This isn’t the first time I’ve touched on the Ablative Absolute, and I doubt it will be the last. It is one of the first grammatical features of Latin that really grabbed my attention, I think because it seemed so very different from anything I’d seen in English.
Follow this sequence of Sentences, taking your time to understand each one and the changes that occur between them.
Marcellus involucrum in sinu ponit. deinde tonstrinam intrat. Marcellus puts the envelope in his pocket. Then he enters the barber shop.
Marcellus involucrum in sinu posuit. nunc tonstrinam intrat. Marcellus put the envelope in his pocket. Now he is entering the barber shop.
involucrum in sinu positum est. nunc Marcellus tonstrinam intrat. The envelope was placed in the pocket. Now Marcellus is entering the barber shop.
involucro in sinu posito, Marcellus tonstrinam intrat. The envelope having been placed in [his] pocket, Marcellus enters the barber shop.
The final Sentence contains an Ablative Absolute; involucro posito the envelope having been placed. Ablative because both involucro and posito are in the Ablative Case. Absolute because that expression is grammatically unattached (Absolute) from the remainder of the Sentence.
The envelope having been placed in [his] pocket, Marcellus enters the barber shop and greets Alan in a friendly manner. Alan, who is not busy, responds in a friendly manner, ‘Hello, Marcellus’.