Independent Uses of the Subjunctive in Latin

Salvete omnes! Today I will be discussing the Independent Uses of Subjunctive Mood Verbs.

The jussive and the hortatory subjunctive are two related independent uses and is used to provide suggestions. They are both translated as let [person] [verb]. The difference lies in the person. The hortatory subjunctive uses the first person and is therefore translated as Let me (sg. form) or Let us (pl. form). The jussive subjunctive describes the third person usage and translates to Let him (sg. form) or Let them (pl. form).

Hortatory Example: petamus - Let us seek (present subjunctive) 

BTW: If you are unsure about how to form any of these verbs, then I would highly recommend checking out my previous video on subjunctive tense verb forms.

Jussive Example: Dicat - Let him speak (present subjunctive) 

A deliberative subjunctive is usually found in a first person subjunctive mood verb and is used to indicate a decision-making process or doubt with an established decision. In English a deliberative subjunctive is translated as “should.”

Deliberative Subjunctive Example: ubi moverem - Where was I moving to? (imperfect subjunctive) 

A main subjunctive can also express a possibility. This is known as a potential subjunctive. The translation is “would.”

Example: Iuvem - I should help.

*Please note that you will never have individual subjunctive verbs. These should always be interpreted in context.

The final use is the optative subjunctive and is the most differentiated based on time. The helper word utinam signals the use of an Optative Subjunctive. These kind of subjunctive expresses a wish (whether possible or impossible in context). A present subjunctive is used to express a wish for the future and is translated as “If only ..., may [verb] ...”. An imperfect subjunctive expresses an impossible wish in the present time and is translated as “If only ..., things were [verb] ...”. An pluperfect subjunctive expresses an impossible wish in the past time and is translated as “If only ..., things had [verb] ...”. If you wish to express a negative wish (I do not wish ...), then you would use the helper word ne to signal this intention.

Example: Di videant - May the Gods see. (pres. subjunctive) 

Example: Di viderent - If only the Gods would see. (imp. subjunctive) 

Example: Di vidissent - If only the Gods had seen. (plu. subjunctive)

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