What is a case?
A case is a grammatical category for a noun, such as the subject, direct object, agent, possessor, etc.
Nouns in a dictionary setting are shown in the Nominative case -- the "normal" or "subject" case.
What is a declension?
A declension is a group of nouns that have the same case endings to indicate what part of a sentence a word is. Each declension also has a "theme letter" that normally exists in the root of the word. Words within a declension sometimes have related meanings.
There are five declensions in Latin.
What is the Genitive case?
The Genitive case is used to form the possesive of a noun (e.g. John's dog).
The Genitive ending is normally given after the Nominative ("normal") form of the noun, preceded by a hyphen to show that it is only a word ending, and is used to determine which declension a noun belongs to.
The marker for the first declension is -ae. The marker for the second declension is -ī.
How do you change the case of a noun?
Take the Genitive form of the verb.
Drop the ending to get the root of the noun.
Add the appropriate case ending to this root.
farmer - agricola, -ae (masculine). Note that the Genitive ending (-ae) means that agricola is a first declension noun. The first declension contains mostly feminine nouns.
Also note that in Latin, you should not translate articles: there is no difference in translating "a farmer," "the farmer," or "farmer."
What is a macron?
A macron is a horizontal bar accent above some vowels in Latin.
Macrons help with pronouncing and differentiating certain words. Normally, a vowel with a macron is longer than one without. Macrons also sometimes affect word stress.
Latin vowels with macrons:
ā, ē, ī, ō, ū
woman - fēmina, -ae (feminine). Remember that the line above the "e" in fēmina is called a macron.
What is a diphthong?
A diphthong is two vowels pronounced as one.
Diphthongs affect word stress like macrons. In this case, they count as long vowels (vowels that have macrons).
The diphthongs in Latin are:
ei (like "eight")
eu (like "Europe")
What are principle parts?
Latin verbs are normally shown with four parts, which are called the verb's "principle parts."
The four principle parts are:
1) the present tense first person singular (I verb)
2) the present infinitive (to verb)
3) the perfect tense first person singular (I verbed)
4) the past participle (verbed)
What is a conjugation?
A conjugation is a group of verbs that have similar structure and follow similar rules for forming tenses. The endings of verbs in the same conjugation are normally the same. There are four and a half conjugations in Latin.
The second principle part ending is always the same for verbs of a given conjugation.
The first conjugation principle part endings are:
-ō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus
What are the present tense endings for first conjugation verbs?
How do you conjugate verbs in the present tense?
Drop -re from the end of the second principle part.
Add the correct present tense ending.
(Remove the macron in front of a
final -t or -nt)
e.g. "We praise"
(First person plural ending: -mus)
laudāre > laudā- > laudāmus
Remember: The first person singular present tense is a principle part: laudō. Because it would otherwise be "laudāō," the -ā- is also dropped.
The farmer praises.
to praise - laudō, laudāre, laudāvī, laudātus.
What is the Accusative case?
The Accusative case is used to indicate the direct object of a verb.
Normally, Accusative endings include a vowel and an -m in the singular and a vowel and an -s in the plural.
They praise the farmer.
Because agricola is a first declension noun, the accusative singular ending is -am.
He praises the forest.
forest - silva, -ae (feminine).
The woman praises the farmer.
Fēmina laudat agricolam.
In Latin, word order does not normally determine meaning, so all of the following mean the same thing:
Fēmina agricolam laudat.
Laudat fēmina agricolam.
Agricolam fēmina laudat.
What do adjectives look like?
Adjectives of the first and second declension will be shown with three endings, which are the masculine (-us), feminine (-a), and neuter (-um).
Use whichever ending agrees with the noun being described (e.g. "a small farmer" would be "agricola parvus" not "agricola parva").
Adjectives must agree with their noun in case, number, and gender (whenever possible).
They praised the first farmer.
Primum agricolam laudant.
first - primus, -a, -um. Remember that agricola is masculine, so primus must agree in case (Accusative), number (singular), and gender (masculine).
A small woman
small - parvus, -a, -um.
The woman loves the farmer.
Femina agricolam amat.
to like, to love - amō, amāre, amāvī, amātus.
She loves the horse.
horse - equus, -ī (masculine). Note that equus is a second declension noun, with the genitive ending -ī. The second declension contains mostly masculine nouns.
The farmer works.
to work - labōrō, labōrāre, labōrāvī, labōrātus.
What are the noun endings for first declension?
The small woman likes to watch the farmer work.
Fēmina parva amat spectare agricolam labōrat.
to watch - spectō, spectāre, spectāvī, spectātus. Note that spectare is the second principle part, the infinitive. To create the phrase "like to ____," conjugate the verb like, then use an infinitive to fill the blank.
What are the noun endings for second declension?
The woman prepares.
to prepare - parō, parāre, parāvī, parātus.
I watch the girl's horse.
Spectō equum puellae.
girl - puella, -ae (feminine).
A horse carries the girl.
Equus puellam portat.
carry - portō, portāre, portāvī, portātus. Note that, while word order doesn't normally affect meaning, the order you will usually find Latin written in is like above: Subject - Object - Verb.
A woman looks at the island.
Femina insulam spectat.
island - insula, -ae (feminine).
It is an island.
is - est. The other forms of this verb will be shown later.
The farmer and family watch the horse.
Agricola et familia equum spectant.
family - familia, -ae (feminine).
The horse is a slave of the farmer.
Equus servus agricolae est.
slave - servus, -ī (masculine).
The farmer is Roman.
Agricola Romanus est.
Roman - Romanus, -a, -um.
The woman prepares the farmer's small cart.
Femina carrum parvum agricolae parat.
cart - carrus, -ī (masculine). Remember that word order doesn't normally affect meaning, so you could translate this sentence in many ways, such as word-for-word: "Femina parat agricolae parvum carrum."
The little girl loves the new horse.
Puella parva novum equum amat.
new - novus, -a, -um.
Brutus is a doctor.
Brūtus medicus est.
doctor - medicus, -ī (masculine).
The farmer prepares the horse and wagon.
Agricola equum et carrum parat.
and - et.
Florida is almost an island.
Flōridia paene insula est.
almost - paene. Note that sometimes, paene combines with the following word, so paene + insula = paeninsula (peninsula).
The horse loves water.
Aquam equus amat.
water - aqua, -ae (feminine).
Where does the farmer prepare the cart?
Ubi agricola carrum parat?
where - ubi. To form a question using ubi, just place it at the beginning of a (logical) phrase.
It is the farmer's road.
Agricolae via est.
road, way - via, -ae (feminine).
The girl loves letters.
Puella litterās amat.
letter (alphabet) - littera, -ae (feminine).
letter (epistle) - litterae, -ārum (feminine).
Note that in Latin, a "letter" that you send to someone is just a collection of letters written out.
The road is (made of) sand.
Via arēna est.
sand - arēna, -ae (feminine). The floors of gladiatorial "arenas" were covered in sand (arēna) to increase foot traction and help clean up after battles. This is where the modern word "arena," a place where games are held, comes from.
We praise you.