Translation of “ut / (nē)” Clauses

These are in average order of frequency. The relative frequency varies somewhat from author to author.
Note: Only in purpose clauses is “ut” translate as “so that.” In most of the other “ut” clauses, which combined make up the majority, “ut” is translated as simply “that.”  For details, see below.

(Kind) and Context Clues



 Indirect Command noun clause:Verb or expression indicating a command, bidding, order, etc. (see also synonyms) (The clause acts as the object of the verb of commanding.)  (bid/command) ut/nē + subjunctive:(bid/command)  that (someone) ______ .

Note: Translate as if an imperative; do not translate as indicative or “subjunctive”:
(This is an English subjunctive.)
e.g. (that someone) “send,” not “sends” or “should send.”

 Adverbial Purpose (or “final” in some grammar books) clause:This is the “unmarked” kind; if there are no indicators for another kind, this is the most likely.
As such, it may come at the beginning of the sentence (or later).
It tells “why” someone is doing/did something.
 ut/nē + subjunctive:primary main verb (+ present subj).: so that ____ may _____

secondary main verb (+ imperfect subj).: so that ____ might______

+ either present or imperfect subjunctive if the subject is the same as the subject of the main clause: (in order to) _________  (English infinitive of purpose)

 Adverbial Result ( or “consecutive” in some grammar) clause:one of the following “set-up” words:
itain such a way (especially with a jussive subjunctive):
tantus, -a, -um so great/big (especially when tantus comes early in the sentence and is the complement/predicate adjective:so ___ was the ____)
tam so ____
sīc thus, in such a way
talis, -e of such a sort
adeo (to such a degree that) especially when adeo comes near the end of the clause, as if the result clause is an afterthought
superlative adjective/adverb: very ___ [such] that
adjectival is, ea, id ut + nōn (for result; most other kinds of ut clauses use  for negative)

[Composition note:

 At tanta militum virtus atque ea praesentia animi fuit ut . . . non modo decederetnemo sed paene ne respiceret quidem quisquam [Where does tanta come? How can you predict that it is the complement?]mons autem altissimus impendebat, ut facile . . .(Caesar BG I. 6)  ut / ut nōn + subjunctive:primary main verb (+ present subj.): that (someone/something) _____(s)/ is ____ing

secondary main verb (+ imperfect subj.): that(someone/something) _____ed

 “ut” noun clause (or noun clause of result):certain verb needing an object (noun) clause:
accidit (it happens)
efficit (bring it about)
 ut / ut nōn + subjunctive:
that (something) (not) _____(s)/ was ____ing
 (Adverbial “ut” clause): ut interrupts a clause, often marked by a comma before and after. It is usually a short clause.
The prediction is confirmed by an indicative verb.
 , ut + indicative, :
as _____ (translate verb as normal indicative)when ____ (translate verb as normal indicative)
Note: the longer the clause, the more likley that the translation will be “when” rather than “as.”
 (Clause of fearing):Verb or expression of of fearing:
 (fear)  + subjunctive  [much more common]primary main verb (fear) nē + (present) subjunctive:      lest (/that) (someone) _____ .
Note: Translate as if an imperative; do not translate as indicative or “subjunctive”:
(This is an English subjunctive.)
e.g. (that someone) “die,” not “dies” or “should die.”

secondary main verb (feared) nē + (imperfect) subjunctive:  lest(/that) (someone) would _____

 veritus, . . . ut hostium impetum sustinere posset, (Caes. BG V.47.4)  (fear) ut (+ subjunctive)   [not common]
(fear) that (something) (would) not _________
[Think of it as an original optative clause: may it happen/ I hope it happens, but you fear, then, that it not happen.]

Relative frequency:

{Figures for Vergil, Catullus, Horace, Ovid, and Cicero from John Breuker, American Classical League, 2003, based on the AP syllabus texts for those authors)


What kind of ut clause is the following?