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Back to Basics: Verbs Part I Posted by on Apr 25, 2018 in Latin Language

Salvete Omnes,

   Welcome to the Transparent Language Company’s Latin Blog! Whether you are learning Latin for the first time or you an avid learner or it is just a hobby – this is the blog for you! Today’s lesson will bring us back to the basics and is a great review for all learners.

BASIC VERBS

The verb “sum” is the most common verb in Latin or probably any language. Where in English it takes two words to convey “I am” in Latin it only takes one “sum.” This is because the endings of verbs (as seen below in bold) indicate the person(s) doing the action:

THE CONJUGATION OF SUM

Person Abbreviation Latin Verb “sum” English Translation
1st person singular (1st s.)   “I” sum I am
2nd person singular (2nd s.) “You” es You are
3rd person singular (3rd s.) “He, She, It” est He, She, It is
1st person plural (1st pl.) “We” sumus We are
2nd person plural (2nd pl.) “You (pl)” estis You (pl) are
3rd person plural (3rd pl.) “They” sunt They are

The first questions I am asked after introducing the conjugation of sum is “What the heck is a conjugation?!” A conjugation is the variation of the form of a verb depending on voice, mood, tense, number, and person. We will speak more on voice, mood, and tense later.

The second question I often get asked is what is the difference between 2nd person singular (2nd s.) and 2nd person plural (2nd pl.)? The difference between these two “yous” is that one is:

2nd s. = You (only one person) are loud. = Sonorus es.

2nd pl. = You (an implied group of 2 or more) are loud.  = Sonori estis.

*The adjective sonorus and sonori (meaning loud) are the same work but different due to the number of people being referred to (i.e. sonorus = one person and sonori = more than one).

It should be stated the most commonly used verb “sum” is also irregular. By irregular, it does not follow any of the main patterns or conjugations of verbs.

THE FIRST CONJUGATION VERBS

[Verbs like amo= I love, porto = I carry, celo =I hide, uoco = I call, intro= I enter, clamo= I shout]

Person Abbreviation Latin Verb “amo” English Translation
1st person singular (1st s.)   “I” amo I love, I am loving, I do love
2nd person singular (2nd s.) “You” amas You love
3rd person singular (3rd s.) “He, She, It” amat He, She, It loves
1st person plural (1st pl.) “We” amamus We love
2nd person plural (2nd pl.) “You (pl)” amatis You (pl) love
3rd person plural (3rd pl.) “They” amant They love

As you may notice, the endings from SUM and AMO are very similar. The main difference is in the 1st person singular. Another thing you may notice which is very important is that most 1st conjugation verbs have an “A” before the bold endings.

THE SECOND CONJUGATION VERBS

[Verbs like habeo = I have, I hold, timeo= I fear, I am afraid]

Person Abbreviation Latin Verb “habeo” English Translation
1st person singular (1st s.)   “I” habeo I have, I am having, I do have
2nd person singular (2nd s.) “You” habes You have
3rd person singular (3rd s.) “He, She, It” habet He, She, It has
1st person plural (1st pl.) “We” habemus We have
2nd person plural (2nd pl.) “You (pl)” habetis You (pl) have
3rd person plural (3rd pl.) “They” habent They have

 

As you may notice, the endings from AMO and HABEO are identical. The main difference is in the 1st person singular that extra “E.” Another thing you may notice which is very important is that most 2nd conjugation verbs have an “E” before the bold endings.

The two table above showcase the verbs AMO and HABEO both in the Present Indicative Active.

Say what?!

Remember when I said we were going to talk about a verb’s voice, mood, and tense – it has (habet) come to that time.

TENSE: A verb’s tense denotes the time – is it a present tense verb (I have), a past tense verb ( I had) or a future tense verb (I will have). In Latin, you will be able to look at the verbs endings or prefixes and be able to figure out the tense.

MOOD: A verb’s mood denotes the mood of the sentence. An indicative verb (in English we call it a declarative statement) that is being presented as fact (I hide the pot), a verb in the imperative mood  (Hide the pot!) showcases a demand, or a verb may be in the subjunctive mood (I wish to hide the pot) which showcases a wish or hope.

VOICE: A verb’s voice denotes how the verb is read. In the active voice, the verb is active and takes charge (I love Stranger Things) in doing the action. There are other voices in Latin (such as the Passive) but they are quite awkward in English (Stranger Things is loved by me).

Well, that covers everything from this month’s review lesson. We will be covering some basic nouns next month in order to start building some simple sentences. See you next month!

 

This month’s homework:

Translate from Latin to English

  1.  clamas
  2.  es
  3.  times
  4.  habetis
  5.  Uocant

Translate from English to Latin

  1. It has
  2. They enter
  3. You (s.) are afraid
  4. I do hide
  5. We are carrying

 

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About the Author:Brittany Britanniae

Hello There! Please feel free to ask me anything about Latin Grammar, Syntax, or the Ancient World.


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