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Clarification: when is "in" necessary?

I am still very early into the Latin course, but it seems rather unclear and inconsistent to me when questions/statements require "in", such as "Habitasne Romae?" vs "In Romae habit."

Could someone more advanced clarify this for me?

August 11, 2020



The real question should be, "when is 'in' unnecessary?" It is unnecessary when the noun uses a locative case, which happens mainly with cities, small islands, and some special locations such as home (domi). DarkLordBaudfish left a helpful comment on the very Sentence you use as an example. Have fun learning!
Timor mortis conturbat me.


Yes, well said: but let's specify that names of cities (small islands) are the ones with the special "locative" case that obviates the use of "in."

You say in urbe (preposition in + ablative case), "in the city," because urbs is a "normal" noun.

However, you say Rōmae (in Rome) / Brundisiī (in Brundisium) / Carthāginī (in Carthage) / Athēnīs (in Athens) , etc., because those are all the names of cities or towns. So, they use the "locative" case and dispense with any preposition.

(For plural names: locative looks the same as the dative/ablative plural;

for singular names of 1st/2nd declension, locative looks the same as the genitive singular form;

for singular names of 3rd declension, locative looks the same as the dative or sometimes ablative singular.)

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