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  5. "The wife has a mother."

"The wife has a mother."

Translation:Uxor matrem habet.

October 2, 2019



Dative of possession version: Uxōrī est māter.


Please explain/translate


The dative of possession uses the dative as the 'possessor' and the nominative as the 'possession'.

If you were to literally translate it: "To the wife is a mother."


"The wife has a mother" is what it means; or, literally, "TO the wife (uxori, dative sing.) there is a mother (est mater--nomin. sing.)."

A not uncommon way for Latin to express possession, especially when the main verb in the sentence is "to be."


Et socrus vocātur.


Why does "Uxor mater habet" Not work ?


'Mother' is person being had, it is the direct object of the sentence. We use the accusative case (matrem) for direct objects.

We would use mater should the mother be doing the having.


By analogy, in English, "I know he" is wrong: you must say "I know him." It's the same mechanism, except that it doesn't apply only to pronouns in Latin.


the words in Latin sentences can be in a random order right? at least that's what I've learned in my class


Correct. Since Latin is declined sentence order is mostly arbitrary, though there is preferred order. Poetry is where you would see variations. My guess is that the system Duolingo uses can't accommodate variable word order.


I think the more Latin you read, the more you understand how the word order works. It often seems "backwards" compared to English, and indeed you have to free yourself of English suppositions about word order; but it's not actually "random."

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