The Hortatory and Jussive Subjunctives

All the uses for the subjunctive mood that you have been presented with so far have been dependent or subordinate: They depend on being introduced by a subordinating conjunction and cannot stand alone as clauses.

There are also a few subjunctive uses referred to as independent because they do not require a subordinating conjunction to introduce them. Now is a good time to learn the most common of them since they also, in varying degrees, involve getting someone else to do something.

The imperative prompts movement to action in a direct, not-so-subtle way. You can take advantage of the subjunctive mood's treatment of actions as ideas or wishes to get a ball rolling in a gentle, nudging way.

The term “hortatory” comes from the verb hortor, hortā ,hortā tus sum, which means “to urge” or “to encourage.” The hortatory subjunctive is an independent use of the subjunctive that, in the present tense, can be used to rouse a group, to ask permission for oneself, or to give permission to someone else to do something. If the encouragement is negative, >is used.

Gaudeā mus igitur, iuvenēs dum sumus. (So let's party while we are still young.)

Potiī nem habeam et omnia vobīs narrā . (Let me have a drink and I will tell you everything.)

Caveat emptor. (Let the buyer beware.)

intrant! (Let them not enter! i.e., Don't let them in!)

When used in the imperfect or pluperfect tense, the hortatory subjunctive shows something that should have happened in the past, but didn't. The only difference between the imperfect and pluperfect tenses for this subjunctive use is that the pluperfect is more emphatic about the time being in the past.

Tam bonus, tam venū stus erat Marcus. Nē morerē tur. (Marcus was so good, so charming. He shouldn't have died.)

Cum vinī pigē ret, alium poposcissē s. (Since you really didn't like the wine, you should have asked for a different one.)

What is the difference between “hortatory” and “jussive”?

In practice, there really isn't any. Some grammatical traditions reserve the term “hortatory” for first person forms only. The others they refer to as “jussive,” from the verb iubeō , iubē re, iussī , iussum meaning “to order.”

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