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Grammar Confusion, Please Help! (English AND Latin)

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    Grammar Confusion, Please Help! (English AND Latin)

    I have been using the Duolingo Latin programme for myself, as well as working through the MP products (in an attempt to stay ahead of my kids). I have come across a problem, but I think it is my inadequate knowledge of English grammar that is confusing me.

    The sentence was: Multae lectiones in libro sunt.

    I was confused about "libro". Why not librum? Is the book the direct or the indirect object? (Still pondering at this point.)

    This was compounded further by considering the translations: "Many chapters are in the book" and "There are many chapters in the book." Does this make a difference? And what is the subject in each of these English sentences? I am pretty sure it is "chapters" in the first sentence, but does "there" act as a pronoun for the subject in the second?

    Could somebody please help me by parsing these sentences for me?

    (Sorry, this might all be very obvious, but where I live formal grammar is not taught. We only learn by ear, so I am just learning all this now.)

    Thank you,


    - It is "in libro" (in + ablative) and not "in librum" (in + accusative), because it indicates a state in place, not a movement into somewhere. It tells you where the chapters are, the presence of the verb to be is the clue that there is no movement. If the sentence had been, She placed a rose in the book, then you'd have a verb of movement and so you'd choose "in librum", as you can imagine the rose being moved inside the book. As a result of that movement, the rose is now in the book (in libro).

    - Bonus: the difference between in + accusative and ad + accusative is that ad usually conveys the idea of going towards something/someone/somewhere, a movement in the general direction of some place. In tends to mean a going into something/somewhere.

    - Both translations are correct, and in both translations the subject is the same, many chapters (multae lectiones is in the nominative, so that's the subject). "There is"/"there are" are called expletives: it's a common construction in many languages (like il y a in French, or c'e'/ci sono in Italian), but Latin doesn't have it, it only uses the plain verb to be. Often, the verb to be at the beginning of a Latin sentence is a clue that you may use "there is/there are" in English: for example, Est vinum in amphora = There is wine in the jar. But Latin is not strictly based on word order, and if you had Vinum in amphora est, you could still translate it as There is wine in the jar, although if you had more context maybe that verb placed at the end means that the wine is in the jar,not somewhere else. But that goes beyond understanding expletives: I'm sorry, I can't remember in which Form MP teaches them, but I know they are there!
    DS (15)
    DD (14)
    DS (7)


      Thank you! The more Latin I learn the more exciting it is. My brain loves the puzzle of really thinking about the words, as opposed to the mother tongue wherw it just kind of happens.