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Latin/the Solas , Ablative or nominative


Sola scriptura
Sola fide
Sola gratia

nearly every website states that  these two words phrases are in the ablative. One person is telling me that the absence of a macron  means it is not ablative..that it is nominative

Is a macron required for the ablative tense?
IOW can Sola Scriptura / Sola Fide / Sola Gratia be ablative without a macron?
For ex: Is the correct translation of Sola Scriptura "by Scripture alone"?


The so-called “ solas “  of the Protestant Reformation, i.e. “ Sola scriptura, Sola fide, Sola gratia” are in the ablative case, as we can know certainly thanks to the 2nd expression “Sola fide” where the word “fide” can only be the ablative singular of the feminine noun “fides”(faith) belonging to the 5th declension.

So, since “Sola fide” in the ablative singular stands between “Sola scriptura” and “Sola gratia”, it’s a sure thing that both “scriptura” and  “gratia”  are in the ablative singular, although there is no macron on their last vowel, so that the words “ Sola scriptura, Sola fide, Sola gratia” mean “By Scripture alone, By Faith alone, By Grace alone” as Ablatives of Instrument.

Please note that:

1.“sola”, which is  repeated three times, is the ablative feminine singular of the adjective “solus” and agrees with the  ablative singular of three feminine nouns, i.e. “scriptura” (1st declension), “fides” (5th declension) and “gratia” (1st declension). the strict sense “Sola scriptura, Sola fide, Sola gratia” should be written as “Solā scripturā, Solā fide, Solā gratiā” with the macron to denote the ablative case, but usually such a macron is not required because it is the context that tells us that a 1st declension noun is in the ablative, even if there is no macron, just as in “Sola scriptura, Sola fide, Sola gratia” where “fide”, which can only be an ablative singular,  tells us that both “sola scriptura” and “sola gratia” must be in the ablative singular.

To conclude, I have to point out that:

1)   the absence of a macron  do not mean that a  1st declension noun is in the nominative case, since in the strict sense the nominative should have  the “breve”, i.e. the diacritical mark  shaped like the bottom half of a circle as for example  in the nominative case “gratiǎ”, but however both macron and  breve are not usually required in Latin.

2) a macron is not required for the ablative case as well a breve is not required for the nominative case, and then “Sola Scriptura , Sola Fide , Sola Gratia “ can be in the  ablative without a macron.

3) the correct translation of “Sola Scriptura " is exactly “by Scripture alone".

Hope all is clear enough. Feel free however to ask me again.

Best regards,



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