Ablative of Fabulous
This use of the ablative is to convey the sheer fabulousness which is possessed by a person (quite often literary females).
While many literary names come from Greek, their respective translations come into latin in a way that the nominative singular bears an ending of the ablative singular. Examples: Didō, Ariadne, Eurydice, Daphne.
Ablative of Inanimate Agent
Minerva herself has just granted this use for the ablative case to us. She said and I quote,”This is for those tricky ablatives after a passive verb. Is it an agent? Is it means? Why not both?” And so it was declared that Ablative of Inanimate Agent was an acceptable alternative.
I was writing out a declension chart for ancient Greek, and I was about to write down the ablative ending like I was accustomed to for Latin, but when I checked my textbook for the correct ending, I found that there was no ablative. The ablative case does not exist in ancient Greek, and now I am too shocked to continue because this means there’s no Greek ablative posse, and I just don’t know what to do with myself right now.
I don’t mind having points taken off on something like an essay when things are subjective, but if you tell me something’s factually wrong on a test and I actually gave the correct answer, I am going to point it out and argue with you about it.
(My Latin prof wrote “not ablative!” next to something in my translation and I scanned the line, and dammit, it IS ablative! Not grade grubbing, I’m just not cool with being corrected on something I was right about. Sorry not sorry)
Lightbulb Moment - "a priori"
First attested in 1710, from Latin, literally from the former, from priori (“former”)
That a comes from Latin ab, which means something like, “downward, about, from,” and its object is always in the Ablative case, which holds the same sort of meanings as ab.
Because a priori literally means “from before,” priori must be in the Ablative!
But.. wait a second.
prior, prioris is a 3rd declension noun (“before”).
So that must mean that its Ablative is priore.
Instead, its Dative is priori. But that doesn’t make any sense! Okay, well, it kind of does. The Dative kind of acts as a recipient case. In “The boy kicked the ball to the dog,” the dog would be in the Dative.
So that kind of makes sense… in a way…
But regardless of it making sense or not, grammatically, it doesn’t work!
ab ALWAYS takes the Ablative case, no matter what.
So it SHOULD be a priore. But why isn’t it?