The subjunctive mood is very important in Latin. It has 6 main uses in sentences.
If a subjunctive verb is alone in a sentence, it is translated as a possibility (i.e. something may/might happen)
It may also be a jussive subjunctive- "let us..." eg amet = let him love
Uses of the Subjunctive
If the word "cum" is used in a clause with a verb in the subjunctive, it is translated as "when". The verb is translated as if it was in the Indicative Mood.
Cum ad templo ambulavissem...
When I had walked to the temple...
To show that something is happening in order to do something else, a purpose clause is used. The word "ut" must appear in the sentence between the action and the purpose. There are normally two verbs in sentences with purpose clauses - one in the indicative to show the action and a verb in the subjunctive to show the purpose.
The "ut" is translated as "to" or "in order to" and the following subjunctive verb is translated as an infinitive in the indicative mood.
tabernam ambulamus ut ancillam videremus
We are walking to the shop in order to see the slave-girl.
Sometimes the words "ubi" (where) or "qui" (who) is used instead of "ut", but the sentence should be translated in the same way.
Result clauses show what happens as a result of something happening. They are formed by a "result word", the word "ut" and a subjunctive verb.
The word "ut" is translated as "that" and the subjunctive verb is translated in the indicative mood.
tantas divitias adeptus est ut villam splendidam iam possideat
He has obtained such great riches that he now owns a splendid villa.
- talis - such
- tam - so
- tantas - such great, so great
- tot - so many
An indirect question is where the question is stated but not directly asked. They are formed by a verb of asking, a "question word" and a verb in the subjunctive. The verb in the subjunctive is translated as if it was in the indicative mood. There is no "ut" in an indirect question.
miles iuvenem rogavit quid prope horreum faceret
The soldier asked the young man what he was doing near the granary.
- cur - why
- quare - why
- quid - what
- quis - who
- quo - where to
- quo modo - how (in what way)
- quot - how many
- ubi - where/when
An indirect command is where an order is stated but not directly asked. They are formed by a verb of ordering, the word "ut" and a verb in the subjunctive. The "ut" is translated as "to" and the following subjunctive verb is translated as an infinitive in the indicative mood.
centurio militibus imperavit ut hostes invenirent
The centurion ordered the soldiers to find the enemy.
Common ordering words
- impero, imperare, imperavi, imperatum - to command
- iubeo, iubere, iubessi, iubessum - to order
- persuadeo, persuadere, persuasi, persuasum - to persuade
- oro, orare, oravi, oratum - to beg
These are all followed by a noun in the dative case.
The Negative Subjunctive
To change a sentence containing "ut" into a negative sentence, one must replace the word "ut" with the word "ne". The sentence should still be translated in the same way, except the verb in the subjunctive should be negative.
centurio militibus imperavit ne hostes invenirent
The centurion ordered the soldiers not to find the enemy.