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Latin/Conjunction Introducing Purpose and Result Clauses


my latin text translates "so that he may not put" as "ne ponat".  I think it should be "ut ne ponat".  Am I right?

First of all, "ut ne" is never used.  In a negative clause, "ne" is used alone, without "ut."

Otherwise, the proper Latin construction depends upon whether the clause in question is a purpose close or a result clause.  In English, purpose clauses are introduced by "that" or "in order that."  Result clauses are introduced by "that" or "so that."  However, English writers have gotten more slipshod in recent years, so some use "so that" when they mean "in order that."

In Latin, purpose clauses are introduced by "ne" in the negative, and result clauses are introduced by "ut non" in the negative.

You don't give the complete sentence in question, so I cannot give a definitive answer about which type of clause the English writer intended.

1) If the context is something like:  he does it so that AS A RESULT he may not put, that would be a result clause, and Latin would use "ut non" in the negative.
2) If the context is something like:  he does it WITH THE PURPOSE THAT he may not place, that would be a purpose clause, and Latin would use "ne" in the negative.

Your clause presents a good example of how you cannot translate word for word, but must pay attention to the MEANING of the English in order to render it into Latin.  Some people incorrectly thing that you can translate word for word from one language into another.  You can't.  You have to translate the meaning of the words from one language into another.  That is why a "translation machine" has not yet been programmed, and never will.  There is just too much nuance and ambiguity in language to program it.  That is why translation programs on the internet produce mostly gibberish.

Your clause also presents a good example of how much more accurate Latin is in expressing a thought than English is.  That is why Latin has for millennia been the language of science, law, theology, technology, medicine, and other such exact disciplines.


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Classical Languages (Greek, Latin). Conversant with Classical Greek and all forms of the Latin language: classical, mediaeval, and modern.


I have 50 years of teaching at all levels of Latin from high school through university postgraduate. I read, write, and speak Latin daily.

American Classical League.

A.B., M.A., D.Phil. (h.c.) in Classical Languages (Greek, Latin).

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