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"Marcus smells greatly of cheese."

Translation:Marcus caseum valde olet.

September 15, 2019

16 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sharon275517

Why is it the accusative “caseum” here? I would have thought the ablative “caseo”, with the sentence somewhat literally as “Marcus smells greatly by means of (because of) cheese.”


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Quidam_Homo

It's just how the verb usually works. There are a few instances of it being used with an ablative as you suggest, but they seem to be all be from the poets, who are of course not our best guides for standard Latin style.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brig369865

Would have expected either ablative or genitive here


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuzanneNussbaum

It's just a weird fact of how the verb works: olēre , to be redolent (of).

Checking the Oxford Latin Dictionary just now, I see that both constructions are possible:

olēre + the accusative: a 'cognate' accusative (as in, "to sing a song," "to make a poem," "to ask a question") = "to give off the smell of";

but also olēre + ablative = "to smell of."

A lot of the time, it's used with an adverb (i.e., it "smells good" or it "smells bad"): bene / male olet.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brig369865

I won't argue with the OLD ;) Never came across this, but every da a school day, thank you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuzanneNussbaum

And here's a quotation from Vergil that nicely illustrates the use with the ablative:

... redolentque thymō fragrantia mella . (Aeneid I. 436)

"and the fragrant honeys are redolent with thyme." (from the bee-simile)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VineetKuma902519

Thanks for the Virgil quote, Suzanne! Nice to see you around.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuzanneNussbaum

@VineetKuma902519-- Grātiās tibi!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/micaholesh

How do we differentiate between Marcus smelling of cheese and Marcus smelling cheese? What case would the latter be in?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Quidam_Homo

There is a different verb meaning "to smell" in the sense of "to sense through the nose": "olfacere".

To say "Marcus smells the cheese" you would say "Marcus caseum olfacit".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/QuisEstHaecSimia

Likely due to the fact he is stuffed with said substance.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/teacon7

Commenting to follow. I'm curious why olet takes an accusative here, and how to differentiate between smelling "of" cheese and smelling cheese. Is there a different Latin word for these?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuzanneNussbaum

Yes, as Quīdam_Homō says just above, there's olfacere, to smell (something) with the nose: Caseum olfacit, He's smelling the cheese. But olēre is to give off a scent, to smell (good or bad), to smell of something ( = be redolent of).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesHamil261469

Thanks for this. It still seems a bit odd, though, since surely it is Marcus who is giving off the cheesy scent, suggesting Marcus should be Marcum, not a transcendent cheese that makes him smelly


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DeddyShy1

...Is Marcus stuffed with cheese?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/virgilaeneid

Gratias vobis omnibus ago.

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