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

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70. Latin nouns are divided into five declensions.

The declension to which a noun belongs is shown by the ending of the genitive singular. This should always be learned along with the nominative and the gender.

71. The nominative singular of nouns of the Second or O-Declension ends in -us, -er, -ir, or -um. The genitive singular ends in -ī.

72. Gender. Nouns in -um are neuter. The others are regularly masculine.

73. Declension of nouns in -us and -um. Masculines in -us and neuters in -um are declined as follows:

dominus (base domin-), m., master pīlum (base pil-), n., spear


Nom.[1] do'minus -us pīlum -um
Gen. dominī -ī pīlī -ī
Dat. dominō -ō pīlō -ō
Acc. dominum -um pīlum -um
Abl. dominō -o pīlō -ō
Voc. domine -e pīlum -um


Nom. dominī -ī pīla -a
Gen. dominō’rum -ōrum pilō’rum -ōrum
Dat. dominīs -īs pīlīs -īs
Acc. dominōs -ōs pīla -a
Abl. dominīs -īs pīl'īs -īs

a. Observe that the masculines and the neuters have the same terminations excepting in the nominative singular and the nominative and accusative plural.

b. The vocative singular of words of the second declension in -us ends in -ĕ, as domine, O master; serve, O slave. This is the most important exception to the rule in § 56. a.

74. Write side by side the declension of domina, dominus, and pīlum. A comparison of the forms will lead to the following rules, which are of great importance because they apply to all five declensions:

a. The vocative, with a single exception (see § 73. b), is like the nominative. That is, the vocative singular is like the nominative singular, and the vocative plural is like the nominative plural.

b. The nominative, accusative, and vocative of neuter nouns are alike, and in the plural end in -a.

c. The accusative singular of masculines and feminines ends in -m and the accusative plural in -s.

d. The dative and ablative plural are always alike.

e. Final -i and -o are always long; final -a is short, except in the ablative singular of the first declension.

75. Observe the sentences

Lesbia est bona, Lesbia is good
Lesbia est ancilla, Lesbia is a maidservant

We have learned (§ 55) that bona, when used, as here, in the predicate to describe the subject, is called a predicate adjective. Similarly a noun, as ancilla, used in the predicate to define the subject is called a predicate noun.

76. Rule. Predicate Noun. A predicate noun agrees in case with the subject of the verb.

Latin for beginners (1911) 52.png



Galba and Marcus

First learn the special vocabulary, p. 285.

G. Quis, Mārce, est lēgātus gerēns (bearing) pīllum et tubam?

M. Lēgātus, Galba, est Sextus.

G. Ubi Sextus habitat?[2]

M. In oppidō Sextus cum fīliābus habitat.

G. Amantne oppidānī Sextum?

M. Amant oppidānī Sextum et laudant, quod magnā cum cōnstantiā pugnat.

G. Ubi, Mārce, est ancilla tua? Cūr nōn cēnam parat?

M. Ancilla mea, Galba, equō lēgātī aquam et frūmentum dat.

G. Cūr nōn servus Sextī equum dominī cūrat?

M. Sextus et servus ad mūrum oppidī properant. Oppidānī bellum parant.[3]


Translate the questions and answer them in Latin.
1. Ubi fīliae Sextī habitant?
2. Quem oppidānī amant et laudant?
3. Quid ancilla equō lēgātī dat?
4. Cuius equum ancilla cūrat?
5. Quis ad mūrum cum Sextō properat?
6. Quid oppidānī parant?



  1. Compare the declension of domina and of dominus.
  2. habitat is here translated does live. Note the three possible translations of the Latin present tense:
    he lives
    he is is living
    he does live

    Always choose the translation which makes the best sense.

  3. Observe that the verb parō means not only to prepare but also to prepare for, and governs the accusative case.