I received a brainy question from one of my Lingua Latina students…


Hi, Mr. Thomas – 

I hope your week is off to a great start!

I had a question from chapter 29.  I know the difference between gerunds (verbs that behave like nouns) and participles (verbs that behave like adjectives).  

However, I’ve come across a little bit of confusion in chapter 29.  In line 106, which is part of the Vulgate section, it reads: Et ascendentibus eis in naviculam, cessavit ventus.   The word ascendentibus is a participle, right?  Why is this a participle and not a gerund?  If Matthew is basically saying, “And with them ascending into the boat, the wind ceased”, wouldn’t that be an ablative gerund, not a participle?

The same thing happens in line 118, where it says, Et ascendente eo in navicualmm, secuti sunt eum discipuli eius.  Isn’t ascendente a participle, too? Why isn’t it a gerund?

What’s going on?



Here is my reply…


It’s not always cut and dry in languages, you know?  Same in Latin.  

These are participles, though.  Think of them this way.  They are actually describing Jesus.  What kind of Jesus?  The “climbing into the boat” Jesus.  The phrase itself is the adjective.  

Same in line 118.  What kind of disciples?  The climbing into the boat disciples.  The entire phrase describes the disciples.

Does this make sense?