Latin for beginners (1911)/Part II/Lesson II

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23. Inflection. Words may change their forms to indicate some change in sense or use, as, is, are; was, were; who, whose, whom; farmer, farmer's; woman, women. This is called inflection. The inflection of a noun, adjective, or pronoun is called its declension, that of a verb its conjugation.

24. Number. Latin, like English, has two numbers, singular and plural. In English we usually form the plural by adding -s or -es to the singular. So Latin changes the singular to the plural by changing the ending of the word. Compare

Naut-a pugnat The sailor fights
Naut-ae pugnant The sailors fight

25. Rule. Nouns that end in -a in the singular end in -ae in the plural.

26. Learn the following nouns so that you can give the English for the Latin or the Latin for the English. Write the plural of each.

agri’cola, farmer (agriculture) [1]
aqua, water (aquarium)
causa, cause, reason
do’mina, lady of the house, mistress (dominate)
fīlia, daughter (filial)
fortū’na, fortune
fuga, flight (fugitive)
iniū’ria, wrong, injury
lūna, moon (lunar)
nauta, sailor (nautical)
puel’la, girl
silva, forest (silvan)
terra, land (terrace)

27. Compare again the sentences

Nauta pugna-t The sailor fights
Nautae pugna-nt The sailors fight

In the first sentence the verb pugna-t is in the third person singular, in the second sentence pugna-nt is in the third person plural.

28. Rule. Agreement of Verb. A finite verb must always be in the same person and number as its subject.

29. Rule. In the conjugation of the Latin verb the third person singular active ends in -t, the third person plural in -nt. The endings which show the person and number of the verb are called personal endings.

30. Learn the following verbs and write the plural of each. The personal pronouns he, she, it, etc., which are necessary in the inflection of the English verb, are not needed in the Latin, because the personal endings take their place. Of course, if the verb's subject is expressed we do not translate the personal ending by a pronoun; thus nauta pugnat is translated the sailor fights, not the sailor he fights.

ama-t he (she, it) loves, is loving, does love (amity, amiable)
labō’ra-t he (she, it) labors, is laboring, does labor
nūntia-t[2] he (she, it) announces, is announcing, does announce
porta-t he (she, it) carries, is carrying, does carry (porter)
pugna-t he (she, it) fights, is fighting, does fight (pugnacious)


1. The daughter loves, the daughters love.
2. The sailor is carrying, the sailors carry.
3. The farmer does labor, the farmers labor.
4. The girl is announcing, the girls do announce.
5. The ladies are carrying, the lady carries.
1. Nauta pugnat, nautae pugnant.
2. Puella amat, puellae amant.
3. Agricola portat, agricolae portant.
4. Fīlia labōrat, fīliae labōrant.
5. Nauta nūntiat, nautae nūntiant.
6. Dominae amant, domina amat.


  1. The words in parentheses are English words related to the Latin. When the words are practically identical, as causa, cause, no comparison is needed.
  2. The u in nūntiō is long by exception. (Cf. §12.2.)