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The ablative case in Latin is an inflection[1]

that applies to nouns, adjectives and participles. The ablative case is sometimes known as the "case of adverbial relation"[2]

and the function of the ablative case is sometimes performed in English by adverbial phrases. Noun phrases in the ablative case are used as the objects of some pronouns. Certain verbs take objects in the ablative as well.


states that the ablative case represents the merger of three cases and identifies three broad classes of meaning:
  1. "Genuine" uses
  2. Instrumental
  3. Locative (related to place)

The Latin ablative originally marked motion away from something, but later it became a very general adverbial case modifying or limiting nouns by ideas of place, time, manner, cause, instrument, accompaniment etc. Ablative usually, but not always, stands with prepositions (ab, ex, de, cum, in, sub).


  1. Crystal, D. (1985) A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. Blackwell.
  2. Gildersleve, B. and G. Lodge (1895) Gildersleeve's Latin Grammar, Macmillan.
  3. Bennett, C. (1895) New Latin Grammar, Allyn and Bacon

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