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Beginners' Latin
Henry II on his deathbed and the writing of his will, historiated initial. 13th century. Cat ref: E 164/12 f 1. Crown copyright

Lesson 8: Prepositions; possession

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A prepositionGlossary - opens in a new window is a word that goes in front of a noun. The preposition does not decline, but it changes the case of the noun that follows it. Concentrate on learning words marked with an asterisk* first.

Most prepositions are followed by a noun in the accusative or the ablative case.
Some can be followed by a noun in either case, depending on their meaning.

Prepositions + accusative case

ad* towards, to, for, at
ante* before
apud* at, by, near, to, towards
inter* among, between
iuxta* next to, near, according to
per* by, through, during
post* after

Prepositions + ablative case

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a (before a consonant)/ab (before a vowel) by, from
coram in the presence of, before
cum* with
de* from, concerning, of, for
e (before a consonant)/ex (before a vowel) from, out of
pre* before
pro* for, during, as far as, in accordance with, in return for
sine without

Prepositions + either accusative or ablative case

in* + accusative into, onto + ablative in, on
super* + accusative over + ablative upon

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Prepositions which can take both cases use

  • accusative to describe movement towards something
  • ablative to describe the position of something which is static
finis inter Mariam et Simonem de terris iuxta ecclesiam apud Westmonasterium FineGlossary - opens in a new window between Mary and Simon concerning the lands next to the church at Westminster finis, -is (m.) fine
domina tenet manerium de Westmonasterio cum pertinenciis de rege pro servicio de uno milite The lady holds the manor of Westminster with appurtenancesGlossary - opens in a new window of the king for the serviceGlossary - opens in a new windowservice of one knight pertinentia , -e (f.) appurtenance

servicium , -ii (n.) service
Checklist Checklist:
Are you confident with:
Which two cases follow prepositions?
When in is followed by the accusative? When by the ablative?


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