Latin/Lesson 8-Conditional Clauses
Conditional clauses in English and Latin have the general form:
if (condition clause) (result clause)
(result clause) if (condition clause)
- If I see anyone, I'll tell you.
- If he was sleeping, you should not have knocked.
- I cannot hear you if I'm sleeping.
- I would have been sad if I had not won.
There are 3 types of conditional clauses in Latin:
- Simple Fact (Present or Past)
- Contrary to Fact (Present or Past)
- Future (More or Less Vivid)
Simple Fact Conditionals
Simple fact conditionals in Latin have the general form:
si (condition clause in the present indicative) (result clause in the present indicative)
si (condition clause in the imperfect/perfect indicative) (result clause in the imperfect/perfect indicative)
si diligenter laboras, bonus puer es
If you are working diligently, you are a good boy.
si dominum adiuvabas, bonus servus eras
If you were helping your master, you were a good slave.
Contrary to Fact Conditionals
Contrary to fact conditionals are used if the condition clause is known to be false. For example:
If you weren't playing during class, you would be a good boy (but you were playing, so you aren't a good boy).
Contrary to fact conditionals have the general form:
si (condition clause in the imperfect subjunctive) (result clause in the imperfect subjunctive)
si (condition clause in the pluperfect subjunctive) (result clause in the pluperfect subjunctive)
si matrem adiuvaret, cena parata esset
If he were helping his mother, the dinner would be ready.
si patrem adiuvisset, pater matrem adiuvare potuisset
If he had helped his father, his father would have been able to help his mother.
Note how English uses would and would have for result clauses, while Latin uses the same tense as in the condition clauses.
Future conditionals are, of course, used to express conditions in the future. For example:
If you help me, I will be done faster.
Future conditionals take the following general form:
si (condition clause in the future or future perfect) (result clause in the future)
si (condition clause in the present subjunctive) (result clause in the present subjunctive)
si fortiter pugnaveritis, urbs non delebitur
If you fight bravely, the city will not be destroyed.
Note how English uses the present tense for the condition clause, while Latin uses the future or future perfect.
si diligenter laboretis, vobis meridie domum dimittam
If you were to work diligently, I would dismiss you at noon.
This type of clause, known as the future less vivid (as opposed to the future more vivid which uses the future and future perfect), is used to express more improbable conditions in the future.Last modified on 20 July 2010, at 20:59