I received this question:

Mr. Thomas,

I have a question about something Henle teaches even though that isn’t the Latin program I use. It’s a concept that is used frequently on my tutorial days and I never understood it.

Henle Latin teaches a bunch of different preposition rules about when to use one or if it’s a special type (eg. Ablative of the Living Agent or Ablative of Means). How do you know when to have a preposition or not if you’re going from English to Latin? Or, if you’re in Latin, how do you identify what is what?

I have the book for first year Latin by Robert Henle, so if there are any specific pages to look at, I can do that.

Thank you so much!

Here is my reply:


I apologize for the delay. Finally catching up this morning…

That is a complicated concept.  I wish I had an easy answer.  Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where the knowledge simply comes with time and practice.  However, I would worry about it too much. 

There is one trick you can use.  Do you have the free charts I give away?  Here they are: https://dwanethomas.com/resources-latin/

If so, just look at the prepositions.  If they are on the accusative side, they are followed by accusative nouns.  If they are on the ablative side, they are followed by ablative nouns.  I am not sure it is really necessary to know all of the fancy names that Mr. Henle likes.

Let me know if you need more help!

Have a happy Saturday!

Dwane Thomas