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Word Order

Word order in Latin is completely free, and extremely expressive. The use of segmented texts at this website is meant to promote an appreciation of Latin word order. You really can read through a sentence from beginning to end, letting the meaning take shape as the words follow once after another. Just pause at the end of each segment and see what meaning has taken shape so far, and then move on. Part of the way Latin sentences convey meaning is through this method of unfolding the meaning, one piece at a time.

Split phrases. At the same time, there are some instances where the word order can cause English speakers some real difficulty. One of these areas of difficulty is the "split phrase." When you have a noun-adjective phrase in Latin, or a noun-genitive phrase, or really any kind of multi-word phrase, it is very common for a word to be inserted in-between the words, breaking up the phrase.

There are actually all kinds of situations where you can find the "split phrase" phenomenon. Since Latin word is so entirely free, you can expect to find split phrases anywhere in a Latin sentence, depending upon the stylistic choices made by the writer, expressing an aspect of the meaning they want to convey by choosing an odd or unexpected word order.

© The segmented texts, annotations and audio files at BestLatin.net are copyrighted by Laura Gibbs, 2006. No copyright is claimed for any images.