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Sunt - A Question of Placement

I’m really enjoying the Latin course. Usually by reading any comments after a question I can work out what I need. However, I’m having real trouble working out whether the word sunt should be at the end as in some examples, or within the sentence as in other examples. Any guidance would be welcome. Thanks Stephen

May 1, 2020



Because Latin is so highly inflected, with words taking different endings depending on what they’re used for, in most sentences the order of the words is very flexible. Duo shows us this by mixing up where it puts things in the exercise’s standard translation. But in most exercises, alternative orders are accepted. If your word order isn’t accepted, but all the words are correct, report it, and it may be added. I understand the course is being worked on for the next iteration now.

Timor mortis conturbat me. 2020-04-30


What officiummevocat says is a good general guide, except that "esse" (i.e., sunt) often serves as sort of an equals sign and is just as likely to be found in the middle of a sentence. But the "standard" word order is varied all the time, according to what emphasis is desired. Duo's course should be fairly forgiving, and you can always report a reply you think is right and hope that it will be accepted.


Thanks very much to everyone who hast posted a reply, it really has helped. What a great community Duolingo is.


Latin word order is extremely flexible. The verb can be placed in many parts of the sentence depending on what you are trying to emphasize. That being said, putting the verb at the end of the sentence is the most common placement.


Except in the instance of esse, which is typically placed in the same order as English - SVO. :) But you're right, it doesn't really matter, because Latin is inflected enough that word order doesn't carry as much meaning as it does in English.

Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


So, Caius est asinus would be more common than Caius asinus est, but Caius Marcum vocat would be more common than Caius vocat Marcum?


Exactly. :)

Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


Very good question. Because of the Latin endings, the words have a fixed translation that makes the order virtually non-applicable. However, the order is most proper this way:

(1) the subject and its modifiers (nom),
(2) the indirect object (dat),
(3) the direct object (acc),
(4) adverbial words or phrases (abl),
(5) the verb.

The reason for this order (even though it wasn't technically needed) is because the Romans wrote differently than we do. Yes, they used the same letters that we use today, but they wrote in all caps with no punctuation. Yeah, I know.... This is why they still used order. The subject and verb marked the beginning and end of sentences. The order of the phrases in between implied punctuation.

Spero hoc adiuvat!


This is not true.

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