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Ablative of comparison vs quam

In English, the comparative adjective or adverb is connected to the thing being compared with the conjunction than.

In Latin, the regular particle to express the comparison is quam, so the previous examples would become:

You can often omit it with numbers and adverbs such as plūs or minus.

But Latin also has another way to express comparison. Yes, you guessed it right, the ever-so-flexible ablative. Using ablative for comparison makes the phrases snappier, shorter and more to the point1.

The basic anatomy of an comparative ablative is to put the thing or person being compared or the property being compared in ablative. You can imagine this being something akin to ablative of respect or separation.

But there is one thing you need to beware of; you can only use this ablative if the other noun would be in nominative or accusative, otherwise you have to fall back to quam. To illustrate the difference, observe the following (the adjective studiōsus takes genitive):

The second example translated to the regular quam construction would read:

which puts the noun in nominative.

Footnotes:

1
Similar to how Ablative Absolute can make the lengthy temporal cum constructions simpler

Last updated at: 2017-06-04 15:39
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