Latin/Lesson 5-Declensions

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3rd, 4th, and 5th Declension Nouns[edit]

We have already seen the first two declensions:

1st declension 2nd declension
-a -us -um (neuter)
nominative puell-a puell-ae serv-us/ puer serv bell-um bell-a
accusative puell-am puell-ās serv-um serv-ōs bell-um bell-a
genitive puell-ae puell-ārum serv serv-ōrum bell bell-ōrum
dative puell-ae puell-īs serv serv-īs bell bell-īs
ablative puell puell-īs serv serv-īs bell bell-īs

We will now complete the table of nouns with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th declensions. These declensions are more difficult to work with because their nominative and accusative plural forms are identical, as are their dative and ablative plural forms. To distinguish the cases, you must use a very simple key: context. Context will tell you the meaning.

3rd Declension Masculine or Feminine (each word has a set gender): rēx, m.[edit]

3rd declension nouns have two stems: The nominative and vocative singular stem and the stem used for all other cases. Both stems have to be memorized for each noun. Feminine and masculine forms are indistinguishable.

3rd Declension Singular Plural
nominative rēx rēg-ēs
accusative rēg-em rēg-ēs
genitive rēg-is rēg-um
dative rēg-ī rēg-ibus
ablative rēg-e rēg-ibus

3rd Declension Neuter i-stem: mare[edit]

3rd Declension Neuter Singular Plural
nominative* mare mar-ia
accusative mare mar-ia
genitive mar-is mar-ium
dative mar-ī mar-ibus
ablative mar-ī mar-ibus

Other 3rd Declension Neuter: litus[edit]

3rd Declension Neuter Singular Plural
nominative* litus litor-a
accusative litus litor-a
genitive litor-is litor-um
dative litor-ī litor-ibus
ablative litor-ī litor-ibus

List of common 3rd declension stem change patterns[edit]

Singular Nominative Main stem Main gender Examples
-is -is masc/fem canis, navis, hostis
-s -is masc/fem urbs, rex*, matrix*
-s -tis masc/fem nox*, mons, pons
-o -onis masc/fem legio, auditio, statio
-en -inis neuter carmen, flumen, examen
-or -oris masc/fem amor, timor
-us -oris neuter litus, corpus
-us -eris neuter genus, vulnus
  • regs and matrics, respectively, but the gs and cs both compound into x. The c and g stay in the other cases, hence regis and matricis as their genitives. Nox (gen. noctis) works similarly.

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

4th Declension Singular Plural
nominative grad-us grad-ūs
accusative grad-um grad-ūs
genitive grad-ūs grad-uum
dative grad-uī grad-ibus
ablative grad-ū grad-ibus

4th Declension Neuter: cornū[edit]

4th Declension Neuter Singular Plural
nominative corn-ū corn-ua
vocative corn-ū corn-ua
accusative corn-ū corn-ua
genitive corn-ūs corn-uum
dative corn-ū corn-ibus
ablative corn-ū corn-ibus

5th Declension Masculine/Feminine (each word has a set gender; most are feminine): rēs, f.[edit]

5th Declension Feminine/Masculine Singular Plural
nominative r-ēs -ēs
vocative r-ēs r-ēs
accusative r-ēm r-ēs
genitive r-ēī r-ērum
dative r-ēī r-ēbus
ablative r-ē r-ēbus


Exercise 1[edit]

Latin English Notes
villa, -ae farmhouse 1st declension feminine
mittō, -ere, mīsī, missum send 3rd conjugation
nomen, nominis name 3rd declension neuter
maledicō, -dicere, -dīxī, -dictum insult 3rd conjugation
placeō, -ere, placui, placitum + dat please Can be used as an impersonal verb, eg. mihi placet + inf = it pleases me to...
quā rē on account of which
iste, ista, istud that damn man/woman/thing Declines like ille, illa, illud (that)
interficiō, -ficere, -fēci, -fectum kill Mixed conjugation
volō, velle, voluī want, be willing The present forms are: volo, vis, vult, volumus, vultis, volunt
mandō, mandere, mansī, mansum chew on 3rd conjugation

Translate the following:

Hodiē militēs ad villam meī amīcī mittō. Meō amicō, Marcō Tulliō nomine, mē in Senatū maledicere placet, quā rē istum interficere volō.

For extra credit, who in the late Republic might have said such a thing?

(The answer should be: Catiline?)

Exercise 2[edit]

Translate the following:

Eheu! Mūs meum pānem mandit. Nunc nihil habeō. Me miserum!