How do you translate long, complex Latin sentences?

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Every sentence in Latin can be broken up into smaller, simple parts. The first step is always to identify and perhaps even highlight all the words which agree with each other in case, number and gender. Often times, if nouns and adjectives come from different declensions or one or more are irregular, it can be difficult to spot what agrees with what and mistakes can be made. For this reason, it is imperative that you learn your grammar tables and vocab.

Next, look for your main verb. This will usually be at the end of the sentence and tends to be indicative (not subjunctive) - again, learning verb tables thoroughly is vital. Generally, if a verb is subjunctive, that is a good sign that it is part of a subordinate clause.

Once you have completed these two quick steps, you then have to piece together all of the parts of the sentence in a way which makes sense. Usually there will only be one correct solution so if you think there is more than one possibility, consider two options:

1) Do your two solutions have precisely the same meaning (be very rigorous in determining the answer)? If so, then either is fine. If not;

2) Revise your grouping and specification of words. The chances are that you have misidentified the case/number/gender of a word or group of words or you have mistranslated the tense/mood of a verb.

Olaoluwa O. GCSE Further Mathematics  tutor, A Level Further Mathemat...

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