don't / by Anthony Gibbins

A couple of days ago I posted something on Imperative Verbs, which you can read here. It contained the following table:

Conjugation                 One Person                 More-than-One                       Meaning

First                               ambula!                       ambulate!                              Walk!

Second                          sede!                           sedete!                                   Sit!

Third                              curre!                          currite!                                   Run!

Fourth                            dormi!                         dormite!                                Sleep!

Mixed                             fuge!                            fugite!                                   Flee!

As you can see, the ending of an Imperative Verb is dependent on the Verb’s Conjugation and how many people one is ordering.

Today I want to show you how simple it can be to tell someone not to do something. The Verb you need is nolo, nolle, nolui to be unwilling or to not want. A common way to tell someone not to do something in Latin, is to tell them not to want to do it. We begin with the Imperative of nolo, nolle, nolui.

One Person                 More-than-One                       Meaning

noli!                             nolite!                                     Don’t want!

We follow this up, as you might expect, with an Infinitive Verb. noli ambulare! don’t want to walk (to one person). nolite ambulare! don’t want to walk (to more-than-one). noli currere! don’t want to run (to one person). nolite currere! don’t want to run (to more-than-one). We understand this, however, as Don’t walk! and Don’t run! (Perhaps there is an interesting psychological point to be made here, but I’m not sure what it is).

On today’s page, Miranda says to Jessica noli te vexare! do not want to distress yourself!

(There is also a use of the wonderful word opus. You can read a recent post on that word here.)

‘Do not distress yourself,’ Miranda says to Jessica. ‘I have developed a plan. We will catch these people holding the book! But now, let’s go to your home, Marcellus. There is need of your skill.’