listening exercise. Corrina vs Corinna.


Yah, you are right. Because I only use Duolingo on my computer, I've just created a "hotstring" to correctly spell Corinna whenever I type Corrina. ^_^~


Same problem again. I interpreted the sentence correctly and duo marked it error


Did you mispell Corinna as Corrina? I keep doing that and its annoying because I got all the latin correct but I misspelled the name. I think they should count that as a typo in your answer instead of it being wrong.


How come adverbs decline according to gender?


Sola is not an adverb. It's from the adjective solus, meaning alone / by oneself.


Think of seul/seule in French = adjective.
How do you know it's an adjective? It qualifies the person. The person is alone. It doesn't qualify the verb.

That's true, in English, "alone" is considered as both, as an adverb and an adjective (according to Cambridge dictionary), but the logics in different in different languages.


From what I remember, everything in Latin has to agree....


No, adverbs don't agree, like in the Romance languages. You studied Spanish and French I see in your flags list, it's the same.


Oooh! No Latin flag yet in my header (and no idea why the order is what it is. They're not in any order can see).

EDIT: several hours later...and there it is:o)


Pretty sure you would use "num" but you would use "nonne"

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