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The gerundive or gerundive , also participium necessitatis ("participle of necessity", from Latin necessitās ), is an adjective ( verbal adjective ) derived from a verb with a passive meaning, which usually expresses a necessity or, if negated, impossibility, often with a challenging character.

In Latin has gerunds, as well as the resulting from the gerunds gerund educational element -nd . While the gerund as a noun verbal form only has the three exits -i, -o, -um (dative and ablative are the same), the gerundive as adjective has -us, -a, -um all exits of the a- and o-declension to disposal. Gerund and gerund are not always easy to distinguish from one another.

In Germany , due to the similar function is a participle form that the to- derived infinitive, sometimes referred to as gerund (also: to "participle" ). Depending on whether the affected verb separable , it is the to be prefixed ( " to be observed spaces") or incorporated ( "to be withdrawing curtains"). This gerundive can therefore only be used attributively and is then in congruence with the noun in terms of number , case and gender like every adjective. However, it is also possible to substantiate the to-participle ("that to be praised"). In German, some Zu-Participles are lexicalized as nouns (e.g. “der / die Auszubildende”).

The gerund in Latin

Attributive use

  • liber legendus - "a book to be read / a book to be read / a book worth reading"
  • Amanda - "the lovable one"
  • labores non fugiendi - "Efforts that shouldn't be avoided "
  • dolor vix (non) ferendus - "a pain that you can hardly (not) endure / an almost unbearable (unbearable) pain"

Comparison of gerund and gerund, in this case with the same meaning:

  • Gerundive: in libro legendo - "while reading / reading a book"
  • habendi senatus locus (Cicero, In Catilinam 1) can be read as a gerund like gerundive:
    • Gerund: Senatus (.. Acc pl) as a direct object to habendi - "the place of Abzuhaltenseins the Senate sessions"
    • Gerunds: Senatus (.. Gen sing) to congruent habendi - "the place of (a certain) to be held meeting of the Senate"

German examples

  • the consideration to be given to decency
  • the book to be read
  • the loan amount to be repaid
  • the document to be broken , that to be broken
  • the fence to be broken , the to be broken
  • the trainee youth , the trainee (trainee)
  • the cumbersome context

Predicative use

Predicative use of gerundiva can be found in Latin and denotes the intention or purpose of certain verbs with an object in the accusative (or with a passive construction with a subject in the nominative). In German, the construction is replaced by the verb sein plus zu-infinitive of the verb (“modal infinitive”) or a paraphrase with must .


  • Do tibi litteras legendas. - "I'll give you the letters to read."

If it is used as a predicate noun , it signals an obligation ( notio necessitatis ), a prohibition or a possibility; the gerundive is copula with esse .


  • Liber legendus est. - "The book is to be read / has to be read / one has to read."
  • Pacta sunt servanda. - "Contracts are to be kept / must be kept."
  • Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam . ( Cato ) - "By the way, I mean that Carthage must be destroyed."

A dative can be used to identify the agent of obligation ( dativus auctoris ):

  • Liber nobis legendus est. - literally: “The book is something to be read by us.” / “The book is to be read by us. / We have to read the book. "

Web links

Wikibooks: Gerundivum  - learning and teaching materials
Wiktionary: Gerundive  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. If the inflected endings do not clearly indicate it, you should check whether there is a congruent reference word. Then it is a gerundive. However, there remain undecidable or ambiguous cases. See for Latin teaching materials z. B. Hectogram Uni Freiburg (PDF; 54 kB) or Uni Marburg (PDF; 29 kB).
  2. Duden Grammar 7th edition 2006, margin number 597.
  3. ^ Metzler's Lexicon of Language. digital edition 2004, Lemma "Gerundive (um)".