(Ah, the last in a series of long and thankless nodes. If there is anyone out there insane enough to want to learn more about the structure and composition of Ancient Greek, /msg me and I'll do my best to help a fellow lunatic.)
The forth and possibly the most confusing of all the case
s is the dative
. To save myself the pain
, I'll go straight into uses
and skip the introduction
(Pant, pant, sigh, sigh. Ow. I have learned my lesson. I will never again try to think about Greek while on summer break. Make the bad men go away, mommy....)
- The first and most common use of the dative is as an indirect object.
EX: John gave Mary syphilis.
This isn't a difficult concept to grasp, considering we have these in English. The indirect object is the reciever of an object or action (or in this case, disease).
- note: Like genitives, datives can also become the direct object of the sentence in the case of compound verbs. However, when a compound verb also takes an indirect object, it will never take a dative direct object. (The ancient authors may have loved to screw around with language in ways only a sadomasochist would understand, but they weren't crazy.)
- Um, remember how I stated that the genitive was the proper case for possession? Well, there's actually a slight catch to that: when dealing with body parts and other extremely personal items, the case of possession is dative.
EX: Elliot's hand was severed at the wrist.
Again, in Greek, only Elliot, as the possessor, would be a dative. "Hand" is merely the innocent, nominative, subject.
- The next two uses are best understood together: the dative of manner and the dative of means. These two forms are almost adjectival when used properly. There's no easy way to to explain this,though. The best way I can think of is through example:
EX: The plan to serve raw human flesh was met with great consternation by the administration, who argued that raw horse flesh would be more suited to the budget allowance. (manner), and The dissenters were beaten over the head with golf clubs. (means).
In case it isn't clear, the means form deals with concrete nouns- objects that can be used. The manner form, on the other hand, deals with abstract nouns- things that can be felt. Both forms are always translated into English accompanied by the word "with" to form a construction similar to the original meaning of the Greek.
- (At least the exceedingly tricky ones are done with for now.) The next use is the locative, or place where dative.
EX: The best place for finding tasty, yet morally ambiguous cookies is that little fruit stand where the satanic temple used to be.
As might be figured, the dative in this case defines location. Go figure.
Similar, oh so similar, to the use above is the time when dative. It defines --what else-- time.
EX: Hey, do you remember the time when I set your hair on fire with that cleaning solvent?
Finally, the last use of the dative is as an appositive to something else in the dative.
EX: My older brother Howard's left arm is nonexistant, as is my older brother Howard.
If you can't get this one.... That's it. Go away. Just leave. Leave, right now. Go try and learn Esperanto, for all I care. Just go away.