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  5. "Comes pisces in pavimentum i…

"Comes pisces in pavimentum iacit."

Translation:The comrade throws the fish onto the floor.

September 8, 2019



Shouldn't "comes" also be translatable as "friend" and/or "ally"? I don't hear "comrade" used very much these days, except when parodying communism.


It means "companion" and also "friend", but I think the creators wanted to make this sound more like part of a conversation between/about soldiers or something. I'm sure they'd still accept "friend" as another valid alternative, though the actual word for "friend" is amicus, -ae.


I used "friend" and it was not accepted, so I think they must want very specific translations for words like socius, comes, amicus, etc.



Comes = cum (« with ») + eo (« to go»). = to go with

Companion: From French "compagnion" "compagne" (also co-pain, copine), meaning literally the person with who I share my bread (=the person with who I spend time, share friendship or live)

Con/com (from Latin cum, with) + Pain(g), from Latin panis (bread)

Maybe it's because a companion is not exactly a friend?

I understand if they prefer to translate amicus = friends (same etymology than ami, amigo, etc...)
and comes with companion/comrade.

Comrade via French Camarade, from Spanish "camarada", there's no word in English to describe this (chambrée), but it's the total of the person in a bedroom, implied in a military building, or board school, or a youth hostel, or anything like this. = friendship between who shares the room. Very close of companion.


In English we say 'roommate.'


In Spanish the word is "compañero"


Impossible for "friend". In chinese they say Tóngzhì. In Russian товарищ. In communism they say kinda delicacy. In English it must be comrade :-)


I so keep wanting to write pavement rather than floor. As a Brit it is great fun seeing all these words and where our words came from. Pisces as in the horoscope fish too!


I'm not a Brit, but I agree. Love learning where our words came from!


Pavement, no, because the pavement is outside the house, and this is inside.

But tiled floor would be better than floor, IMHO.
Because it's the meaning in dictionaries.

I guess that every normal Roman house or temple floors were tiles at the times (wood, clay, stone...), so it probably meant finally just (inside)"floor".

Pavement is from French Pavement/Pavé, meaning made of tiles, like the Latin where it comes from, Pavimentum, because pavements were made like this in the past (concrete pavement tiles).


It is interesting to learn where it comes from. Tiled floor is probably better but it just semantics, I was commenting really that it made me think of it and I did put it as an incorrect answer. I am really enjoying this and learning lots! The helpful comments are useful too. We do not tend to think to closely about how words are constructed in English, although the trend is going back to looking at that in more detail once more, but we really should!


For what it's worth, Lewis and Short (1891 edition, p. 1319) gives as its first definition, "a floor composed of small stones, earth, or lime, beaten down with a rammer, a hard floor, a pavement." It later gives, "Also, of the covering of a roof, tiling." The entry suggests that the word derives from the verb "pavio," meaning "to beat, strike."


Gratias--so, no need to think that the ancient pavīmentum has to be outside the house, whatever the modern word "pavement" may suggest to us.


Carthago delenda est


Piscēs in pavīmentum iaciendī sunt !!


Duolingo is making an artificial distinction between on and onto.
In English, I throw the fish on the floor means exactly the same as I throw the fish onto the floor, and is in fact, more idiomatic


I throw the fish on the floor is more ambiguous. It can mean either that the fish end up on the floor, as here, or that you are standing on the floor when you throw them. Perhaps stretching it a bit. But the Latin is unambiguous. This distinction is esp important because in in the sense of onto takes an accusative, and in in the sense of on takes the dative. It is thus important to learn at an early date that the case of the object of the preposition "in" can be either acc or dative, and what the implications are of each.


Correction: no preposition ever takes the dative case, in Latin; the choice is between accusative and ablative . in + ablative = in, on; in + accusative = into, onto.


You're right; there is a tendency in Latin to stick to in + accus (also sub, under, + accus) when there is obviously motion involved, and save the in + abl for location; but that's not hard-and-fast, either (tho' we certainly teach it that way to students!).


I wrote "fish" not "the fish" and this was not accepted, although it is perfectly good English, and in fact was used by Duoloingo just a couple of sentences previously.

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That might have been an oversight on the part of the volunteer course contributors. They manually curate each prompt's answer database individually. Next time something like this happens please flag it and report "My answer should be accepted."

But from now on, please either copy and paste or screenshot your full answer so we can confirm that you didn't have any errors or typos you didn't notice.


Why is it pavimentum and not pavimento here? Im not getting a sense of when to use one vs the other


When the verb implies MOTION to/towards/onto/into ("throwing fish onto the floor"), the preposition in requires an accusative ending on the noun.

When the verb implies LOCATION in/on the floor (as if we had "fish are lying on the floor"), the preposition in requires an ablative ending on the noun.


Yes, exactly! Different prepositions in Latin take different cases - e.g. 'ad' takes the accusative, or 'sine' takes the ablative. 'in' is a weird one, in that it takes both cases, but each case gives 'in' a slightly different meaning, as Suzanne explains so well above :0)


So 'pavimentum' is the accusative and 'pavimento' is the ablative? What's the nominative?


It's a neuter noun, i.e., one of the type that makes no distinction between nominative and accusative.

So, pavīmentum is both nominative and accusative, as is typical of neuter nouns.

EDIT: I should say, as is STANDARD for / REQUIRED of neuter nouns (their nomin. and accus. cases are always identical).


Why it can't be "a fish" but needs to be "the fish"? I assume both should be fine, right?

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"Pisces" is plural. You can only use "a" with a singular noun.



Why exactly did the comrade want to throw a fish onto the floor? I'm going to do something insane and whack the wall with a baseball bat.


WITH a baseball bat: I don't know how to say that in Latin, but I do know that it will be in the ablative case! (a good example of the "ablative of means or instrument," and since a baseball bat is a THING (and not a person), it won't require a preposition for "with," in Latin)


Who is this comrade? Ivan Ivanovich Chernov?


How would I know that "Comes" is singular, when it ends in "-s"?


You would know that comes is a singular noun (nominative case) only by seeing a dictionary listing for the noun, which is: comes, comitis, m/f, comrade.

There are 3rd decl. nouns that end in (short) es in the nominative singular, including mīles, mīlitis, m., soldier (used in this course), also hospes, hospitis, m/f, guest/host, guest-friend, family friend; and I'm sure many more. (There are also some with a (long) es ending in the nominative, like fēlēs, fēlis, f., cat; nūbēs, nūbis, f., cloud.)

Lots of singular nominatives end in -s, in Latin: all those 2nd decl. -us words like Marcus, Stephanus, cibus, hortus, servus, patrōnus, etc.


Non necesse est mihi elemosinas habere!!

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Rideo! :-D


I wrote throws on the floor and it came back onto?

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In casual conversation we don't really observe the difference between "on" and "onto" quite so much anymore, but technically it is "onto" the floor. This is reflected in the fact that "pavimentum" is in the accusative.

To use a more obvious example where we're more likely to distinguish between "on" and "onto":

The child jumps on the bed.
The child is on the bed and is jumping up and down.

The child jumps onto the bed.
The child stands on the floor, leaps, and lands on the bed.

Since the fish traveled from your hand to the floor, you threw the fish onto the floor.


Wait, here it's pisces but in another sentence it's piscem, how come?

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Pisces is the plural nominative/accusative, piscem is the singular accusative.


Why is 'on the floor' sometimes rendered 'in pavementum' and sometimes 'in pavemento'?


I would compare it to English: I can say either, "He got a running start and leaped INTO the pool," or "He got a running start and leaped IN the pool."

The "into" variant seems to lay stress upon the moment of entry via (violent) motion; the "in" variant seems rather to stress where the jumper landed up.

Latin has in + accusative when the "motion INTO" is being stressed; and in + ablative when the "position IN" is being stressed. (The preposition sub also has this distinction: to place something under = sub + accus., but location under = sub + ablative.)

The entry under in in the Oxford Latin Dictionary is dauntingly long. But there's a section, right where in + ablative begins (definition # 24 e, "after verbs implying motion,"), that cites an example from Cicero: ānulum ... in marī abiēcerat , "he had thrown the ring IN the sea." That's definitely an "in + ablative" example (the accusative of mare is mare , since it's a neuter noun).

So, though we may teach our students the distinction between in + accus. (involving motion) and in + abl. (involving position), we have to admit that the language allowed for both possibilities in any given instance. (As seems to be paralleled, in English.)


this comment reminds me of my delight when studying German (which I did before Latin) in the neat (similar to Latin) distinction between "he walks in the room" in the accusative and the dative - "in" + accusative would mean he enters the room; "in" + dative would mean he is walking around inside the room. I suppose your "he jumps in the water" with ablative could be taken to mean he is already in the water, and jumping up and down.


Not my comrade.


Bit of an odd sentence.


Pisces is accusative plural, not singular. So, it's "The comrade throw the fishes onto the floor" !


Yes; it's plural pisces; but in English we usually use the plural "fish" for the noun "fish." (Just like "sheep" and "deer".) . You can say "fishes," for the plural, but it sounds (delightfully) old-fashioned. The verb (3rd per. sing.) has to be "throws," though.

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"Fishes" is not old-fashioned. It's used when talking about different species/populations of fish.


OK, but I think one can say that "fishes" is (also) an archaic plural form, for what's normally called "fish" (plural) today.


Oh, interesting, I ignored that – actually, when I think about it, this is the same in French (my maternal language). Sorry for the -s I forgot in the verb ^^' – a stupid mistake indeed


As a native speaker I hate having to write comrade rather than friend. I'm being forced to do something that is nonsensical.


How is that nonsensical? Comrade was a old war term, meaning colleague or ally.


Could we have fishes here (w and w/o the definite article) since pisces is plural?


It could if it were several kind of fishes in the Latin sentence.
Just to mean the plural of fish, without changing the meaning, it's only "fish" in English.


But we don't have a context.

These sentences where the Latin is plural and the English is singular confuse me all the time, and I don't know if I should report them...


It's not a matter of context, it's a matter of meaning in the Latin sentence.

In English, fish has two meaning, when it's "fish", it means either one fish, or several fish.

When it's "fishes" it means several kinds of fish.

That's not the case in Latin for the latter, as "piscis" is a regular name, like a house, or a dog, not an uncountable.

Imagine you take an English word, countable.
For instance, "animal".

If you have an animal, it means an animal, any kind (as a category name).
If you have two animals, it means two animals, any kind.

Not several kinds of animals. (it could be only one kind of animals, or several kinds, both.)

There's no difference between the singular and the plural, in the meaning, as it's not a special uncountable name.

In Latin, piscis is like "animal", or "dog" or whatever that is countable in English, no additional special meaning.

To avoid confusion: look the verb is/are, to understand if it's singular fish or plural fish.

But it's never fishes (unless the Latin sentence tells us clearly it is, not in an implied way).


"on to" - two words

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