Thomas Aquinas

On Alchemy

Latin Grammar: Independent Uses of the Subjunctive

[D]icendum quod aqua fluens de latere Christi pendentis in cruce non fuit humor phlegmaticus, ut quidam dixerunt. In tali enim humore non posset fieri Baptismus, sicut nec in sanguine animalis, aut in vino, aut in quocumque liquore alicuius plantae.

Independent Uses of the Subjunctive

Aquinas uses the subjunctive independently in order to express potentiality.  On its own, the subjunctive has five primary uses. 

  • The hortatory subjunctive expresses a command
  • The concessive subjunctive introduces a concession
  • The optative subjunctive expresses a wish
  • The deliberative subjunctive introduces a question dependent on the will of the audience
  • The potential subjunctive (as seen in this passage), shows that an action is possible rather than real. 

Review the independent uses of the subjunctive by translating the following English sentences into Latin:

1. Hortatory:  Let us say this. (dicere)
Hoc .

2. Concessive:  Granted that artifice is powerful, nature is more powerful than artifice. (esse)
Ars fortis , natura fortior arta est.

3. Optative:  Would that the water is pure. (esse)
Aqua pura .

4. Deliberative:  What am I to do? (agere)
Quid ?

5. Potential:  This may be possible. (esse, podere)
Hoc .

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