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

On prepositions

I've noticed quite a few people attempting to use prepositional phrases in a rather strange way. Specifically placing the preposition after its noun. For example:

Instead of cum Corinna they use Corinna cum

So I did a little digging so that I could help explain how prepositions work better.

First of all: the word preposition comes from the Latin word praepositio meaning, the action of placing in front, prefixing grammatically it refers to prefixes and prepositions. So purely off the name of the thing, it's generally considered to be placed before the noun.

In poetry, as in most things in Latin, the rules can be bent.

The most commonly well known exceptions are magna cum laude and summa cum laude which translate to with great praise and with highest praise.

An article written by James Clackson covers adpositions and their use. In his writing he covers some analysis of Plautus and Ennius and discovered the following frequencies of word orders.

In Ennius, Prep. Mod. Noun and Prep. Noun. Mod. were most common 32% and 29% respectively, Mod. Prep. Noun was also at 29%, Noun Prep. Mod. came in at 10%.

In Plautus the percentages were 56% 32% 11% and <1%.

Placing the preposition after its noun is known as anastrophe. It is most common in poetry, and is chiefly used with disyllabic (2 syllable) prepositions.

A common exception though is cum with personal pronouns, mecum, tecum, nobiscum and vobiscum.

https://www.academia.edu/2134498/The_word-order_pattern_magna_cum_laude_in_Latin_and_Sabellian

October 5, 2019

18 Comments


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

Yup. We have to use nobiscum. If we said cum nobis it would sound improper, according to Cicero ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/93k8nXGk

Isn't that why hanging prepositions were frowned upon in prescriptive grammars also why to boldly go and Hemmingway were often corrected. In Latin you can't split an infinitive. Though if there were any nerdy kids who like to live live on the edge I can see them preferring cum nobis cum me cum te etc in all Composition exercises purely because Cicero wrote he thought it sounded improper. Not trying to corrupt the young here after wot happened to Socrates but the rebel in me is thinking if I could live my life again I'd definitely put in at least one cum nobis to comfort me in my dotage. Ok good talk.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zia177448

Whoever wants postpositions, try Finnish! ;)


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

Welp, try chinese lol


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cymelo
  • 1876

Thanks for the post! If I'm not wrong, the word order Mod. Prep. Noun is quite common with 'cum', even in prose (it is found a lot throughout Caesar 'de bello gallico'). I think that this word order is rarer with other prepositions.


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

I plan on having mod. prep. adj. Available as an answer where applicable. This was more to hopefully get people to stop saying Italia in


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mosfet07

There is also ūnā cum + ablative which is together with. I would treat such constructs as adverbs.


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

This would fit in the category of Mod. Prep. Noun. like magna cum laude.


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

A preposition is a link word. It's logical to have it before the word it is supposed to link.

Me and my sister = "and" is linking "me" and "my sister", same thing for "with".

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