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Latin Conjunctions

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In Latin and in English, conjunctions are words that join other words together.
The very word 'conjunction' means join together:

  • con 'with' + junct... (from iungo) 'join'.
The most common conjunctions in English are
  • and
  • but
  • or

"And" is used to join any two parts of a sentence together. "But" is an "adversative," and contrasts parts of a sentence. "Or" may be referred to as a "disjunction" and means different things depending on whether it is being used informally or mathematically/logically. Latin has comparable conjunctions, but it has more of them.

Basic conjunctions in Latin are:

  • et,
  • -que,
  • sed,
  • at/ac,
  • atque
  • nec,
  • neque,
  • vel
  • aut.

And

To translate the English "and" you would use the Latin et if you wanted the conjunction to be a separate and independent word, and -que if you wanted a conjunction that is added to the end of the second conjoined object.

In the following, the bolded forms are the conjunctions.

  • arma virumque cano
    arms and the man I sing
    vs
  • arma et virum cano
    which doesn't fit the hexameter meter Vergil needed in the Aeneid, but means the same thing.
There are other words for "and" like ac or atque. These can be used, like et ... et, in pairs as "correlative conjunctions" to mean "both ... and".

But

The Latin for "but" is sed or at

  • vera dico, sed nequicquam....
    I speak the truth, but in vain....

Or

The Latin for the correlative conjunction "either ... or" is vel ... vel or aut ... aut. Aut or vel can also be used singly for "or". the negative is nec ... nec or neque ... neque meaning "neither ... nor". Nec or Neque used singly means '(and) not'. Vel and aut may be described as "disjunctions." An aside, the use of "v" to stand for "or" in symbolic logic comes from the Latin word vel.

More on Conjunctions

Please let me know if I've made an error.

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