Latin/suntne?

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Question
sum
sum  
Dear Maria,

Sorry, this might be too easy for you. But, what is the original form of "suntne"?
Suntne multi fluvii et multa oppida in Arabia? It should be "sum", right? But i can not find it in the form attached...

Thank you do much!!!
Johnnie

Answer
Dear Johnnie,

you cannot find “sunt” (3rd person plural, present indicative of “sum”) as “suntne”( =are there…?) because “suntne”  is introducing a direct question where the interrogative particle “-ne” is attached as an enclitic term to the verb “sunt” just to express a question of simple fact, requiring the answer “yes” or “no” indifferently.

See for example: “Tūne id veritus es?” (meaning “ Did you fear that?”) where the enclitic " –ne" is added to the 2nd person singular  pronoun “tu”, since the interrogative particle “-ne” is usually attached to the emphatic word, i.e. the word that we want to emphasize.

See also “Eratne tēcum?” (Was he with you?) where “-ne” is attached to “erat” (3rd person singular, imperfect tense of “sum”).

To conclude, “Suntne multi fluvii et multa oppida in Arabia?“ means exactly :”Are there many rivers and many towns in Arabia?”

Best regards,

Maria
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P.S.
Note that Direct Questions in Latin are often introduced by interrogative words such as “cur” (why),”quando” (when), “quid”(what) , “ubi” (where) ,etc., as in e.g. “Quid est?” (what is it?), “Ubi sum?” (where am I?).

But, when there is no interrogative adverb or adjective, the Direct Questions are introduced as follows:

1) by the enclitic “-ne”, if the question is requiring the answer “yes” or “no” indifferently.

2) by the particle “nonne” if the question is requiring the answer “yes” as in “Canis nonne similis est lupo?”( Isn't it true that the dog is similar to the wolf?).   

3) by the particle “num” if the question is requiring the answer “no” as in “Num eloquentia Ciceronem superare possumus?”(would we perhaps surpass Cicero in eloquence?).

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Maria

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

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

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