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We already know that cum can mean “with” when functioning as a preposition with certain Ablatives (Manner, Accompaniment). Cum, when it introduces a subordinate clause, can also mean “when,” “since,” “while,” or “although,” depending on what is happening in the sentence. There are four main types of clauses in which cum can be used. CUM TEMPORAL CLAUSE (cum = when) If the main verb is Primary (Present, Future, Future Perfect) and relates to present or future time, cum takes the Indicative mood. This type of clause most often describes precise time. Cum doceo vos, felix sum When I am teaching you all, I am happy. When you will study (i.e. at that precise
Cum studebitis, linguam Latinam discetis. moment in time), you will learn Latin.
CUM CIRCUMSTANTIAL CLAUSE (cum = when, while) If the main verb is Secondary (Imperfect, Perfect, Pluperfect), relates t past time, and describes the circumstances surrounding a situation, cum takes the Subjunctive (Imperfect or Pluperfect). These can be difficult to distinguish between Cum Temporal and Cum Causal Clauses. Cum filia patrem necavisset, deprehensa est. When the daughter had killed her father, she was arrested. Cum Claudius nuntiatus esset imperatorem, fugit. When Claudius had been announced (as) the emperor, he fled. CUM CAUSAL CLAUSES (cum = since, because) In this type of clause, cum is followed by the Subjunctive. Thus type of clause, while somewhat showing the circumstances surrounding a situation, show you the reason why someone is able to do something. Perfacile est discere linguam Latinam, cum studeamus simper multas horas diei. It is easy to learn Latin, since we always study for many hours of the day. CUM CONCESSIVE CLAUSES (cum = although) In this type of clause, cum is followed by the Subjunctive. This type of clause makes a concession or an acknowledgment of something. You will sometimes see tamen (nevertheless) to let you know that it is a cum concessive clause. Cum inferiors numero essemus, in hostes impetum fecimus. Although we were inferior in number, we made an attack against the enemy. Cum hoc faceret, tamen mater amavit suum filium. Although he did this, nevertheless the mother loved her son.