Robert Grosseteste

On Angels

Latin Grammar: Ablative Absolute

De re itaque grandi, petitione tua compellente, pauca non granditer locuturus, in primis tuae dilectioni respondeo me sentire hoc verum esse, scilicet quod Deus est forma et forma omnium; et cum sit forma, necessario est forma prima, quia ante ipsum nihil; ipse enim est primus et novissimus.

The Ablative Absolute

The ablative absolute is a participial phrase usually consisting of a noun and participle in the ablative case. The subject of this phrase is never the same as the subject of the sentence, yet the phrase is loosely connected to the sense of the sentence, usually describing the general circumstances surrounding the main action of the sentence.

Ablative absolutes are usually best translated with a logical conjunction such as "when," "since," or "although."

Translate the following Latin phrases into English keeping in mind the logical connection between the absolute phrase and the sentence.

1. Eo hic ambulante, timeo.
I am afraid since [3 words].

2. Rege ducente, aggressi sumus.
With the [2 words], we advanced.

3. His rebus auditis, exiverunt.
When [4 words], they left.

4. Sole oriente, surgit.
When the [3 words], I got up.

5. Eo loquente, tamen discesserunt.
Although [3 words], nevertheless we departed.

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