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Guide to Impersonal Latin Verbs Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Latin Language

The following is for your reference use for impersonal verbs.  Impersonal verbs usually do not have a subject or nominative instead there is an implied (he, she, it).  However they can take nominative in certain sentence structure. Most of these impersonal verbs will take either an accusative, dative, genitive, or rarely an ablative. followed by the infinitive.

The following shows three of the most common used impersonal verbs and how they take their particular case and then the infinitive.

licet, licere, licuit: it is permitted (+ dative)

It is permitted for X to Y. [X = dative of person & Y = infinitive]

oportet, oportere, oportuit: it is fitting, it behooves (+ accusative)

It is fitting for X to Y. –or– It behooves X to Y. [X = accusative of person & Y = infinitive]

placet, placere, placuit: it is pleasing (+ dative)

It is pleasing to X to Y. [X = dative of person & Y = infinitive]

Here is a list of popular verbs:

  • decet , -ere, -uit – it becomes or it suits; it is right or proper. Decet can take the accusative of the person for whom it is right.
  • libet, -ere, -uit, -itum est (also lubet) – it pleases (with the dative, e.g., libet mihi = it pleases me), also, ut libet – as you please.
  • licet, -ere, -uit, -itum est – it is permitted. Licet takes the dative as well.
  • liquet, -ere – it is clear.
  • miseret (miseretur), -ere, miseretum est – it excites pity. Miseret would take a genitive (thing) or accusative(person) [ See video on Genitive below]
  • oportet, -ere, uit – it is necessary, proper, becoming. Oportet takes an accusative afterwards
  • paenitet, -ere, -uit – repent, regret, be sorry.
  • piget, -ere, -uit – it displeases, disgusts. Takes the genitive of the cause of the revulsion and accusative of the person who is affected.
  • placet – it seems good; it is agreed or resolved. Placet takes the dative.
  • refert, referre, retuli – it concerns.
  • taedet, -ere, taesum est – it disgusts, wearies of. Taedet follows with genitive.

Here are some helpful videos:

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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.