On Alchemy

Latin Grammar: Usage of donec

Quare sciant artifices alkimie species metallorum mutare non posse, sed similia facere possunt et tingere rubeum citrino ut videatur aurum aut tingere albo donec sit multum simile argento

Clauses introduced by donec can take either the indicative or the subjunctive. Donec can mean either "as long as," or "until."

   When it means "as long as," the ensuing clause always takes the indicative.
   When it means "until," donec can take either the indicative or the subjunctive.

Donec clauses take the indicative to denote an actual event. Donec clauses take the subjunctive to denote anticipation or expectancy.

In the example above, the donec clause is in the subjunctive because we expect the metal to become greatly similar to silver, even though that has not actually happened yet.

Fill in the blanks with either the indicative or the subjunctive of the given verb (in the correct tense). An English translation of each sentence has been provided for assistance.

1.  Senator laudatus est donec . (vivere)

   “The Senator was praised as long as he lived.”

2. Morabor donec epistula . (venire)

   “I will wait until the letter comes.”

3. Fuit silentium donec . (redire)

   “There was silence until he returned.”

4. Caesar exspectabat donec naves . (convenire)

   “Caesar was waiting until the ships were assembled.”

5. Gentes edebant donec noctem (esse).

   “The families ate until it was night-time.”

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