The Latin Passive Voice

Posted on 22. Jan, 2012 by in Uncategorized

In Latin, as in other languages, the verb has two voices: active and passive. For crating the passive voice, Latin language  uses two different systems: one for the present tense, and another for the perfect tense.

 

PASSIVE VOICE IN PRESENT TENSE:

To form the passive voice of present tense, both for the indicative and the subjunctive, personal endings of the passive voice must be used. It is simple, you should change the active voice endings for the passive voice endings:

Singular Plural
1st person  -or / -r  -mur
2nd person  -ris / -re  -mini
3rd person  -tur  -ntur

 

PASSIVE VOICE IN PERFECT TENSE:

It is formed with the perfect participle of the verb conjugated + SUM in the corresponding tense (present or perfect):

TIEMPOS DE PERFECTO DE LA
VOZ PASIVA

INDICATIVE

 

SUBJUNCTIVE

 

PAST PERFECT

 

amatus,
-a, -um

 

sum (fui)

 

es (fuisti)

 

est (fuit)

 

amatus,
-a, -um

 

sim (fuerim)

 

sis (fueris)

 

sit (fuerit)

 

amati,
-ae, -a

 

 

sumus (fuimus)

 

estis (fuistis)

 

sunt
(fuerunt)

 

amati,
-ae, -a

 

 

simus (fuerimus)

 

sitis (fueritis)

 

sint
(fuerint)

 

PAST PERFECT

 

amatus,
-a, -um

 

eram (fueram)

 

eras (fueras)

 

erat (fuerat)

 

amatus,
-a, -um

 

essem (fuissem)

 

esses (fuisses)

 

esset (fuisset)

 

amati,
-ae, -a

 

 

 

eramus (fueramus)

 

eratis (fueratis)

 

erant
(fuerant)

 


 

amati,
-ae, -a

 

 

essemus (fuissemus)

 

essetis (fuissetis)

 

essent
(fuissent)

 

FUTURE PERFECT

 

amatus,
-a, -um

 

ero (fuero)

 

eris (fueris)

 

erit (fuerit)

 

amati,
-ae, -a

 

 

erimus (fuerimus)

 

eritis (fueritis)

 

erunt
(fuerint)

 

The matching rules are the same that we use with nouns / verbs and adjectives / subjects, a verb form such as DICTUS EST will have singular masculine subject.

PASSIVE SENTENCES:

In the sentence “The girl loves the Queen” (expressed in the active voice) we have a subject (the girl), a transitive verb (loves) and a direct object (the Queen). This idea can be expressed in the passive voice: “The Queen is loved by the girl”. In the second sentence we find the following: a patient subject (the queen), an agent subject, that performs the action (by the girl), and the verb in the passive voice (is loved):

Puella reginam amat > A puella regina amatur

In Latin, the patient subject is in nominative, the verb, in passive voice, coincides with the patient subject and the agent subject is in ablative case (with a or ab prepositions if it is a person or a personified thing, and in ablative without a preposition when it comes to a name of a thing). It is called agent ablative:

Pater amatur a filio (The father is loved by his son) /  Arbor movebatur vento (The tree is moved by the wind)

When the verb is not referred to any particular subject you can use the 3rd singular person, even with intransitive verbs. In the perfect tenses, perfect participle takes the neutral form. This construction is called “impersonal passive”:

Pugnatur (they fight -impersonal subject-)
Pugnatum est (they fought -impersonal subject-)
Tibi nocetur (It is detrimental to you -impersonal subject-)

One Response to “The Latin Passive Voice”

  1. Alex 17 June 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Thanks, you are amazing! This is so helpful, I feel my Latin has really improved since I have begun reading your blogs,
    Alex


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