Guidelines on Questions and Answers in Latin

Answering Questions

• Write a complete sentence, including the verb.
• You do not need to repeat (include) the subject of the question unless that is what the question is asking. (Quis?)
• Verb: Use the actual verb.
“est” is/exists. It can’t be used as in English to stand for another verb: Is [_____ing] or as an auxiliary verb.
(Don’t use “est/sunt” plus another verb in the same clause.)
e.g. Venitne? Venit (no added “est” and not “est” by itself without venit).
• Make sure you answer the questions that is asked. Review the interrogatives.
• -ne (yes/no questions):
Yes: Repeat the verb (and any other essential words).
Nōn cannot be used by itself for “no.” For negative, the adverb “nōn” negates the verb and comes right before it
(unless you are emphasizing and answer “not _____ but _____”).
• Watch your case endings. If it is the direct object, it needs to have the accusative ending, etc.
Cūr questions: The answer should include the essentials of the main clause and quia plus a complete (subordinate) clause (including a verb) giving the reason.
• To correct or contradict a question, e.g. Nōnne/ Num . . .?
To answer the opposite of what is expected, use “immō” (nay/rather/on the contrary) plus your answer.
Nōnne venit? Immō, nōn venit.
Num venit? Immō, venit.

Writing questions

Direct question Indirect question (+ subjunctive verb)
with interrogative + subjunctive verb
yes/no (Neutral): -ne (usually added to the verb, which comes first as the predicate of the question. If a specific word is questioned, that word comes as soon as possible with the -ne added.) (if/whether): -ne/num . . . (+ subjunctive). N.B. Do not use “sī.”
Expect/”assume” “yes” answer: Nōnne . . .? (nonne only with quaero)
Expect/”assume” “no” answer: Num . . .?
Alternative: (A or B)?
(A) or not?
(Utrum) . . . an . . .? (-ne) . . . an . . .? Note: utrum or –ne is often omitted: (A) . . . an . . .? (A) . . . anne . . .? (A) . . . annon? (Utrum) . . . an . . . (-ne) . . . an . . . Note: utrum or –ne is often omitted: (A) . . . an . . .
(A) . . . necne
N.B. Do not use aut for alternative questions unless the question is not exclusive, but inclusive:
whether either A and/or B holds (you don’t care which or both), e.g.
Habēsne frātrēs aut sorōrēs? (i.e. do you have any sibling(s)?)
(vs. Utrum frātrem an sorōrem habēs?
(i.e. I remember you have a sibling, but is it a brother or sister?)