Latin Prepositions


Source: Oulton. N.R.R. 2010. So You Really Want To Learn Latin Book I Tenterden, Great Britain: Galore Park Publishing (1999).

In Latin the preposition ‘governs’ (i.e. is followed by) a particular case, either accusative or the ablative. Some prepositions govern the accusative, some govern the ablative.

Using these prepositions, we can write:

‘Towards the table’ = ad mēnsam.
‘Under the tables’ = sub mēnsīs.

Particular care needs to be taken with the Latin preposition in. When it is followed by the accusative it means into or on to, but when it is followed by the ablative it means in or on.

E.g. in mēnsam = ‘onto the table’
E.g. in mēnsā = ‘on the table’

Prepositions + accusative
ad – [towards / to {1}]
ante – [before]
circum – [around]
contrā – [against]
in – [into / on to]
inter – [among]
per – [through / along]
post – [after]
prope – [near]

Prepositions + ablative
ā / ab {2} – [by / from]
cum – [with {3}]
– [down from / concerning]
ē / ex {4} – [out of]
in – [in / on]
sine – [without]
sub – [under]

  1. (In the sense of ‘towards’, e.g. ‘He sails to the island.’ Not to be confused by the normal use of the dative case meaning ‘to’.)
  2. (The preposition ā becomes ab when the next word begins with a vowel or an h.)
  3. (In the sense of ‘together with’ e.g. ‘he walks with the women’ meaning together with. This should not be confused with the normal use of the ablative for ‘with’ meaning ‘by means of’ e.g. ‘he killed the farmer with an arrow’ i.e. by means of an arrow.)
  4. (The preposition ē becomes ex before a vowel or an h.)

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