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  5. "Puer litteris studet."

"Puer litteris studet."

Translation:The boy studies literature.

August 28, 2019



Litteris is in the dative. Studere is one of those verbs that takes indirect objects (datives) when we English speakers would expect a direct object.


But dative hasn't (formally) been introduced here yet in the Tips, let alone the plural declension. It might confuse the beginner?? I think many people read the Tips first before going to the lesson.


Can confirm, I'm a beginner and not knowing about dative is very frustrating, especially because I've only just started learning accusative, now I have to learn both because "study" is here. I mean, I'm not lazy and I'll still go for it, but it's still a little frustrating.


Can second this. It's frustrating that there's nothing about dative in tips and I just need to deduce it.


I agree. I am getting totally confused. Sometimes I get things right by a fluke, but recently am getting at least 2 mistakes per lesson. I have bought a couple of books to see if they will help but so far no luck. I don't want to give up but am having to force myself to do it every day at the moment.

[deactivated user]

    Where exactly are these "tips" located? I don't have any in the browser version.


    I've only been doing it on my Android phone and I've never come across that lightbulb. I've completed 5 circles with all their lessons so far.

    • 2604

    If you can't find the tips and notes on your device, you can use the following website:



    Litteris is in the dative

    Isn't this because the literal meaning of studet is "directs himself TOWARDS", "applies himself TO" (the extension of the latter into something like today's "he studies" being a Late, or Medieval, Latin development)?


    Is there a rationale behind it? What other verbs or kinds of verbs do this?

    • 2604

    Yes. It is the dative and not the accusative because "studeo, studere" literally means "to direct one's attention to" or "to be diligent in".


    There was another sentence in this skill that does the same thing. One of the challenges is that the concept expressed in Latin here is expressed differently in English unless I've misunderstood something.


    Okay, but litteris is plural dative. How do you explain that?


    In the singular, it just means letter, graph In the plural it also means literature.


    As in English 'a woman/man of letters' :)


    Perhaps also accept "letters" (I know in the plural littera can be literature, but can also simply be a plural for letters, since it is a boy doing this, my thought jumped right to children learning the alphabet.)


    I thought the same given the context. Additionally, I thought that littera (singular) was an individual character (letter), and litterae (plural) was a piece of "writing" (and more specifically a letter). I donʻt think I would have jumped to literature for "litterae" as my first guess. I just havenʻt seen it used that way yet. (Iʻve mostly been exposed to latin text books, so it could be that my experience is too limited...)


    Absolutely, that is how Grammarians such as Priscian use litteras.


    "A boy studies literature" was marked incorrect and corrected to "The boy studies literature"

    • 2604

    Next time that happens, flag it and report "My answer should be accepted."


    I do not understand how literature is an indirect object, as opposed to a direct object. According to https://www.englishgrammar.org/direct-indirect-objects-2/, "The direct object is the receiver of the action mentioned in the sentence." In asking the question what does the boy (the subject) study? The answer, the boy studies literature. Wouldn't literature, then, be a direct object, and thus need to be in the accusative case? The indirect object identifies the person/thing for whom/what the action of the verb is performed. Also taken from https://www.englishgrammar.org/direct-indirect-objects-2/ "The indirect object is usually a person or thing. Study the examples given below. My mother bought me a necklace. (Indirect object – me; direct object – necklace) John told Peter a story. (Indirect object – Peter; direct object – story)"

    Any help you can offer to help my understanding would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. In attempting to learn latin, I am learning how little I understand about even English grammar.

    • 2604

    It's the difference in how the two languages frame things. In English, study can be a transitive verb. In Latin, however, the literal meaning of "studere" is more like "to dedicate oneself to" or "to direct one's attention to" or "to be diligent in", as explained elsewhere on this page. That is why "studere" takes the dative and not the accusative.


    Puer litterís studet.


    I'm quoting Spanish Wiktionary entry:

    4 Dedicarse a los libros, las ciencias, los estudios, estudiar. (=Dedicate oneself to books, sciences, studies, to study)

    Uso: se emplea también como transitivo. (=Use: it is also used as transitive > accusative)

    Source quoted: Glare, P. G. W. (editor, 1983) Oxford Latin Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press


    I'm confused about when to use 'studet' or 'student'

    • 2604

    The general, broad pattern for regular verbs in the present active indicative is

    pronoun verb suffix
    ego -o
    tu -s
    id -t
    nos -mus
    vos -tis
    ea -nt

    I see a stupid mnemonic:
    original soundtrack
    must, isn't



    I wish there were tips in the app (using Android here). Having to come to the comments to learn 'after the fact' helps, but some forwarning of these sorts of things could help more


    In Latin the verb is always at the end of the sentence


    Oh no, someone should tell the Romans that! They've been putting the verb in all different locations! ;)

    In all seriousness, the verb is more often at the end than anywhere else, but it can be found anywhere.

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