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  5. "Would you like red wine?"

"Would you like red wine?"

Translation:Velisne vinum rubrum?

August 29, 2019



Visne or Vultisne, please. Classical Latin does not use the subjunctive to ask polite questions as we do in English.


What do 'visne' and 'vultisne' indicate?


Vīsne is a singular "Do you want?", and vultisne is the corresponding plural. So we can tell whether one person (vīsne) or more than one person (vultisne) is being addressed.


"Vinum rubrum velisne" is marked wrong; does the word order matter here?


Yes, word order matters in a question, because you want the question-marker to appear 'up front,' immediately. We start with "Cūr?" (why) or "Quis?" (who) or other question words; and therefore, when asking a Yes/No question, you need to put the marker -ne on the first word in the sentence, normally the verb.


The order matters, and it's preferable to put "Velisne" in the begining, as it has the -ne enclitic on, and it's the verb.

But it's absolutely not a rule. Grammar books say that the word hosting the -ne is commonly found in the first place, but it can be moved to change the emphasis. And the -ne could be on another word, as it change the word where is the question.

As it's a beginner courses here, it's preferable.


Rubrum vinum and vinum rubrum are the same thing ya'll.


"Desiderasne" was not accepted. Is it only looking for "volo, velle" here?


Could you say, "Vinum rubrum velis?"


The word order is okay, but you do need the -ne on the end of the first word to indicate the question aspect.


I disagree with that.

Look at here:

  1. The enclitic is usually on the verb.
    But usually doesn't mean always.

A question of simple fact, requiring the answer yes > or no, is formed by adding the enclitic -ne to the emphatic word

Tūne id veritus es Did you fear that?

"Tu" is not a verb here, but a pronoun, with -ne, -> Tune
Meaning is it you.

Hīcine vir usquam nisi in patriā moriētur?
Shall this man die anywhere but in his native land?

Hicine is not a verb neither.

Is tibi mortemne vidētur aut dolōrem timēre?
Does he seem to you to fear death or pain?

"Mortem" is not a verb, but a noun. -> Mortemne

  1. The enclitic is usually on the first word of the sentence.
    But usually doesn't mean always.

See the example already given "Is tibi mortemne vidētur aut dolōrem timēre?"

-ne is not in the first place, here.


Yes, I think the "question via intonation" option should be considered here: "Vinum rubrum vis?"


In Allen & Greenough's Latin Grammar, I read: "The interrogative particle -ne is sometimes omitted:-- "patere tua consilia non sentis (Cat. i. 1), _ do you not see that your schemes are manifest? (you do not see, eh?) _ NOTE.--In such cases, as no sign of interrogation appears, it is often doubtful whether the sentence is a question or an ironical statement." (A & G, par. 332 a)


Yes, but the problem is that we don't know if Romans spoke like that, skipping the -ne and with only the intonation (it's probable, why not, but no proof).

In texts, the -ne is always there, because no "?", no "." , so, it's the only way to know it's a question. Mandatory when we write.



You replied yourself:

"In such cases, as no sign of interrogation appears, it is often doubtful whether the sentence is a question or an ironical statement."

It makes a perfect answer. They omit it stylistically, but if we want to mean a question (not stylistically expressing a doubt or an irony), we have to use it.

It looks like what we use in French as a rhetorical question to express irony. A question that is not a question.


No, because then you are stating "You like red wine".


It didn't accept "vinum rubrum velisne?"


But the strategy of using -ne, to set up a "yes/no" question, is to bring it to the interlocutor's attention as quickly as possible.

This means you must put the -ne at the beginning of the question, commonly on the verb, which thus goes first: Vīsne vīnum rubrum? (I personally don't think we need the subjunctive velīs here.)


How can I understand what "you" means? Tu? Vos? I don't know!


Both of them are correct. Tu is for one person and vos is for more than one person.


Yes, just match the pronouns up with their respective verb forms, and you'll be fine.

Tū goes with a verb form that ends in -s: (tū) vīs, or velīs.

Vōs goes with a verb form that ends in -tis: (vōs) vultis, or velītis.

(These endings go for all tenses except the perfect, which hasn't been studied yet.)


You can just always use "tu". It won't be a mistake

  • 2619

No, because "tu" and "vos" take different verb forms, among other things.


Isn't the verb at the end of the sentence in latin?


Often, in asking a question, the verb (possibly carrying the marker -ne?) is put first.

Vidēs ut altā stet nive candidum Soracte, ...? "Do you see how Mt. Soracte stands, white from deep snow, ...?" is how one of Horace's Odes begins.


Why can't we say "vinem"? Shouldn't the wine be in the accusative?


Thanks. I'm a Latin noob. :)

  • 2619

Then have my copypasta:

Here is a plain-English overview of what the cases are and how they work:
Latin cases, in English

Here are the declension charts:
declensions 1-3
declensions 4&5

Adjectives must agree in gender, number, and case with the nouns they modify, but they have their own declensions. Sometimes you get lucky and the adjective just happens to follow the same declension as the noun, but that is not a guarantee.

For good measure, here are the verb conjugation charts:
Latin verb forms


I see. I was confusing second declension neuter with third declension neuter. Thank you!


(Notice that 3rd declension neuter will NEVER use the ending -em!

That's a 3rd decl accus sing ending for masculine and feminine forms only.

The 3rd decl neuters use the exact same ending for both nominative singular and accusative singular (that's what neuters do!):

so, corpus, corporis , n., body:

one and the same corpus is both the nomin sing and the accus sing.

-em goes on masc or fem nouns like patrem, mātrem, arborem, vōcem , etc. )


Thanks for the correction Suzanne!

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