Dear Maria,
Can you help me with the following grammar questions (all from Allen and Greenough):

(1)   Neque satis constabat quid agerent (575 b)
Question: why is the book’s translation for “agerent” “were to do” instead of “did” or “were doing”?
(2)   Ceterae Illyrici legiones secuturae sperabantur (582)
Question: why “secuturae” and not future infinitive “secutum iri” or just infinitive “sequi” after verb “sperabantur”?
(3)   Quid inimicitiarum creditis [me] excepturum fuisse, si insontis lacessissem (589 b)
Question: why genitives “inimicitiarum” instead of accu.?
Thank you.

Dear Robert,

please note that:

(1)In “Neque satis constabat quid agerent” (AG 575 b from Caesar’s De Bello Gallico, 3, 14) the imperfect subjunctive “agerent”  in the Indirect Question “quid agerent” means exactly “they were to do” as a Deliberative Subjunctive implying doubt about what to do, whereas “did” or “were doing” would denote a fact/a deed, not a doubt.

(2)In “ Ceterae Illyrici legiones secuturae sperabantur (AG 582 from Tacitus Historiae 2, 74)  “secuturae [esse]” is just the future infinitive of the deponent verb “sequor” whose present infinitive is “sequi”, the past infinitive is “secutum esse” [agreed with the term it refers to], and the future infinitive is “secuturum esse”[agreed with the term it refers to], NOT “secutum iri”, simply because the deponent verbs have 5 active forms, i.e. 1)the future infinitive (for example, secuturum esse) ,2) the participle future (secuturus) , 3)the gerund (sequendi),4) the supine (secutum), 5)the present participle (sequens).
So these forms are active not only in the meaning, but also in the verb form.
As for the infinitive “sequi” after verb “sperabantur”, please note that “spero” takes the future infinitive as it indicates an action that will happen in the future, not in the present.
For the Deponent Verbs  forms see:

(3)In “Quid inimicitiarum creditis [me] excepturum fuisse, si insontis lacessissem (AG 589 b from Curius Rufus, Historiae Alexandri Magni,book  6,chapter 10, section 18 ) the genitive plural  “inimicitiarum” depends on the neuter pronoun “quid” that is constructed with genitive as in “quid hominis sit” meaning “what sort of a man he is”.
So, similarly “quid inimicitiarum”  literally means “what sort of enmities” where “what sort”(quid) is the accusative depending on the verb “excepturum fuisse” (I should have incurred).

Hope this can be helpful to you.
Best regards,


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I am an expert in Latin Language and Literature and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.


Over 25 years teaching experience.

I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

This expert accepts donations:

©2017 All rights reserved.