Latin/Lesson 6-The Perfect Passive

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Latin
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The perfect passive is an easy tense to form in Latin, and it is also one of the most useful. The verb "to love" in the perfect passive would translate into English as "I was loved".


Forming the Perfect Passive in Latin[edit]

In order to form the perfect passive you must be familiar with the principal parts of the verb with which you are working, e.g., amo, amāre, amāvī, amātum. The fourth principal part is the perfect passive participle.

  • In its neuter nominative form, the perfect passive participle is identical to the nominative supine (a fourth-declension noun whose morphology and usage are very restricted). Be careful not to confuse the two.

To use the perfect passive, first determine the gender and number of the subject of the sentence. For example, in the sentence "The queen was killed by the soldier," queen is the subject. In Latin, queen will be feminine nominative singular (regīna).

Now make the participle agree with the subject in gender and number (and case), just as you would with any adjective. As a review, the singular endings for the participle, a first/second declension adjective, are:

  Masculine: -us — (amātus)
  Feminine:  -a — (amāta)
  Neuter: -um — (amātum)

The endings for plural nouns are:

  Masculine:  — (amātī)
  Feminine:  -ae — (amātae)
  Neuter: -a — (amāta)

These participles by themselves can be translated with "having been", eg. amatus = having been loved. Add a present form of sum, and you have the perfect passive, eg. amatus sum = I am having been loved = I have been loved.

Conjugation of Verbs in the Perfect Passive[edit]

First Conjugation (amō, to love)[edit]

Person Singular Plural
1st amātus(/-a) sum amātī(/-ae) sumus
2nd amātus(/-a) es amātī(/-ae) estis
3rd amātus(/-a/-um) est amātī(/-ae/-a) sunt

Second Conjugation (moneō, to warn)[edit]

Person Singular Plural
1st monitus sum monitī sumus
2nd monitus es monitī estis
3rd monitus est monitī sunt


Third Conjugation (regō, to rule)[edit]

Person Singular Plural
1st rectus sum recti sumus
2nd rectus es rectī estis
3rd rectus est rectī sunt


Fourth Conjugation (audiō, to hear)[edit]

Person Singular Plural
1st audītus sum audītī sumus
2nd audītus es audītī estis
3rd audītus est audītī sunt

Notes[edit]

  1. Remember that the subject must agree with the passive participle.
  2. Passive verbs do not take an object. Instead they have an agent or instrument, indicated by the ablative case.

Examples[edit]

Regina ā milite interfecta est.

"The queen was killed by the soldier."

Rex ad proelium est ā servīs portātus.

"The king was carried to the battle by his slaves."

Numquam enim ā Pomponiā nostrā certior sum factus esse cuī dare litterās possem. (Cicero, Ad Atticum 1.5)

"For I was never made aware by our Pomponia that there was someone to whom I could give a letter."

Exercises[edit]

Convert the following sentences with relative clauses into sentences with the same meaning but using past participles.

eg. Aemilianus vidit urbem quam deleverat -> Aemilianus vidit urbem a se deletam

  1. colonus exit casam quam vendidit
  2. colonus videt nuntium (messenger) quam Romam misit
  3. nuntius colono dedit epistolam quam coloni pater scripserat
  4. colonus gratias egit (gave thanks) nuntio quem saepe viderat