Purpose clauses and result clauses:


Often you will find that there is some difficulty in determining whether a given clause is a Final i.e., Purpose, clause or a Consecutive i.e., Result, clause.


“It is to be remarked that the difference between Final (Purpose) and Consecutive (Result) often consists only in the point of view. What is final from the point of view of the doer is consecutive from the point of view of the spectator…”

Gildersleeve and Lodge, Latin  Grammar 543. note 1.Parenthesis mine.


For example, let’s say that your studied every night so that you got an “A” in Latin (good for you!). I’ll call the that fact that you got an “A”—the event.


You might say:

A. “I studied hard to get an A”


I saw how hard you worked, so I think to myself:

B.  “She studied hard so that she got an A”


Sentence A is from the view point of the doer of the event—you got the A! It is clearly a Final/Purpose clause. You can tell by the infinitive “to get” which here means “In order to get/So that I might get”.


Sentence B however is from the viewpoint of the spectator of the event—I, the teacher, saw that you got an A. We could view sentence B, like sentence A as containing a Final/Purpose clause, but we could also view it as containing a Consecutive/Result clause if we re-write the sentence like this, “She studied hard with the result that she got an A.” This shows us that there can be some ambiguity between Final/Purpose and Consecutive/Result clauses when we are dealing with the point of view of the spectator.


Nevertheless, it is often important when reading Latin that you be able to distinguish Final/Purpose clauses from Consecutive/Result clauses in as much as we do not translate Result clauses with the English verbs “may, might” while we often do translate Purpose clauses with “may, might”.


So, how can we tell the difference between the two types of clauses when both use “ut”?


1)     Consecutive/Result clauses will often have an adverb or adjective that means “so/to such an extent/so great”: ita, sīc, adeō, eō, tantopere; talis, tantus and others.


2)     The negative of a Result clause is expressed by ut…non, numquam, nem etc. BUT the negative of a purpose clause is expressed by ne.


Here are some common ways to express the negative as seen in Gildersleeve and Lodge 543. 4:


Final/Purpose                                     Consecutive/Result

Nē (ut nē)                                          ut nōn, that not

Nē quis                                             ut nēmo, that no one

Nē ūllus                                            ut nūllus, that no

Nē umquam, (nē quandō)                 ut numquam, that never

Nē ūsquam, (nēcubi)                        ut nūsquam, that


Nē aut---aut (ut nēve---nēve)            ut neque---neque, that



Pay close attention to the various ways you can express a negative with Purpose and Result clauses. Recognizing the negative will help you identify Purpose and Result clauses and aid you in your translation.