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Teaching the Ablative

At our school we have a case cadence that recites the major uses for the five main cases. When we get to ablative we simply sing “Ablative case wears many hats – so smile when you translate that!” Have you ever noticed how many uses the ablative case has? They seem to be neverending, and can therefore be a bit daunting. Here is one diverting method to training students in the various uses of the ablative case.

Each time I introduce a new ablative construction (after explaining the construction and giving a couple of examples from the book) I ask the students to help me creatively compose new sentences that illustrate the same idea. The rule is that anything goes as long as the grammar is correct. Animals tend to be a particular favorite.

Porcus in pugna volat. (The pig flies in the battle.) – place where
Porcus e pugna volat. (The pig flies out of the battle.) – place from which

Lupus canem cum porco edit. (The wolf eats dinner with the pig.) – accompaniment
Lupus canem porco edit. (The wolf eats dinner by means of the pig.) – means
Lupus porcum magno gaudio edit. (The wolf eats the pig with great joy.) – manner

Capite careo. (I am lacking my head.) – separation

We have come up with some pretty whacky sentences – but they get the point of the lesson across.

What suggestions do you have for teaching the ablative? We would love to hear your ideas!

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