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Hudson Diaz
Hudson Diaz

Ablative Case


Most uses of the classical Latin ablative fall into one of these three categories (or a combination of them). So, random as the various uses of the ablative may seem, there is actually some logic involved. I promise.




ablative case



The instrumental case focuses on the means or instrument with which you perform some action. The locative explains where (in what location) something occurs. And the Proto-Indo-European ablative case expresses separation or motion away from.


It is hard to summarize the uses of the ablative case in a few words, since the ablative plays so many different roles. Often the ablative appears with a preposition, and this makes its meaning easier to determine (as we will discuss more below).


In all three of these sentences, someone performs an action and the object in the ablative is the instrument necessary for that action. The queen is in danger, and the letter was our means of warning her. Similarly, the boy makes use of a rock to smash the chair, and you use the sword to touch me.


The ablative of agent always expresses a personal agent. In other words, the ablative of agent cannot be an inanimate object. Thus the ablative of agent and the ablative of means fulfil different needs.


And now, at long last, we have arrived at the infamous ablative absolute. An ablative absolute is an expression involving, at minimum, 1) a noun in the ablative and 2) a participle in the ablative.


As you can see, ablative absolutes can be translated in a variety of ways. They can be confusing at first, but they are everywhere, so if you read Latin frequently, you will soon get a lot of practice.


The ablative preposition can combine with bound personal pronouns and free personal pronouns. Bound pronouns are not normally used in written Persian and are typical of spoken Persian. The following table demonstrates bound ablative pronouns as they are written and pronounced in informal speech.


The phrase, "from faith" may be considered the ablative of source; i.e., the righteousness of God imputed into a person's life comes into their life through faith alone, therefore, the origin of that righteousness within a person's heart is from faith.


This is the use of the ablative whereby, through comparison, there is the obvious sense of separation; i.e., something, for example, that is "greater" than something else-thus, separated from something.


In this instance, the phrase, "greater than" (μείζων-meidzōn) is modifying "John the Baptist" which is in the ablative case and is implying a separation by comparison from every other person born of a woman.


The word in the parentheses in the Greek and transliteration and underlined in the English is the word in the ablative that will be identified. The ablative will be described in the same way that will be found described in an analytical lexicon which may be used later (e.g., ab. sg. masc. = ablative case, singular noun, masculine gender).


In general, therefore, in order to say "In the morning", "At nine O'clock," or "In the tenth year," use ablative. It is generally used to refer to a specific time in which something has, does, or will occur.


The ablative is also useful for showing the location of things, in general where you would use the words on, in, or at. There is an exception for the slightly more archaic locative, which is used with the words domi (from domus, domus, f., home), ruri (from rus, ruris, n., country [as opposed to city]), and Romae (from Roma, Romae, f., Rome), as well as with the names of towns, cities and small islands.


Latin has its own way of handling prepositions depending on the nouns and their cases in the sentence, including the versatile in, which can take many different meanings depending upon the case of the object.


While you will rarely need to ask Lupus where the bathroom is in Latin, you may find yourself reading either quotes or letters in which a person is being directly addressed. The case it will be in is the vocative.


Compare to:Ágihozmegyek. I am going to(wards) Agi.Áginálvagyok.I am at/by (the house of, or stood by) Ági.Ágitóljöttem.I came from (the house of, or being next to) Ági. Application of this case implies that an object is solid and that you are not (going towards/coming from) inside it.


As regards form the abl. in Pāli presents more problems than any other case. We have already referred (116) to the coinciding of the older inst. sg. of a- nouns, viz., the form in -ā which survives in such instances as sahatthā etc. (vide 6), with the ending -ā of the abl. sg. of a- nouns which corresponds to Skr. -āt. Beside this form, in all other declensions Sanskrit has -as for both abl. and gen. sg. which however is absent in Pāli. Here the forms -smā and its phonetic development -mhā borrowed from the pronominal declension appear beside the -ā form. But its employment is restricted to a few uses denoting separation in the general sense (vide 5.a) especially in connection with the verb pabbajati. The syntactical interfusion of the abl. and inst. in the older language (116) has resulted in the loss of the original abl. ending which in Pāli is superseded by that of the inst. in the rest of the vowel declension (masc. and neut.). In the plural everywhere the two cases are formally identical, whereas in Skr. it is the dat. (plural and dual) which coincides with the inst. in spite of the contradictory syntactical conceptions (cp. SS 93).


As fundamental characteristic of the abl. we have mentioned in the previous chapter its function of denoting the point from which an action proceeds. Now, the psychological fact behind the conception of proceeding from is the notion of separation. It is implied not only in the idea of going away from but also in that of origination. According to local grammarians it is the fundamental notion underlying all the primary uses of this case; hence the name avadhi (limit of separation). Chakravarti Philosophy of Sanskrit Grammar p. 201. regards the notion of origination (janayatva) itself as being contained in the conception of avadhi. In fact there is equal justification for either division to be regarded as the first because of the fundamental unity of conception. Speyer, probably following the older grammarians, places the abl. of separation at the beginning of his treatment of that case. (SS 93).


This abl. is frequently employed to express the place or limit from which a distance is reckoned (in a literal sense), the terminus ad quem being put in the acc. case (cp. 39. a&b). The following examples imply conception in space:


yāvad eva (v.l. yāvadeva) manussehi suppakāsitaṃ D II.113,114,219; III.122, where the case is however doubtful (vide 9). What is significant in the case of both ā and yāva with the abl. is that, at least in the instances found in the Nikāya prose, the construction does not signify the terminus ab quo but the notion which is the very opposite of it, viz. the terminus ad quem. Thus we have here the same logical phenomenon as confronted us in the case of the inst. implying mutuality (i.e. both separation and union, vide 73.c.). Though the preposition pabhuti is derived from the Vedic prabhṛti (originally a fem. noun), it is hardly found in the Nikāyas as such. It occurs once in a compound, viz.


Speyer has shown (SS 103.IV.) how Sanskrit, just as Latin, uses the abl. not only for the sake of signifying from what side (usually cause) but also on what side. Here, he says, the ending -taḥ (Pāli -to) is employed, it seems, by preference, at least in the case of indicating space and directing, sometimes it is concurrent with the loc. of point at which. In Pāli we find many instances of this abl. appearing in various functions some of which are, logically speaking, highly involved. Such, for instance, are the following:


c. Nearly all of the above adverbial ablatives signify space, the region in which, and are therefore, syntactically parallel to the loc. In the following examples the notion of direction rather than locality is emphasized. e.g.,


b. In the above examples, as pointed out before, it is the suffix -to that is generally employed to denote viewpoint or relation. However, though the -to forms assume the role of the regular case-forms of the abl. in these and some other instances, still a full and complete identity between them can only be found in the pronominal declension, just as in Sanskrit (cp. SS 108). Pāṇinī gives a considerable number of rules about the use of this suffix, which show that its sphere of employment, though mostly coinciding with that of the abl. proper, is more often a different one.


In the preceding paragraphs we have already referred to a considerable number of ablatives employed as pure adverbs and some even as prepositions (such as ārā). Beside these there are many other ablatives in -ā and -to (-smā occurring only with pronominal stems), and a considerable number of -so forms with ablatival sense, used as adverbs. These may be dealt with according to the syntactical categories established in the previous chapters.


a. The abl. singular of demonstrative, interrogative and relative pronouns is frequently found as adverb of reason and manner. Logically they are ablatives of cause. e.g.,


The term ablative has long been used primarily for Latin, where the 'away from' meaning is only one of many uses, and in fact other uses (such as the instrumental and manner uses) are more prominent in Latin. Still, when used in other languages, the term ablative generally implies the meaning 'away from'. 041b061a72


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