Latin Language Blog

Getting the Genitive Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 in Latin Language

The genitive is one of my favorite cases. I feel it is one of the easiest cases to explain and learn!


  • (1) POSSESSIVE GENITIVE: “belonging to” “owned by”
  • periculum belli, coniuratio Catilinae (Conspiracy of Catiline)
  • (2) SUBJECTIVE GENITIVE: with a verbal noun (gerund) or a noun implying activity.
  • The AUTHOR OF THE ACTIVITY (In some grammars, this is seen as a special subdivision of the possessive genitive, an extension of the literal idea into the realm of responsibility).
  • metus hostium (`fear on the part of the enemy’ The enemy fear us.) coniuratio Catilinae
  • (3) OBJECTIVE GENITIVE denotes the object of the activity implied by a noun or adjective: metus hostium (`fear of the enemy’: We fear the enemy)
  • (4) PARTITIVE GENITIVE ) may denote the larger whole, from which something is derived; or of which something forms a part. This is often found with the indefinite noun. pars Galliae, satis sapientiae, nihil horum
  • (5) GENITIVE OF DEFINITION (Genitive of Material) ┬ámay define a common noun by giving a particular example of things belonging to that class:exemplum iustitiae “the example of justice”
  • (6) GENITIVE OF DESCRIPTION (Genitive of quality) ┬ámay describe a person or thing, by indicating size or measure (this is sometimes separately called `genitive of measure’); or by indicating some distinctive quality. vir magni ingeni(i) “a very talented man”
  • (7) GENITIVE OF VALUE and of price (though it may be adverbial in fact)


  • (1) With certain verbs: memini, obliviscor `remembering, forgetting, reminding’ (e.g.: memento mei)
  • (2) After utor, fruor, fungor, potior, vescor, opus est (Wheelock, p. 164)
  • potior, potiri “to gain power over” potitus rerum [“having gained control over public affairs”]
  • (3) After verbs meaning “to fill” (and adjectives of similar meaning, plenus aranearum)
  • (4) With verbs meaning “to pity”: taedet me vitae “I am bored with living.”
  • (5) With verbs denoting a judicial procedure: “accuse of” (genitive of the crime”) “charge someone with” “acquit someone of”

*Information has been taken from Latin textbooks, online resources, and youtube.

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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.