Ablative fulfills many functions for which English would use prepositions. Sometimes ablative also uses a preposition, sometimes not.

Memorize the following translations for ablative:

with, by, from, in, at, on.

Learn these specific uses of ablative.

1. Ablative of Place Where (normally uses


in vîllâ—in the villa

in cubiculô—in the bedroom

Note: Names of towns, cities, and small islands are placed in locative case (usually looks genitive in the singular, ablative in the plural).

Cornelia nunc Romae habitat. (locative, not abl.)—Cornelia now lives in Rome.


2. Ablative of Place from Which (normally

uses “ę/ex,’’ “â/ab,” or “dê.”)

ex agrîs—out of the fields

ab urbe—from the city

dê monte—down from the hill

Note: Names of towns, cities, and small islands, are put in ablative case without any preposition.

Senator Rômâ ad vîllam rediit.—The senator returns from Rome to the country house.

3. Ablative of Time When (no preposition)

septimâ horâ—at the seventh hour

nocte—at night


4. Ablative of Time within Which (no preposition)

brevî tempore—in a short time


5. Ablative of Manner (must use the

preposition “cum” when it consists only of a noun, may omit “cum” if an adjective is present)

Servî cum terrôre fûgêrunt.—The slaves fled with terror.

Marcus magnâ (cum) vôce clâmat—Marcus shouts in a loud voice.

Note: The ablative of manner may be translated as an —ly adverb.

Marcus shouts loudly.


6. Ablative of Accompaniment (uses preposition “cum”)

Davus servôs cum canibus dûcit—Davus leads the slaves together with the dogs.

Note: The ablative of accompaniment may be translated as “and.”

Davus leads the slaves and the dogs.


7. Ablative of Price (no preposition)

Cornêlia porcum decem denâriîs êmit.—Cornelia bought the pig for ten denarii.


8. Ablative of Cause (no preposition)

Tuîs iocîs ridêmus.—We laugh because of your jokes.

Note: It is often difficult to distinguish between ablative of cause and ablative of means (see #9).

Tuîs iocîs dêlectâmur.—We are delighted because of (or by means of?) your jokes.


9. Ablative of Means / Instrument (no preposition)

Davus servum baculô verberat—Davus beats the slave with a stick.

Cornelia Flâviam complexû tenet—Cornelia holds Flavia in an embrace.

also used in passive voice with things, objects, and animals acting as tools of man that perform some action (see also #10):

Servus baculô verberâtur.—The slave is being beaten with a stick.


10. Ablative of (Personal) Agent (with “â/ab” in passive voice only for a person or animal acting of its own volition to do something)

Servus â Davô verberâtur.—The slave is being beaten by Davus.

Puella â lupô petêbâtur.—The girl was being attacked by the wolf.

Note: It is possible to combine ablative of agent and ablative of means in a passive sentence.

Servus â Davô baculô verberâtur.—The slave is being beaten by Davus with a stick.