Miranda’s Sleepless Night - A Grammatical Commentary / by Anthony Gibbins

Today’s page has three sentences. The bare bones of the first are Miranda dormire non potest Miranda is not able to sleep. It is quite common - as here - for any form of possum posse to be able to be used with an Infinitive Verb such as dormire to sleep. Miranda is described by the Possessive Adjective nostra our, an affectionate term. Miranda is also described by the Present Active Participle cubitans lying. The Prepositional Phrase in lecto in bed tells us where Miranda is lying. custos publica public guard is in Apposition to Miranda. Words in Apposition are in the same Case and tend to tell us something more about a particular Noun. custos publica reminds us that Miranda is a police officer. The Adverb interea meanwhile links (or perhaps separates) this sentence with what has come before.

Meanwhile our Miranda, a police officer, lying in bed, is unable to sleep.

The bare bones of the second sentence are fugam volvit she is turning over the escape. As we have seen, volvo volvere to turn over often means to think about. in animo in [her] mind makes that meaning clear here. Which fugam escape she is thinking about is made clear with the Genitive Case feminae of the woman. This is, of course, a reference to Jessica’s escape, although Miranda does not know her identity. The Adverb adhuc means still.

Miranda is still turning over the woman’s escape in her mind.

The third sentence has two parts; the main clause Miranda se rogat Miranda asks herself and the Direct Question quomodo me illa effugere potuit how was she able to escape me? quomodo? literally means by what mode? and is the closest equivalent of the English how? illa she in the Nominative Case is the Subject of potuit she was able. me me in the Accusative Case is the Object of effugere to escape.

‘How was she able to escape me?’ Miranda asks herself.