AP Latin : Syntax of Prose Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Latin

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Grammar, Syntax, And Scansion In Prose Passages

     In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
corpora; di, coeptis (nam vos mutastis et illas)
adspirate meis primaque ab origine mundi
ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen!
     Ante mare et terras et quod tegit omnia caelum               5
unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe,
quem dixere chaos: rudis indigestaque moles
nec quicquam nisi pondus iners congestaque eodem
non bene iunctarum discordia semina rerum.
nullus adhuc mundo praebebat lumina Titan,                         10
nec nova crescendo reparabat cornua Phoebe,
nec circumfuso pendebat in aere tellus
ponderibus librata suis, nec bracchia longo
margine terrarum porrexerat Amphitrite;
utque erat et tellus illic et pontus et aer,                               15
sic erat instabilis tellus, innabilis unda,
lucis egens aer; nulli sua forma manebat,
obstabatque aliis aliud, quia corpore in uno
frigida pugnabant calidis, umentia siccis,
mollia cum duris, sine pondere, habentia pondus.                  20

What is the object of "deducite" (line 4)?

Possible Answers:

Tempora

Carmen

Origine

Illas

Correct answer:

Carmen

Explanation:

The word "deducite" must take an accusative word as its direct object. In this clause of the sentence the only words that fit this description are "perpetuum carmen."

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, ln.1-20)

Example Question #2 : Grammar, Syntax, And Scansion In Prose Passages

 In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
corpora; di, coeptis (nam vos mutastis et illas)
adspirate meis primaque ab origine mundi
ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen!
     Ante mare et terras et quod tegit omnia caelum               5
unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe,
quem dixere chaos: rudis indigestaque moles
nec quicquam nisi pondus iners congestaque eodem
non bene iunctarum discordia semina rerum.
nullus adhuc mundo praebebat lumina Titan,                         10
nec nova crescendo reparabat cornua Phoebe,
nec circumfuso pendebat in aere tellus
ponderibus librata suis, nec bracchia longo
margine terrarum porrexerat Amphitrite;
utque erat et tellus illic et pontus et aer,                               15
sic erat instabilis tellus, innabilis unda,
lucis egens aer; nulli sua forma manebat,
obstabatque aliis aliud, quia corpore in uno
frigida pugnabant calidis, umentia siccis,
mollia cum duris, sine pondere, habentia pondus.                  20

The word "eodem" in line 8 translates as __________.

Possible Answers:

this

from

the same

a certain

Correct answer:

the same

Explanation:

The enclitic "-dem" indicates that the word should be translated as the same. It is commonly combined with a form of "is, ea, id or qui, quae, quod."

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, ln.1-20)

Example Question #3 : Grammar, Syntax, And Scansion In Prose Passages

Primus amor Phoebi Daphne Peneia, quem non
fors ignara dedit, sed saeva Cupidinis ira,
Delius hunc nuper, victa serpente superbus,
viderat adducto flectentem cornua nervo              
'quid' que 'tibi, lascive puer, cum fortibus armis?'               5
dixerat: 'ista decent umeros gestamina nostros,
qui dare certa ferae, dare vulnera possumus hosti,
qui modo pestifero tot iugera ventre prementem
stravimus innumeris tumidum Pythona sagittis.               
tu face nescio quos esto contentus amores                       10
inritare tua, nec laudes adsere nostras!'
filius huic Veneris 'figat tuus omnia, Phoebe,
te meus arcus' ait; 'quantoque animalia cedunt
cuncta deo, tanto minor est tua gloria nostra.'

The word "tuus" (line 12) modifies which word?

Possible Answers:

Arcus

Te

Phoebe

Omnia

Correct answer:

Arcus

Explanation:

The word "tuus" is describing the word "arcus." "Arcus" here is actually being described by "tuus" and "meus" to show the difference in uses between the two gods' bows.

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, 1.452-465)

Example Question #1 : Syntax Of Prose Passages

Saepe pater dixit: 'generum mihi, filia, debes,'
saepe pater dixit: 'debes mihi, nata, nepotes';
illa velut crimen taedas exosa iugales
pulchra verecundo suffuderat ora rubore
inque patris blandis haerens cervice lacertis                       5
'da mihi perpetua, genitor carissime,' dixit
'virginitate frui! dedit hoc pater ante Dianae.'
ille quidem obsequitur, sed te decor iste quod optas
esse vetat, votoque tuo tua forma repugnat:
Phoebus amat visaeque cupit conubia Daphnes,                 10
quodque cupit, sperat, suaque illum oracula fallunt,
utque leves stipulae demptis adolentur aristis,
ut facibus saepes ardent, quas forte viator
vel nimis admovit vel iam sub luce reliquit,
sic deus in flammas abiit, sic pectore toto                          15
uritur et sterilem sperando nutrit amorem.

In the phrases "generum . . . debes" (line 1) and "debes . . . nepotes" (line 2), what word should be supplied to fit the meaning of the sentence(s)?

Possible Answers:

Dare

Dicere

Relinquere

Curare

Correct answer:

Dare

Explanation:

In these lines, the father is urging his daughter to give him grandchildren. The most appropriate word for these phrases would be "dare," which, paired with "debes," would translate as you ought to give me.

(Adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, 1.481-496)

Example Question #5 : Grammar, Syntax, And Scansion In Prose Passages

Saepe pater dixit: 'generum mihi, filia, debes,'
saepe pater dixit: 'debes mihi, nata, nepotes';
illa velut crimen taedas exosa iugales
pulchra verecundo suffuderat ora rubore
inque patris blandis haerens cervice lacertis                       5
'da mihi perpetua, genitor carissime,' dixit
'virginitate frui! dedit hoc pater ante Dianae.'
ille quidem obsequitur, sed te decor iste quod optas
esse vetat, votoque tuo tua forma repugnat:
Phoebus amat visaeque cupit conubia Daphnes,                 10
quodque cupit, sperat, suaque illum oracula fallunt,
utque leves stipulae demptis adolentur aristis,
ut facibus saepes ardent, quas forte viator
vel nimis admovit vel iam sub luce reliquit,
sic deus in flammas abiit, sic pectore toto                          15
uritur et sterilem sperando nutrit amorem.

What word is the object of "frui" (line 7)?

Possible Answers:

No direct object

"Hoc" (line 7)

"Virginitate" (line 7)

"Genitor" (line 6)

Correct answer:

"Virginitate" (line 7)

Explanation:

The direct object of "frui" is "virginitate." "Frui" comes from the verb "fruor, frui, fructus sum," which is part of a small group of words in Latin that take ablative case words as their direct object. The daughter is asking her father to enjoy perpetual virginity.

(Adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, 1.481-496)

Example Question #6 : Grammar, Syntax, And Scansion In Prose Passages

Praebuerat dictis Tritonia talibus aures
carminaque Aonidum iustamque probaverat iram;
tum secum: 'laudare parum est, laudemur et ipsae
numina nec sperni sine poena nostra sinamus.'
Maeoniaeque animum fatis intendit Arachnes,             5
quam sibi lanificae non cedere laudibus artis
audierat. non illa loco nec origine gentis
clara, sed arte fuit: pater huic Colophonius Idmon
Phocaico bibulas tinguebat murice lanas;
occiderat mater, sed et haec de plebe suoque            10
aequa viro fuerat; Lydas tamen illa per urbes
quaesierat studio nomen memorabile, quamvis
orta domo parva parvis habitabat Hypaepis.
huius ut adspicerent opus admirabile, saepe
deseruere sui nymphae vineta Timoli,                       15
deseruere suas nymphae Pactolides undas.

What is the subject of "praebuerat" (line 1)?

Possible Answers:

Aures

Carmina (line 2)

Dictis

Tritonia

Correct answer:

Tritonia

Explanation:

The subject of "praebuerat" must be singular, since the verb is in the third person singular form. "Tritonia" is the only word that is singular. All of the other choices are plural.

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, VI.1-16)

Example Question #2 : Syntax Of Prose Passages

Praebuerat dictis Tritonia talibus aures
carminaque Aonidum iustamque probaverat iram;
tum secum: 'laudare parum est, laudemur et ipsae
numina nec sperni sine poena nostra sinamus.'
Maeoniaeque animum fatis intendit Arachnes,             5
quam sibi lanificae non cedere laudibus artis
audierat. non illa loco nec origine gentis
clara, sed arte fuit: pater huic Colophonius Idmon
Phocaico bibulas tinguebat murice lanas;
occiderat mater, sed et haec de plebe suoque            10
aequa viro fuerat; Lydas tamen illa per urbes
quaesierat studio nomen memorabile, quamvis
orta domo parva parvis habitabat Hypaepis.
huius ut adspicerent opus admirabile, saepe
deseruere sui nymphae vineta Timoli,                       15
deseruere suas nymphae Pactolides undas.

What is the proper translation of "probaverat" (line 2)?

Possible Answers:

She had approved

She showed

She was showing

She approved

Correct answer:

She had approved

Explanation:

The word "probaverat" comes from "probo, probare," which means to approve of. This form given is the pluperfect form, so the correct translation is she had approved.

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, VI.1-16)

Example Question #3 : Syntax Of Prose Passages

Praebuerat dictis Tritonia talibus aures
carminaque Aonidum iustamque probaverat iram;
tum secum: 'laudare parum est, laudemur et ipsae
numina nec sperni sine poena nostra sinamus.'
Maeoniaeque animum fatis intendit Arachnes,             5
quam sibi lanificae non cedere laudibus artis
audierat. non illa loco nec origine gentis
clara, sed arte fuit: pater huic Colophonius Idmon
Phocaico bibulas tinguebat murice lanas;
occiderat mater, sed et haec de plebe suoque            10
aequa viro fuerat; Lydas tamen illa per urbes
quaesierat studio nomen memorabile, quamvis
orta domo parva parvis habitabat Hypaepis.
huius ut adspicerent opus admirabile, saepe
deseruere sui nymphae vineta Timoli,                       15
deseruere suas nymphae Pactolides undas.

What is the subject of "laudemur" in line 3?

Possible Answers:

No additional subject

Numina (line 4)

Sperni (line 4)

Poena (line 4)

Correct answer:

Numina (line 4)

Explanation:

The word "laudemur" is a plural verb. Though it is not as common, verbs in the first and second person can have a noun or other word as their subjects. The only word in the nominative case is "numina." We know this because of syntax and sentence structure. "Sperni" is a verb, so it cannot be the subject, and since "poena" comes after "sine," it must be the object of that preposition.

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, VI.1-16)

Example Question #9 : Grammar, Syntax, And Scansion In Prose Passages

Praebuerat dictis Tritonia talibus aures
carminaque Aonidum iustamque probaverat iram;
tum secum: 'laudare parum est, laudemur et ipsae
numina nec sperni sine poena nostra sinamus.'
Maeoniaeque animum fatis intendit Arachnes,             5
quam sibi lanificae non cedere laudibus artis
audierat. non illa loco nec origine gentis
clara, sed arte fuit: pater huic Colophonius Idmon
Phocaico bibulas tinguebat murice lanas;
occiderat mater, sed et haec de plebe suoque            10
aequa viro fuerat; Lydas tamen illa per urbes
quaesierat studio nomen memorabile, quamvis
orta domo parva parvis habitabat Hypaepis.
huius ut adspicerent opus admirabile, saepe
deseruere sui nymphae vineta Timoli,                       15
deseruere suas nymphae Pactolides undas.

What is the correct translation of "sperni" (line 4)?

Possible Answers:

To scorn

Hopes

To hope

To be scorned

Correct answer:

To be scorned

Explanation:

The word "sperni" comes from "sperno, spernere"—to scorn/despise. The form "sperni" is an example of a passive infinitive. Governed by the verb "sinamus," the whole phrase translates as we are not accustomed to be spurned.

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, VI.1-16)

Example Question #4 : Syntax Of Prose Passages

Praebuerat dictis Tritonia talibus aures
carminaque Aonidum iustamque probaverat iram;
tum secum: 'laudare parum est, laudemur et ipsae
numina nec sperni sine poena nostra sinamus.'
Maeoniaeque animum fatis intendit Arachnes,             5
quam sibi lanificae non cedere laudibus artis
audierat. non illa loco nec origine gentis
clara, sed arte fuit: pater huic Colophonius Idmon
Phocaico bibulas tinguebat murice lanas;
occiderat mater, sed et haec de plebe suoque            10
aequa viro fuerat; Lydas tamen illa per urbes
quaesierat studio nomen memorabile, quamvis
orta domo parva parvis habitabat Hypaepis.
huius ut adspicerent opus admirabile, saepe
deseruere sui nymphae vineta Timoli,                       15
deseruere suas nymphae Pactolides undas.

"Deseruere" (line 15) translates as which of the following?

Possible Answers:

To leave

They left

They had left

They will leave

Correct answer:

They left

Explanation:

The word "deseruere" is an example of a syncopated verb. It is a shortened form of "deseruerunt," from the verb "desero, deserere, deserui, desertus." It means to leave. The syncopated form often looks like an infinitive, but has the perfect stem (in this case, "deseru-").

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, VI.1-16)

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