the ablative of time when / by Anthony Gibbins

The Ablative Case is the Swiss Army Knife of Cases. You could write a book on the things it can do – in fact, I’m pretty sure that somebody has. Ablative of Separation. Ablative of Means. Ablative of Instrument. Ablative of Agent. Ablative of Description. Blah blah blah. One of my favorites is the good old honest Ablative of Time When. It tells you when something happens. Simple.

Take this expression for example; primus dies Autumni the first day of Autumn. Now let’s change primus dies to the Ablative Case; primo die Autumni. Just like that it means on the first day of Autumn. Let’s try another. quinta nox anni means the fifth night of the year. In the Ablative quinta nocte anni means on or during the fifth night of the year. One more; annus bonus means a good year. The plural anni boni means good years. The Ablative Plural annis bonis means in good years. colonus annis bonis laetus est The farmer is happy in good years.

On today’s page is a wonderful Latin expression hoc ipso tempore at this very moment. It is an Ablative of Time When. In the Nominative Case it would be hoc ipsum tempus this very moment. To break it down, hoc means this, ipsum means actual and tempus means time. So, literally hoc ipso tempore probably means at this actual time, but who wouldn’t prefer at this very moment?

To change tack for a second, do you like Marcellus’ new outfit? It once belonged to Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I was wondering what Marcellus would do with all that money…

At this very moment the door of the small attic room of Marcellus opens and the painter himself (the actual painter!) exits, dressed in new and expensive clothing.