Latin/Index II

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For explanations of terms used in these grammar tables, check the Glossary.

Declension of Nouns[edit]

1st Declension Masculine/Feminine (each word has a set gender) puella[edit]

1st Declension Singular Plural
nominative puell-a puell-ae
vocative puell-a puell-ae
accusative puell-am puell-as
genitive puell-ae puell-arum
dative puell-ae puell-is
ablative puell-a puell-is

2nd Declension Masculine/Feminine (each word has a set gender): servus[edit]

2nd Declension Masculine Singular Plural
nominative serv-us serv-i
vocative serv-e serv-i
accusative serv-um serv-os
genitive serv-i serv-orum
dative serv-o serv-is
ablative serv-o serv-is

2nd Declension Neuter: bellum[edit]

2nd Declension Neuter Singular Plural
nominative bell-um bell-a
vocative bell-um bell-a
accusative bell-um bell-a
genitive bell-i bell-orum
dative bell-o bell-is
ablative bell-o bell-is

2nd Declension Masculine: puer[edit]

2nd Declension Masculine Singular Plural
nominative puer puer-i
vocative puer puer-i
accusative puer-um puer-os
genitive puer-i puer-orum
dative puer-o puer-is
ablative puer-o puer-is

2nd Declension Masculine: ager[edit]

2nd Declension Masculine Singular Plural
nominative ager agr-i
vocative agr-e agr-i
accusative agr-um agr-os
genitive agr-i agr-orum
dative agr-o agr-is
ablative agr-o agr-is

3rd Declension Masculine or Feminine (each word has a set gender): rex[edit]

3rd Declension Singular Plural
nominative rex reg-es
vocative rex reg-es
accusative reg-em reg-es
genitive reg-is reg-um
dative reg-i reg-ibus
ablative reg-e reg-ibus

3rd Declension Neuter: mare[edit]

3rd Declension Neuter Singular Plural
nominative mar-e mar-ia
vocative mar-e mar-ia
accusative mar-e mar-ia
genitive mar-is mar-ium
dative mar-i mar-ibus
ablative mar-i mar-ibus

4th Declension Masculine/Feminine (each word has a set gender) gradus[edit]

4th Declension Singular Plural
nominative grad-us grad-us
vocative grad-us grad-us
accusative grad-um grad-us
genitive grad-us grad-uum
dative grad-ui grad-ibus
ablative grad-u grad-ibus

4th Declension Neuter: cornu[edit]

4th Declension Neuter Singular Plural
nominative corn-u corn-a
vocative corn-u corn-a
accusative corn-u corn-a
genitive corn-us corn-uum
dative corn-ui corn-ibus
ablative corn-u corn-ibus

5th Declension Masculine/Feminine (each word has a set gender): res[edit]

5th Declension Feminine/Masculine Singular Plural
nominative r-es r-es
vocative r-es r-es
accusative r-em r-es
genitive r-ei r-erum
dative r-ei r-ebus
ablative r-e r-es

m = masculine f = feminine n - neuter

Notes: 4/5th declensions are modified 3rd declensions, thus behave similarily. 3rd declension is either M/F/N, 4th declension is either M/F/N and 5th declension is either M/F. So for 3rd, 4th, and 5th declension is of most importance to memorise the gender because the adjective will still need to agree (ie have the same) with the noun in both case, gender, and number.

The Vocative only changes for the 2nd declension masculine singular (however not for the nouns that leave the -us suffix when in nominative).

There are a few exceptions in the 1st declension which are not feminine. Such nouns are poet-a (1st declension masculine, so to agree you need to use -us on the adjective) and naut-a.

There are a few second declension nouns with irregularities. It is of most importance that you memorise them.

When memorising a noun's meaning, make sure that you also memorise any irregularities the noun has, the gender, and the declension. Without doing this you may have trouble translating. For example, 2nd declension masculines have -us in the nominative singular; however, 4th declension masculines have -us in the nominative singular, nominative plural and accusative plural. This may get you confused if you do not memorise the declension of each noun.


Single Declension Theory[edit]

If you look at the above list of declensions, you may feel that you are going to be overcome if you have to memorize all of it. Memorization is indeed the key, but it will be easier than you think. Each word in Latin has three parts: the root, the stem vowel, and the ending. There are five vowels in Latin, so there are five stem vowels: A,O,I,U,E. Any word not really having a stem vowel naturally was given to I. If you study the declension patterns enough you will see that there are many similarities in the declensions. All accusative singulars end in "m" except neuters that sometimes still do. All accusative plurals end in 's' except neuters that always end in a. All genitive plurals end in "um", be it ium, rum, uum or whatever else. If you read enough Latin you will actually find that authors would switch a declension of a word at will if it made the sentence clearer. Thus many words that are of the 4th declension were sometimes written as if 2nd, and 5th declension as if 3rd and vice versa. Some ending patterns that we use for one declension may also be used in another, again to make the sentence clearer. Thus "filiabus" would be used in any sentence where we want to make it clear that we are talking about the Daughters and specifically not the Sons. We also see examples of this in animabus. Some think that the IS used in the first and second declensions was actually an abbreviation of bus. Some students find the ablative difficult since it sometimes looks like the nominative singular, dative plural or neither. All you really need to do to get the hang of this is to know that in the plural, the ablative always looks like the dative. If there is no prepostion in front of it then it is probably a dative, unless it is being used in an ablative construction that would likely be apparent. If there is a preposition and it looks like a dative, just remember that no preposition takes a dative, only ever ablative and sometimes accusative. Dative plural plus preposition equals ablative. The ablative singular is really just the root plus the stem vowel with no ending to speak of, since the preposition tells you the grammar of the word. Some students also get confused by words that are the same in the nominative singular and plural. Don't worry about that; the verb will tell you which it is since the verb always agrees with the nominative. It is thought that originally there was only one declension, but during the task of applying it to every word in natural speech it was found that some words naturally changed the way the basic sounds of the original declension worked. Here is one idea of the original basic declension.


Case Root Stem Vowel Singular Plural
nominative puell a None es
genitive puell a is rum
dative puell a i bus
accusative puell a m s
ablative puell a none bus

When speaking in everyday conversation, Latin speakers would shorten the word in their pronunciation so long as it still made sense. If you go to New Orleans you will likely hear someone say 'prowly'. This is not a new dish at a resturaunt or a new new code name for the police, it is actually the local pronunciation of the word probably. It is ok to shorten this word because when it is shortened everyone can still understand it. The Latins did the same thing. It is known that I can change to E and vice versa, so we can see that pattern in the dative singular of all declensions. The IS of the genitive was kept in the 3rd declension, shortened in the 1st, 2nd, and 5th and slightly altered in the 4th. The 'add M' rule of the accusative singular is seen in the altering of the stem vowel in the 2nd and 3rd declensions. The ES of the nominative plural became E in 1st, I in 2nd, and US in 4th. The RUM of the genitive plural was shortened in the 3rd and 4th declensions. The accusative plural as a rule never changes, but keep in mind that neuter words followed a different pattern of using A for the accusative plural, and all neuters took the accusative singular or plural for the nominative of the same number. The BUS of the dative/ ablative plural was shortened to IS in the 1st and 2nd declensions but kept in the others. The 4th declension has a tendency to copy the IBUS of the 3rd in some authors but retain the UBUS in others. When studying Latin declensions you really should strive to memorize the patterns, but also look to see how they are similar to other patterns in the language as it will help you to remember. Also note that the IS of the genitive singular is what eventually gave us the word HIS and the 'add 's'" rule of English. Latin also gave us the 'add 's'" to make a plural by way of the accusative plural. If you study other inflexive languages related to Latin, such as Greek, you will notice even similarities across languages.