Partitive Genitive or Genitive of the Whole

What is the Partitive Genitive in Latin?

The Partitive Genitive in Latin is a type of Genitive that is used to show the relationship of part to whole. (Reminder: The Genitive is a case used for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. It frequently shows possession between two things.)

Relationship: part < whole
Case of nouns: depends on sentence < Genitive
If you have a part of something, the substance that is the whole is in the Genitive Case. The fractional part can be a pronoun, adjective, nouns, or numeral designating quantity, with a noun or pronoun showing the whole from which the "some" (or "many", etc.) come.
The following examples show the "part" in the Nominative Case. The "whole" is in the genitive. The English translation may or may not have a word like "of" marking the genitive case.

Partitive Genitive Examples:

Example #1

  • primus omnium
    'first of all' (with omnium in the genitive plural)
  • Example #2

  • quis mortalium
    'who of mortals' (with mortalium in the genitive plural)
  • Example #3

  • nihil odii
    'nothing of hatred' (with odii in the genitive singular)
  • Example #4

  • tantum laboris
    'so much work' (with laboris in the genitive singular) vs. tantus labor 'so great a labor' which has no genitive and therefore is not the partitive genitive
  • Example #5

  • quantum voluptatis
    'how much delight' (with voluptatis in the genitive singular)