"Would you like bread?"
I wrote 'Panem velisne', and was marked wrong. Does this mean that if you add 'ne' to a verb to make it interrogative, you must place it at the beginning of the sentence in all circumstances? For example, if I wanted to emphasise the bread, as in would you like bread rather than, say, biscuits, I still shouldn't put bread first in the sentence?
If you want to emphasize the bread, you could start the question with Panemne vis? ("Is it the bread that you want?", in effect) . The -ne doesn't have to be added only to a verb; but it should be added to the first word in the sentence (to give the interlocutor the cue, "I'm asking a question here").
Right. I was initially thinking it wanted me to guess what number the English "you" was, so I was confused that it wanted plural; but then I realized it wanted the answer in subjunctive for some reason instead of indicative, which I'm guessing is a snag due to the course still being in beta. Latin doesn't use the subjunctive to ask questions (like English sometimes does).
Hurray! "Visne" is now accepted!
2 weeks later: BUT "Panem vis?" is not accepted. OK, we need to put a -ne on one of the words. (But I expect in very informal situations people used intonation rather than 'formal interrogative structures' to ask each other if they wanted the bread.)
But panis is the subject-only form of the noun, that can only be used in a sentence like "The bread is good" (Panis bonus est) or "Bread is on the table" (Panis est in mensa).
When "bread" is the object (i.e., someone wants the bread , or cooks or buys it), you must use the form panem , because the noun belongs to the 3rd declension, that is to say, it's a noun that uses the ending -em to form its accusative singular (and accusative case = the direct object function, among other functions).
In the sentence "Do you want bread?" (or "Would you like bread?"), the subject is "you" (subject = who/what does the action of the verb), because "you" "want" the bread. Given that "bread" is what you want, "bread" here is the direct object of the verb "want," and "you" = the subject of "want." Therefore, "you" is in the nominative case, "bread" is in the accusative case.
Thank you for this explanation, but I'm having trouble fully understanding what things like "declension" or "accusitive" or ''nomitive" mean in context. I see them thrown around a lot as explanation, but it does little too clarify.
Is there a quick and dirty way to explain the differences? Like, why, for example, is it "Ubi est panis" and not "panem" in that case?
I hope it's okay if I use English examples in the explanation.
Declension: a group of nouns that all make their different forms according to the same pattern. In English, we could say that book (plural: books) belongs to a different declension from mouse (plural: mice); and that man/woman (plurals: men/women) belong to still a different declension (or group or set).
In Latin, puella and villa are "1st declension," Marcus, patronus and servus are "2nd declension," and pater, mater, urbs, cliens, miles are "3rd declension."
Nominative = the form of a noun used as subject of the verb. "Where is the bread?" is a sentence about where the bread is located: the verb is "is" and the subject of "is" is "bread." So, the 3rd declension noun panis is in the nominative case.
(English nominative equivalents are the subject forms of the pronouns, like he, she, I, we, you, they . We can't say "Him go to the store," it's "HE goes to the store.")
Accusative is the form of the noun when it's a particular kind of object: object of certain prepositions (like ad, per, in meaning "into"), and also direct object of the verb: WHAT they see/buy/want/ consume/destroy, etc. (There are also other cases for different kinds of objects: other prepositions require ablative objects, and the dative case is used for the indirect object of the verb: I give the money to them , for example.)
If someone bakes or buys or eats the bread, bread will be the accusative direct object of the verb: Coquus panem facit, the cook is making the bread (so panem is the 3rd decl. accusative singular form of the noun, in this sentence).
English accusative equivalents are our object forms of the pronouns: him, her, me, us, them . Note that the pronouns you and it are ambiguous: same forms used for both subject and object functions: I love you (direct object); you (subject) love me.
Let me know if that's 'quick and dirty' enough.
Gratias tibi quoque! Your comment really makes my day! I'm sorry not to have any links to share, though, and hope someone more internet-savvy will step up and supply the need. (I always recommend my old friend, the college-level introductory text by Wheelock, as a good way to see the sweep of Latin grammar taught pretty swiftly, especially if you can find the old editions from the 50s, or 60s before the book got "improved" and bloated to its present size.)
You might find the Wikipedia entry to be helpful https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_grammar#:~:text=Latin%20is%20a%20heavily%20inflected,aspect%2C%20voice%2C%20and%20mood.
accusative, nominative and other ive-words are all grammatical cases that are a bit hard to internalize for speakers of many languages. Though, they exist in English language - they're just harder to notice.
You love me (not I) - accusative (you love whom?)
I gave her a ring (not she) - dative (I gave it to whom?)
Whom did I see? (not who) - accusative
Whither are you going? (not where) - accusative (you go to where?)
Whose child is this (not who) - accusative (of who is this child?)
Few things to point up: 'whom', 'whither' and 'hither' are all kind of rare now and are interchangeable with 'who', 'where' and 'here', and 'whom' has few meanings (give whom (to who), see whom and maybe some else), but you can imagine there are different forms for any case, say: who (nominative)-whose (son of who)- whom (give to who)-whol (i see who)-whob (i think about who)... and people just enjoyed coming up with new grammatical cases :)
I would just point out that whose is a beautiful English example of the genitive case (used for possession and "of" expressions):
Whose book is this? means "I want to know which student this book belongs to." (so, BOOK is the nominative subject of the verb IS; and WHOSE is the possessive genitive)
We can imagine the answer being, "This is John's book," with the English possessive (genitive) ending, 's .
Yes, we can also express possession with the preposition OF + the objective case: "This is the book of the new student ."
But whose, his, her, its, Mary's , etc., are real English possessives (genitives).
Once again, there is a way to explain what noun declensions are to an English speaker. When I was in school, I had to memorize few ways to make a plural form of a noun in English (not my native language). Watch this:
tomato, potato+es=tomatoes (let's call this First Dirty Declension)
house, bird, caterpillar+s=houses (let's call this Second Dirty Declension)
mouse, louse-ouse+ice=mice (Third Dirty Declension)
tooth, foot-oo+ee=feet (Fourth Dirty Declension)
deer, fish, sheep=deer (Fifth Dirty Declension)
knife, wolf-f+ves=knives (Sixth Dirty Declension)
and there are some others.
Now that we have this Dirty Declensions Table, let's try answering some questions.
How do we make a plural form of 'hero'? First Dirty Declension. Hero+es=heroes.
How do we make a plural form of 'leaf'? Sixth Dirty Declension. Leaf-f+ves=leaves.
How do we make a plural form of 'child'? Oopsie, we have to memorize it. Exception. Child-children.
Hope it helped, have a nice day :)
Some differences to note: vobis is a 2nd person plural form ("you" has to refer to two or more people), but velisne is a 2nd person singular form.
Placetne tibi ... ? means "do you like X?" (literally, "Is X pleasing to you?"). Placetne vobis ... ? is the analogue for "plural you."
Visne? (or subjunctive velisne? _ ) and _Vultisne? (subjunctive velitisne?) mean "Do you want?".
Do you want? is not quite the same as Do you like?, but there's some overlap, I guess.
Since -ne is the question marker, and you want your interlocutor to know as soon as possible that you're asking a question, it makes sense to ensure that the -ne appears on the first word: Pānemne velīs ? / Velīsne pānem ? (or with vīs as possibly the preferable form of the verb, as discussed elsewhere on this page)