The Allen and Greenough is still under construction;
so some links may not work quite the way you would expect.
Double or Collective Subject.
317. Two or more singular subjects take a verb in
- pater et avus mortui sunt, his
father and grandfather are dead.
NOTE: So rarely (by synesis, §280. a) when to a singular subject is
attached an ablative with cum: as, - dum cum aliquot principibus
capiuntur (Liv. XVI. 60), the general and several leading men are taken.
a. When subjects are of different persons,
the verb is usually in the first person rather than the second, and in the
second rather than the third: -
- si tu et Tullia valetis ego et Cicero
valemus (Fam. xiv. 5), if you and Tullia are well, Cicero and
are well. [Notice that the first person is also first in order, not
last, as by courtesy in English.]
NOTE: In case of different genders a participle in a verb-form
follows the rule for predicate adjectives (see §287. 2 4).
b. If the subjects are connected by
disjunctives (§223. a), or if they
are considered as a single whole, the verb is usually singular: -
- quem ueque fides ueque ius iurandum
neque illum misericordia repressit (Ter. Ad. 306), not faith,
nor oath, nay, nor mercy, checked him.
- senatus populusque Romanus
intellegit (Fam. v. 8), the Roman senate and people
understand. [But, neque Caesar neque ego habiti
essemus (id. xi. 20), neither Caesar nor I should have been
- fama et vlta innocentis defenditur
(Rosc. Am. 10), the reputation and life of an innocent man are
- est in eo virtus et probitas et summum
officium summaque observantia (Fam. xiii. 28 A. 2), in him are
to be found worth, uprightness, the highest sense of duty, and the
NOTE: So almost always when the subjects are abstract nouns.
c. When a verb belongs to two or more
subjects separately, it often agrees with one and is understood with the
- intercedit M. Antonius Q. Cassius
tribum plebis (B. C. i. 2) Mark Antony and Quintus Cassius,
tribunes of the people, interpose.
- hoc mihi et Peripatetici et vetus Academia
concedit (Acad. ii. 113), this both the Peripatetic philosophers
and the Old Academy grant me.
d. A collective noun commonly takes a verb
in the singular; but, the plural is often found with collective nouns when
individuals are thought of (§280. a):
- (1) senatus haec intellegit
(Cat. i. 2),the Senate is aware of this.
- ad hiberna exercitus redit
(Liv. xxi. 22), the army returns to winter-quarters.
- plebes a patribus secessit
(Sall.Cat.33), the plebs seceded from the patricians.
- (2) pars praedas agebant (Iug. 32),
a part brought in booty.
- cum tanta multitado lapides
conicerent (B. G. ii. 6), when such a crowd were throwing
NOTE 1: The point of view may change in the course of a
sentence: as, - equitatum omnem ... quem habebat
praemittit, qui videant (B. G. i. 15), he sent ahead all the
cavalry he had, to see (who should see).
NOTE 2: The singular of a noun regularly denoting an
individual is sometimes used collectively to denote a group: as, Poenus, the Carthaginians; miles, the soldiery; eques, the cavalry.
each, and unus quisque, every
single one, have very often a plural verb, but may be considered as
partitive apposition with a plural subject implied (cf. §282. a): -
- sibi quisque habeant quod suum
est (Pl. Curc. 180), let every one keep his own (let them keep every man his own).
NOTE: So also uterque,
each (of two), and the reciprocal phrases alius ... alium, alter ... alterum (§315. a).