Learning Latin Basics: Lesson I.A Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Latin Language

Salvete Omnes,

The first lesson when it comes to learning a new language is understanding its most used verb: the verb “to be.” One must also become accustomed to the sentence structure. So in today’s lesson, we are going to EASE into this language by covering the verb “to be.”

Learning Latin Basics: Lesson I “To Be”

It should be noted that this verb “to be” is quite irregular. However, I have underlined the endings below that will extend to other verb conjugations- so keep them in mind!

Basic Verb “I am” or “sum”

1st person singular (1st s.)= sum         “I am”

2nd person singular (2nd s.)= es       “You are”

3rd person singular (3rd s.)= es      “He, She or It is”

1st person plural (1st pl.)= sumus      “We are”

2nd person plural (2nd pl.)=estis       “You (a group) are”

3rd person plural (3rd pl.)=sunt         “They, There are”

I would start to get use to the language used 3rd pl. to indicate “They” form , or 1st s. to mean “I” form.


Some Basic Vocabulary:  

filia =daughter             puellae=girls                 me= me

serua= slave-woman     pueri= boys          nemo= no-one

seruus= slave-man        ego= I                    senex= old man

coquus=cook              tu= you (nom.)                et= and

fures= thieves             te= you (acc.)

[The vocabulary chosen was done so for their simplicity and not meant to offend.]



Verbs are often placed at the end of the sentence. The only time verbs are placed at the beginnings of the sentence is if they are meant to emphasize. Example: “sum coquus” I am a cook!

Latin does not have articles: “the, a, or an.” They are simply filled in at the translators discretion. I.E. the example above could be translated “sum coquus” could be “I am a cook” or “I am the cook.” Both are correct.


Exercise1.A English & Latin: Please take the time to try these, since practice is the only way to perfect your Latin skills.

  1. filia sum.
  2. He is no-one.
  3. fures estis
  4. The slave-man is an old man.
  5. filia et serua estis.
  6. I am a cook.
  7. est serua.
  8. You (pl.) are boys.
  9. puellae sumus
  10. te sum et me es.
  11. They are thieves.








Learning Latin Basics: Lesson I



  1. sum filia. = I am a daughter.
  2. He is no-one. = nemo est.*
  3. fures estis! = You are thieves!
  4. The slave-man is an old man. = Seruus senex est.**
  5. filia et serua estis.= You are a daughter and a woman-slave.
  6. I am a cook.= coquus sum.
  7. est serua. = She is a slave-woman.***
  8. You (pl.) are boys.= pueri estis.
  9. puellae sumus= We are girls.
  10. te sum et me es.= I am you and you are me.
  11. They are thieves. = fures sunt.

*”Nemo est” can also be written “est nemo.” It can mean “He is no-one” or “She is no-one” or “It is no-one;” however, this last example doesn’t make any sense since an “it” is not a person.

** This could be translated as “Seruus senex est” or “Senex seruus est” or “Serrus est senex.” As you can see there are many MANY different ways to translate sentences.

*** Unlike example #2, this “est” can only be translated as “She is,” since “serua” is feminine in meaning and gender. Gender will be addressed in the next post, but in short terms: All nouns have a gender either feminine, masculine, and neuter. Sometimes, the gender is obvious from the meaning of the noun; i.e. serua means slave-woman and is a feminine noun AND seruus means slave-man and is a masculine noun. The gender and case is determined by the endings, which I will address.


Was that fun? Informative? Craving more?  Next week, we will cover the 1st and 2nd conjugation verb and the 1st and 2nd declension noun along with more sentence exercises.


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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.


  1. Gayomart:

    Hey, it was very good! Keep going. Just a question: is it SERVUS or SERUUS? SERVA or SERUA?

    • Brittany Britanniae:

      @Gayomart In Latin, it should be SERVUS and SERVA, but depending on the text you are learning from the U and V may be changeable.