A few weeks ago, I received this email:

Hi! I am enjoying learning Latin along with my daughters age 16,12, and 11.

Chapter XII test. Problem 40.

The woman has wisdom.

The answer key shows the answer to be sapientiam. This led to a spirited conversation of whether wisdom should be in the genitive case or the accusative. Is it the wisdom of the woman – therefore being genitive and the answer should be sapientiae?


Does wisdom act as a direct object in this case? If so, please explain.

Thanks for your help!

Here is my reply:

It’s accusative.  But, it is only accusative because of the verb… has.  Whenever you use has in Latin, the verb is transitive.  It always takes a direct object.  

Your daughters are right.  Logically, it should go into the genitive case.  Unfortunately, logic does not always prevail in languages.  

Here is a video that might help your girls get their heads around this difficult concept: