Question about Deponent verbs

Ken Smith kens at
Fri Sep 7 13:31:35 EDT 2001

Erik wrote:

> Now, here is my question:
> The verb DUNAMAI - "I am able" has a lexical form ending in 
> -OMAI, and thus is a deponent verb, according to QUOTE #2.  
> But "I am able" would seem to be passive in meaning, it 
> doesn't have me doing any sort of active action. Thus it 
> should not be a deponent according to QUOTE #1, since it is 
> not "active in meaning."  Am I incorrectly assuming it is 
> passive in meaning, because of the English usage?
> Any help would be appreciated.

Think of it (in terms of form) as "I can".  It's similar to the French
"pouvoir".  The English "I am able" is itself maybe a little like a
deponent verb: passive in form, active in meaning.

Ken Smith

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