Syntax: accusative II Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in Latin Language

To read about nominative, vocative and other kind of accusative uses read our previous post.

Extension accusative

Accusative case can be used to express the extension in space and time.

The accusative of extension in space, always in terms of extension (passus, pes …), can indicate distance traveled, distance between two points or dimensions of objects:

        Reliquae legiōnēs magnum spatium aberant.
        Turris vīginti pedēs alta.


The accusative of extension in time (accusative of duration) expresses the duration of the verbal action:

        Annum iam tertium et vicesimum regnat.
       Multōs annōs vīxit.


Adverbial accusative

The adverbial accusative occurs mainly in:

  • Neuter adjectives expressing number: multum, aliquantum, prīmum, ultimum, etc.
  • Some pronominal forms: quid? (‘Why?’).
  • Some stereotyped uses with nouns:  magnam (maiorem, maximam) partem; partim; vicem; id genus, omne genus; id (quid) aetātis.


Relation accusative

The relation accusative indicates the part of a person or thing affected by the verbal action (from the time of Augustus can be found also with adjectives). This normally consists of supplements, often showing body parts, and verbs in the passive voice:

         Manus post terga revinctus.
        Lacrimīs perfūsa genās.
        Flāva comās.


Double accusative

Two complements in accusative simultaneously accompanying the same verb, without any related coordination between both of them, each one with a different syntactic value. The most common constructions of double accusative are:

  • Direct object + predicative: it appears with verbs meaning to call, to appoint, to nominate, to consider, to estimate, tojudge, etc..:

   Populus Rōmānus Cicerōnem consulem creāvit.
              Hominēs caecōs reddit cupiditas.

  • Person direct object + “thing (object)” direct object: it is built with verbs that mean to show, to hide, to seek, to ask…:

Magister puerōs grammaticam docet.
             Senatōrem  sententiam rogāvērunt.

  • Direct object + place complement: sentences constructed with compound verbs (especially with trans- and circum-) in which the direct object depends on the meaning of the simple verb, and the place complement depends on the meaning added by the proverb:

Dux exercitum flumen trādūxit.

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