A gerundive is what is called a verbal adjective. This means that it occupies a middle ground between a verb and an adjective and shows characteristics of both. It is passive in meaning and exists in both the singular and plural form.
Gerundive: Verbal adjective
|Verb properties||Noun properties|
A gerundive is formed from a verb.
A gerundive changes in form to agree in gender, number and case with the noun it is associated with.
The gerundive is formed by removing the '-m' from the gerund and adding '-s'.
|vocandum||calling||vocandus, -a, -um||to be called|
|habendum||having||habendus, -a, -um||to be had|
|mittendum||sending||mittendus, -a, -um||to be sent|
|audiendum||hearing||audiendus, -a, -um||to be heard|
It is important to note that the gerundive does not have an exact translation into English, and in order to convey the idea of obligation or suitability inherent in its meaning, translations can include such forms as 'fit to be', 'must be' and 'ought to be'.
(1) One of the most common uses of the gerundive in medieval documents is the phrase 'habendum et tenendum', which you may well come across abbreviated to 'habend et tenend'.
Dedit messuagium habendum et tenendum Barnabe
He gave the messuage to be had and to be held to Barnabas
Or in a more recognisable construction:
He gave the messuage to have and to hold to Barnabas
(2) It is often used with the verb 'esse' to convey necessity or obligation.
Cultura danda est
The furlong must be/should be/ought to be given
You will notice examples of Latin gerundives still in use in modern English today.
Amanda – (a girl) fit to be loved
Miranda – (a girl) fit to be admired
Memoranda – things to be remembered
Agenda – things to be done