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Quid agis, Quomodo

What's the difference between quid agit and quomodo?? They both are "how" in one way or another. But which one for what use?

February 25, 2020



Quid agit is used when asking someone how someone else is doing. Ex: Quid agit Marcus? How is Marcus?

Quomodo is used when you are asking the person directly. Ex: Quomodo te habes? How are you doing?


But you can just as easily ask 'quid agis?', 'how are you?' and 'quomodo se habet ille?', 'how's he doing?'


Nothing technically, it's all about that grammar and them idioms.

Quid + agere literally means what are you doing?, but is used in a broader sense of how are you doing? kind of like "what's up?"

Quomodo x + habere is How does X consider themselves (to be)? a sort of, "How do you think you're doing?"

You can use both at your leisure. Just know that a lot of people try and use sum, esse plus adjectives for that kind of thing, which isn't as typical. Latin has a wealth of verbs for answering those types of questions. Like esurio I am hungry


what about ut vales? What does that literally mean and when should that be used? Also, shouldn't quomodo te habes literally translate to how do you have yourself?


In general usage quid means "what" and quomodo means "how". In the idiomatic usage here e.g. as Quid agis? and Quomodo te habes? explained in ColinJParry's post, however, the meaning is quite similar.

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