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  5. "The young man wants to desce…

"The young man wants to descend from the altar."

Translation:De ara iuvenis descendere vult.

November 1, 2019



why isn't it de aram, as it involves movement? I had a feeling that meant using the accusative.


You see the "movement TOWARDS" requires accusative in the prepositions in and sub , but the "movement FROM" meaning, that has, as also do ā/ab and ē/ex , requires ablative .


Yes but we had too : "sub ponte flumen fluit" and not "sub pontem"


"The stream is flowing beneath the bridge": you can analyze this as sub + ablative indicating 'location.'

You can see sub + accusative in some situations, but it's by no means as common as in + accusative.

Maybe for "Let's go hide it under the bridge," you'd see sub + accusative. (The act of moving something under something else is being highlighted here.)


The preposition de takes the ablative much like a / ab does. The both imply motion away from a position vs movement towards a position (like ad or in with an accusative).


Some prepositions take exactly one case, whereas others can take more than one.

Examples of prepositions which only take one case:

  • "a/ab", "de", and "cum" always take the ablative case.
  • "ad", "per", "ante", and "post" always take the accusative case.

Examples of prepositions which can take more than one case:

  • "in" and "sub" take the accusative case if movement into/towards something is involved; otherwise they take the ablative case.

(If I'm wrong here, someone please correct me.)

In this translation exercise, since "de" is used, we use the ablative case, as "de" always takes the ablative case in Latin.


For kun (which isn't a Latin word), I think you meant cum , "with."


SuzanneNussbaum scribit:

For kun (which isn't a Latin word), I think you meant cum , "with."

Yes, thank you, you're right! (It's now corrected.)

(I was getting Latin mixed up with Esperanto, which happens at times, since they both share several similar features.)


Thanks for the explanation, which makes perfect sense (I was assuming a slip of the keyboard!).


Not so fast, Isaac.


Dē ārā dēscendere is nice; how about ex ārā dēscendere, as well?

Word-order shouldn't matter here: starting with the prepositional phrase, or with the subject, should be immaterial.


Ex means out of, which is not the meaning desired in this instance. Ab simply means away from, so ab ara descendere would suggest that perhaps the young man is beside an altar on top of a hill and wants to go down the hill, not off the altar.

bas sake buxbeze sabeDev


But there are phrases like ex equō dēlābī (to fall off a horse, Livy), in which the person is surely no more 'inside' the horse than the putative young man is 'inside' the Duolingo altar.

There are some phrases in the OLD that are said to illustrate the meaning "from the surface of, from off" and "down from": including, in Ovid's Metamorphoses (1.261) "ex omnī nimbōs dēmittere caelō" (to send down clouds from the whole sky); note the combination of prep. ex even with a verb compounded with dē- . And Cicero has a sentence about someone hurling himself ex the highest wall ( sē ex altissimō praecipitāsse mūrō). Looking under ab, there do seem to be instances of ab + places with the meaning of "away from."


Very well; I stand corrected. Go easy on me - I've never had a teacher and my best resource is a textbook that is over a hundred years old, so until I progress to the parts where it introduces additional meanings for words, I cannot expect to even know they exist.


No need for that! And I'm sure that little is better than "a textbook that is over a hundred years old," and I would advise you to keep working with that valuable resource!!


Thankyou for that advice! I was beginning to wonder whether I should get rid of that book. :)


Agreed, I tried “ab ara descendere” which wasn’t accepted either.

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"iuvenis descendere de ara vult" - sounds rather better actually; it is not accepted.


Why would ab ara be wrong?


In the discussion above, both ab and ex are argued for.


What happened to subject - object - verb? Shouldn't the young man come before the altar from which he wishes to descend?


When an item in the sentence is moved, this places emphasis on that item. So, starting the sentence with the prepositional phrase emphasizes that "it's from the altar" that the young man wants to descend.


Thanks for the answer!


so what is young man nominativ singular. I thought it is juvenus...


The nominative singular form is "iuvenis," which can also be spelled as "juvenis." Duo always uses "i" and not "j" however, and it probably does not accept "j" spellings.


Yes, it's important to realize that not every masculine noun in Latin will end in -us in the nominative singular (just as not every feminine noun will end in -a, either!).

"Young man" is a 3rd declension noun, with nominative ending -is in the singular, as Copernicus explains.

You would see it listed as: iuvenis, iuvenis , m., young man, from which you can tell that it belongs to the 3rd declension (since its genitive sing., the 2nd form listed, ends in -is).

Iuvenis laetus est . The young man is happy. Since it's a masculine nominative singular noun, notice that it is modified by an adjective that ends in -us.


thanks. I could have just opened my latin dictionary here beside me, but I felt duo made a mistake here, so didn't check my own possibility of being wrong first. mea culpa indeed ;)


What form is used for "ara" in here?


The preposition ab (which can also be written ā before a word that begins with a consonant) requires that its object be in the ablative case.

So, in the phrase ab ārā you see the ablative singular of āra, -ae, f., altar.

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