Lesson 19: Relative Pronouns 2

Basic principles for the use of relative pronouns

Once one knows the relative pronouns, presented in Lesson 16 then one uses the following three principles the way they are used in Latin literature, from 200 BC - 2003 AD.
Instructions:Memorize these 3 rules well, they will save you a lot of headaches.

  1. In a complex sentence, there can be clauses within clauses. Therefore, the verb which follows a relative pronoun must always stay with that pronoun.
    This can be called the "box effect" as one can draw brackets around each clause, for without the "boxes", this sentence would be chaos (3 verbs in a row!): (librum {quem Anna [quam diligo] misit} lego) - I am reading the book which Anna, whom I esteem, sent.
  2. The relative clause often comes first, out in front (before the antecedent) in the sentence.
    quos scripsisti laudo libros - I praise the books which you have written.
  3. Omission of the pronoun which is the antecedent of the relative pronoun.
    The Romans wouldn't write "laudo eos qui bene cantant" - I praise those who sing well. Instead combing principles #2 & #3: "qui bene cantant laudo", dropping the eos, which can be determined by simple reasoning: qui is maculine plural subject.

Now go on to Homework 15 and then to Homework 16-17 to practice your relative pronouns.

N.B. a simple train of logic is needed:

"You don't need to be a genius to know Latin. Prostitutes and bums in Rome spoke Latin, so there must be some hope for us." - Fr. Foster

First Experience Latin - Fr. Reginald Foster

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