1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Latin
  4. >
  5. "Men and women usually sleep …

"Men and women usually sleep in a bed."

Translation:Viri et feminae in lecto dormire solent.

October 17, 2019



Could you also say "viri et feminae dormire in lecto solent"?


Yes. In Latin there is no rigid rule in regard to the word order in a sentence.


Why is it the infinitive "dormire" not "dormiunt"? If I wanted to say "I usually sleep in a bed" would "In lecto solent dormio" be wrong?

  • 2768

"Solent" is not an adverb. "Solere" is the verb "to be accustomed to". And when there is a two-verb construction, you need the infinitive followed by the conjugated verb, the exact reverse of English. Now, in English we don't have a single verb that means "to be accustomed to" and we always follow that with a noun or a gerund, but it's the same basic syntax.

He wants to drink ~
Bibere volat.
They want to drink ~
Bibere volunt.
We want to drink ~
Bibere volamus.

The dogs are used to sleeping on the floor ~
Canes in pavimento dormire solent.
The dog is used to sleeping on the floor ~
Canis in pavimento dormire solet.
I am used to sleeping on the floor ~
In pavimento dormire soleo.


An infinitive doesn't have an ending that tells us anything about the subject. It can also sometimes itself be the subject.

Dormiunt is the third person plural "they sleep", while dormio is the first person plural "I sleep". Both tell us about the subject. in lecto solent dormio would be like saying "They usually I sleep in bed".


So how do you say "I usually sleep in a bed"?


In lecto dormire soleo.


Think of "soleo" as working like "I want" in English. "I want to sleep in a bed" versus "He wants to sleep in a bed". The verb "to want" ("I want, you want, he wants etc) goes with the infinitive of the action "to sleep" regardless of who is wanting to sleep. Latin has a bunch of verbs which work like this, but English often uses adverbs like "usually" instead.


The thing about it is that "usually" isn't a great translation for soleō, because it is a verb and not an adverb. The sentence is more directly translated as "I use to sleep on a bed" or "I have the custom of sleeping on a bed." This way you see that you have to conjugate the soleō to agree with the subject, and not the dormiō.

So, like Moopish explains, as well, to express "I usually sleep on the bed" you'd say in lectō dormīre soleō.

Learn Latin in just 5 minutes a day. For free.