QUESTION: Dear Maria,
Can you help me with the following grammar question (from Allen and Greenough):
(1)   Etiam si quod scribas non habebis, scribito tamen. (527 c)
Question (this is a follow-up question from last time): is “id” understood before quod? Can I understand the first part of the sentence as “etiam si id non habebis quod scribas, …”?
(1)    Ego laeta visa sum quia …  (540)
Question: Does the use of “laeta” and “visa” suggest that the speaker is female?.
(2)     Haec amore magis impulsus scribenda ad te putavi, quam quo te arbitrarer monitis  … egere. (540 2 note 3)
Question: I thought after egere we need to use gen. So why not “monitus”, the genitive of “monitus”?  
Thank you.

ANSWER: Dear Robert,

please note that:

(1)In “Etiam si quod scribas non habebis, scribito tamen” (Cicero,Epistulae  ad Familiares,16,26 in AG 527 c) the neuter demonstrative pronoun “id”  is not understood before “quod” and then  you cannot understand the first part of the sentence as “Etiam si id non habebis quod scribas,...”.

In fact, QUOD stands for ALIQUOD (anything) that often drops its first part "ali" when it is preceded by the particle "si", as I’ve said in my previous answer.
Therefore QUOD, i.e. “[ali]quod”, means “something/anything” as an indefinite pronoun, according to an affirmative or negative sentence, not simply the demonstrative relative pronouns "id quod" ("what"), since
Cicero invites his friend to write to himself  anyhow, even if he has NOTHING NEW or INTERESTING to say.

(2) In “ Ego laeta visa sum quia soror venisset (Plautus, Miles gloriosus,387  / AG 540, note 2) meaning “I seemed [to be] glad because my sister had come”, the use of  the feminine nominative adjective “laeta” and the feminine past participle “visa”  in  “visa sum” (1st.person singular perfect, personal costruction of Videor with nominative and infinite) suggest that the speaker is female.

(3)In “ Haec amore magis impulsus scribenda ad te putavi, quam quo te arbitrarer monitis  … egere. (540  note 3. 4) the verb “egere” is costructed with the things needed in the ablative cases “monitis et praeceptis” as the verb “egeo” can have both the ablative and the genitive.

Therefore “monitis” (ablative plural of “monitum”, neuter, 2nd.declension) is correct.
Also, note that “monitus" as a 4th.declension noun means in particular “admonition by the gods” rather than “advice” as in this passage from Cicero, Fam. 10.3.4.

Hope this can be helpful to you.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

I am sorry to bother you again about the first sentence because I still don’t quite understand it. In the si clause is “habebis” the main verb? If for the sake of trying to understand the grammar I write the si clause as “si non habebis aliquod" (if you don’t have anything), then I don’t know how to understand grammatically the verb “scribas” (2nd person singular present subjunctive). I am just puzzled by the presence of the two verbs "scribas" and "habebis".
Thank you very much.

Dear Robert,

you do not bother me at all.
So,as for “habebis” in  “Etiam si quod scribas non habebis, scribito tamen”  (Cicero,Epistulae  ad Familiares,16,26 in AG. 527 c),  it is the main verb of the “ Etiam si clause” which is  a concessive conditional  sentence introduced by the conjunction “etiam si “( also written “etiamsi”), meaning “even if”.
Therefore  “Etiam si ..... non habebis” means: “Even if you will not have....” with the future tense “habebis” depending on the concessive conditional  conjunction “Etiam si” and introducing an action that could occur in the future.

With regard to the present subjunctive “scribas”, it depends on the pronoun”quod”, i.e. “[ali]quod” (anything), as I’ve already told you, and it is in the subjunctive because it indicates a possibility, not an actuality, and the subjunctive is just the mood that  indicates that something  may occur or be done, while the indicative denotes  something being or occurring in fact or actuality.

In fact, “... quod scribas ...” means : “something/anything you CAN/COULD   write to me”.

To conclude, the present subjunctive  "scribas"  is determined by the concept of possibility, while the future  "habebis"  implies the idea of an action that will occur in the future, not in the present time.

Finally I have to point out that the present subjunctive “scribas” instead of e.g. the imperfect subjunctive “scriberes”  is determined by the “consecutio temporum” ( Sequence of tenses) which  states that  in a dependent clause such as “quod scribas” we must use  the  present subjunctive, if it depends on a primary tense, such as the Present or the  Future.
Therefore, since “scribas” depends on the future “habebis”, it is in the present subjunctive.(See AG 482)

Hope this helps.
Best regards,


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