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is no case ending, so for both masculine and feminine we get the
form clárior. In the neuter, on the other hand, a different ending,
-ius, is added, so the form for both the nominative and accusative
singular (which are never distinct for neuter nouns and adjectives)
is clárius.

The personal pronouns ˜I, you (singular), we, you (plural)™ have
the forms shown in Table 6. There is an important difference
between English and Latin in the use of pronouns. In Latin the
form of the verb already indicates the person of the subject, so an
unstressed pronoun is not needed (see below when we discuss the
verb). Pronouns like ego ˜I™ and tu ˜you (singular)™ are only used
when there is a particular need to emphasize them, so Latin really
has no exact equivalent of the English unstressed pronouns such as
˜he, she, it, they™. Even so, there are pronouns in Latin which are
often rendered as ˜he™,˜she™,˜it™, etc. in English. One of them is, in the

Table 6. Personal pronouns

Form Meaning Form Meaning

Nominative ego ˜I™ tu ˜you™
Dative mihi ˜(to) me™ tibi ˜(to) you™
Accusative me ˜me™ te ˜you™
Ablative me ˜(with) me™ te ˜(with) you™
Nominative nos ˜we™ vos ˜you™
Dative nobis ˜(to) us™ vobis ˜(to) you™
Accusative nos ˜us™ vos ˜you™
Ablative nobis ˜(with) us™ vobis ˜(with) you™

About the Grammar

masculine singular nominative, is ˜he™. The corresponding feminine
form is ea ˜she™ and the neuter id ˜it™. The word is declined more or
less like an adjective of the ¬rst and second declension, albeit with
several irregular forms (see Table 7).
There are pronouns which behave similarly. The most important
are hic ˜this™ (Table 8) and ille ˜that™ (Table 9).
The relative pronoun qui ˜who, which™ is in principle also declined
like an adjective, as is the interrogative pronoun ˜which, who™. Just as

Table 7. Demonstrative pronoun is ˜he, that™

Gender masculine feminine neuter

Nominative sg. is ea id
Genitive sg. eius eius eius
Dative sg. ei ei ei
Accusative sg. eum eam id
Ablative sg. eo ea eo
Nominative pl. ei, ii eae ea
Genitive pl. eórum eárum eórum
Dative pl. eis, iis eis, iis eis, iis
Accusative pl. eos eas ea
Ablative pl. eis, iis eis, iis eis, iis

Table 8. Demonstrative pronoun hic ˜this™

Gender masculine feminine neuter

Nominative sg. hic haec hoc
Genitive sg. huius huius huius
Dative sg. huic huic huic
Accusative sg. hunc hanc hoc
Ablative sg. hoc hac hoc
Nominative pl. hi hae haec
Genitive pl. horum harum horum
Dative pl. his his his
Accusative pl. hos has haec
Ablative pl. his his his

A natural history of Latin

Table 9. Demonstrative pronoun ille ˜that™

Gender masculine feminine neuter

Nominative sg. ille illa illud
Genitive sg. illíus illíus illíus
Dative sg. illi illi illi
Accusative sg. illum illam illud
Ablative sg. illo illa illo
Nominative pl. illi illae illa
Genitive pl. illórum illárum illórum
Dative pl. illis illis illis
Accusative pl. illos illas illa
Ablative pl. illis illis illis

Table 10. Relative and interrogative pronouns ˜who, which™

Gender masculine feminine neuter

Nominative sg. qui/quis quae quod/quid
Genitive sg. cuius cuius cuius
Dative sg. cui cui cui
Accusative sg. quem quam quod/quid
Ablative sg. quo qua quo
Nominative pl. qui quae quae
Genitive pl. quorum quarum quorum
Dative pl. quibus quibus quibus
Accusative pl. quos quas quae
Ablative pl. quibus quibus quibus

in English, the two pronouns usually have the same forms, although
the latter sometimes has the form quis for the nominative singu-
lar masculine and quid for the neuter nominative and accusative
(Table 10).
A number of other pronouns are in the main declined in the same
way as adjectives, though some have special forms. The word aliquis
˜someone™ goes like quis in Table 10, as does quisque ˜each, every™

About the Grammar

except that this has -que added on after the in¬‚ectional endings:
quisque, quemque, cuiusque, etc. The word idem, ©adem, idem
˜same™ is similar in that -dem is added after the in¬‚ections and
induces certain adjustments in the sounds, so that the -s is omitted
in the masculine nominative singular and the forms that would
otherwise end in -m change to -n, so accommodating to the pronun-
ciation of the following [d], so that we have eandem, earundem, etc.
The emphatic pronoun ipse, ipsa, ipsum ˜self, same™ is also declined
as an adjective following the pattern in Table 3 (above), except that
like the other pronouns it has the endings -íus in the genitive singu-
lar and -i in the dative singular for all genders. The same endings are
also found in a number of other words such as unus ˜one™, alter
˜other™, totus ˜whole™.

The forms of the verb

Verbs are obviously important words in Latin, as they are in other
languages. Latin verbs also form the basis of literally thousands of
English loanwords, so it will be useful and interesting to become
acquainted with the most familiar of them. Unfortunately, it is not
always easy to recognize them, whether in Latin texts or as loan-
words, since each verb has a huge variety of different forms, prin-
cipally as a result of the different endings a verb can have.This variety
is in turn dictated by the fact that a verb has a good deal of work to do
within the sentence. In the ¬rst place, the verb always tells you the
person of the subject, so there are different forms corresponding to
˜I™,˜you (singular)™,˜he/she/it™,˜we™,˜you (plural)™ and ˜they™. For the
verb ˜show™ these forms are respectively: monstro, monstras, mon-
strat, monstrámus, monstrátis, monstrant. (You can see here the
base of the English verb demonstrate.) In compensation, there is no
need for a separate word for ˜I™, etc.: the verb form does the job very
nicely by itself. For example, ˜I show the way™ is viam monstro and
˜they show the way™ is viam monstrant. The endings are in effect

A natural history of Latin

Table 11. Latin tense forms

Latin form Name Meaning

mónstro present ˜I show™
monstrábam imperfect ˜I showed™
monstrávi perfect ˜I have shown/I showed™
monstráveram pluperfect ˜I had shown™
monstrábo future ˜I will show™
monstrávero future perfect ˜I will have shown™

equivalent to the pronouns, and so a Latin verb has six forms where
an English verb has only two: show, shows.
Second, the verb is responsible for indicating the time of the
action. To some extent this is also true in English, but in many cir-
cumstances we indicate the time through an extra verb, a so-called
auxiliary verb, which in general Latin does not use. In the English
forms I show, I showed, I have shown, I had shown, I shall show, the
difference between the ¬rst two is like Latin in being conveyed by an
ending, but in the others the job is done by the auxiliaries have, had,
and shall. Latin has a separate form for each of these meanings, and
indeed for one more in which English has recourse to a combination
of auxiliaries, namely I shall have shown. Each tense has its own
name, as set out in Table 11. There are six tense forms for each Latin
verb, each of which obviously has six variants according to the
person, so for example: monstrábas ˜you (singular) showed™ and
monstraverátis ˜you (plural) had shown™. Altogether, then, that
makes thirty-six forms for each verb so far.
That may seem a lot, but it is not in fact necessary to learn each
form individually since there is a system. Each form consists of
three parts. The form monstrabas, for example, can be divided into
monstra-ba-s. The last bit is equivalent to our personal pronoun: -s
indicates ˜you (singular)™.The bit in the middle shows the tense, here
-ba- for the past or imperfect tense. The ¬rst part indicates the basic
meaning of the verb and is called the stem, so the form in its entirety
means ˜you (singular) showed™.

About the Grammar

In principle, you only have to learn the six person endings and the
six tense markers in order to know all thirty-six forms. In practice
things are a bit more complicated than that, since the person endings
are not always the same in each tense group, and there can be
differences in the verb stem in different tenses. However, once you
have grasped the general principle that there are three parts to a verb
form, you will mostly get it right. In fact, there are yet more verb
forms beyond the thirty-six, but they too can be broken down in the
same way. The so-called subjunctive forms indicate that something
might happen, should happen, or should have happened, or some-
times simply signal the fact that the sentence containing this
verb form constitutes a subordinate clause. There are four different
subjunctive series: monstrem ˜I (may) show™, monstrárem ˜I might
show, I showed™, monstráverim ˜I (may) have showed™, monstrávis-
sem ˜I might have showed, I had showed™. What distinguishes
these subjunctive forms from the other more common ones (called
the ˜indicative™ in grammatical terminology) is the middle part.
Compare monstra-re-s ˜you (singular) showed (subjunctive)™ and
monstra-ba-s ˜you (singular) showed (indicative)™.
Each of the forms we have seen so far also has a passive equivalent.
In English the passive is obtained through the use of another
auxiliary verb, this time the verb be, so beside I show we have I am
shown, beside you will show we have you will be shown and so on.
Something similar happens in Latin when you come to make the
passive of the perfects, but for the most part passives are another
context in which Latin has different endings where English uses an
auxiliary verb. Since passive changes the role of the person from
subject to object, it is perhaps not surprising that what distinguishes
the passive is a different set of person endings. For example, we have
mónstratur ˜he is shown™, monstrábatur ˜he was shown™ both with
-atur instead of the active ending -at, and so on.
Just to make life really tough, some verbs have passive forms even
though they do not have passive meanings! ˜I encourage™ is hortor
(cf. English exhort) and ˜I use™ is utor, both with the same -or ending
as monstror. Such verbs obviously only have passive forms in

A natural history of Latin

the word list, as they have no sets of forms for the active.Verbs of this
type are called ˜deponent™. One that has an English correspondent is
nascor ˜I am born™ which is paralleled in Latin but not in English by
the similarly deponent morior ˜I die™.
For each verb, then, there are altogether 120 different forms
which indicate person and tense differences. In addition, there are
quite a few other forms, such as the in¬nitive monstráre ˜to show™,
participles like monstrans ˜showing™ and monstrátus ˜shown™, the
imperative monstra ˜show!™, and a few others. The participles have
many forms since they decline like adjectives, as we have already
seen. If you take all these forms into account, the conclusion is that a
Latin verb can occur in some 300 different forms. Put like that, it
sounds an awful lot. But you have to remember that almost every
form has a direct equivalent in English. The difference is that we use
many separate words, as in ˜you might have shown™ where Latin has
only one: monstravisses, which of course consists of parts with dif-
ferent meanings. It is not really that dif¬cult to have to learn that an
ending -s means ˜you (singular)™ or that -isse- before the ending


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