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    Henle Help

    In Exercise 182 #9, the sentence to translate is "There were many Romans in Gaul." The answer in the MP book is "In Galliā multī Rōmānī fuērunt." Why is it "fuērunt" instead of "erant” in this case?

    If you could shed some light on this question, I'd really appreciate it. Thank you!!


    Both can be translated as "there were", so if a student were to provide erant as an answer, they certainly wouldn't be wrong. They differ only in their perfective aspect, or rather, whether or not the Romans' being in Gaul is being described in its past totality. While grammatically, there's no indication of distinctly imperfect or perfect tense, in the absence of additional context we can certainly say now that the Romans' being in Gaul is past and complete - I reckon there are not many Romans there anymore. So, the use of fuērunt may simply indicate this verb as emphasizing the Romans' being in Gaul as a totally past event. Whereas, in the context of a past story where events were happening in the midst of the Romans being in Gaul - that is, past and ongoing - use of fuērunt would cease to be appropriate.

    - Jon