I was scanning wood s lot when I hit on a link headlined “Inde tibi tuaeque rei publicae quod imitere capias…” It was the work of a moment to discover that this was from Livy’s preface to his history of Rome and that it meant (as translated in this essay on the value of Latin) “From it [i.e., history] you can find examples for yourself and your country to follow,” but the word imitere threw me. It looks like an infinitive of the second or third conjugation, but the verb is a first-conjugation deponent: imitor, imitārī. My days as a Latin student are far, far behind me, and I became increasingly confused and hopeless as I pored over tables of conjugations. Fortunately I found William L. Carey’s Livy site for his Latin students, where each assigned passage has a pdf file, with a separate one for grammatical commentary. And his commentary is aimed at my level of neediness, because the one for this passage (pdf) says:
imitere = imiteris, present subjunctive of imitor, -ari, -atus sum, to imitate, copy. All verbs in –ris (i.e., the 2nd person singular of the present, imperfect, and future tenses of deponents and the passive voice of other verbs) are often syncopated to –re.
So it’s not an infinitive ‘to imitate,’ it’s second person singular subjunctive ‘that you should imitate’ (actually imitēre/imitēris, with long e). Thank you, Mr. Carey, and thank you, O great internet!