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

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64. We have for some time now been using adjectives and nouns together, and you have noticed an agreement between them in case and in number (§54). They agree also in gender. In the phrase silva magna, we have a feminine adjective in -a agreeing with a feminine noun in -a.

65. Rule. Agreement of Adjectives. Adjectives agree with their nouns in gender, number, and case.

66. Feminine adjectives in -a are declined like feminine nouns in -a, and you should learn to decline them together as follows:



domina (base domin-), f., lady

bona (base bon-), good



Nom. do’mina bona -a
Gen. dominae bonae -ae
Dat. dominae bonae -ae
Acc. dominam bonam -am
Abl. dominā bonā


Nom. do’minae bonae -ae
Gen. dominā’rum bonā’rum -ārum
Dat. dominīs bonīs -īs
Acc. dominās bonās -ās
Abl. dominīs bonīs īs

a. In the same way decline together puella mala, the bad girl; ancil’la parva, the little maid; fortū’na magna, great fortune.

67. The words dea, goddess. and fīlia, daughter, take the ending -ābus instead of -īs in the dative and ablative plural. Note the dative and ablative plural in the following declension:

dea bona (bases de- bon-)

Singular Plural
Nom. dea bona deae bonae
Gen. deae bonae deā’rum bonā’rum
Dat. deae bonae deā’bus bonis
Acc. deam bonam deās bonās
Abl. deā bonā deā’bus bonīs

a. In the same way decline together fīlia parva.

68. Latin Word Order. The order of words in English and in Latin sentences is not the same.

In English we arrange words in a fairly fixed order. Thus, in the sentence My daughter is getting dinner for the farmers, we cannot alter the order of the words without spoiling the sentence. We can, however, throw emphasis on different words by speaking them with more force. Try the effect of reading the sentence by putting special force on my, daughter, dinner, farmers.

In Latin, where the office of the word in the sentence is shown by its ending (cf. §32.1), and not by its position, the order of words is more free, and position is used to secure the same effect that in English is secured by emphasis of voice. To a limited extent we can alter the order of words in English, too, for the same purpose.

Compare the sentences

I saw a game of football at Chicago last November (normal order)
Last November I saw a game of football at Chicago
At Chicago, last November, I saw a game of football

1. In a Latin sentence the most emphatic place is the first next in importance is the last; the weakest point is the middle. Generally the subject is the most important word, and is placed first usually the verb is the next in importance, and is placed last. The other words of the sentence stand between these two in the order of their importance. Hence the normal order of words — that is, where no unusual emphasis is expressed — is as follows:

subject — modifiers of the subject — indirect object — direct object — adverb — verb

Changes from the normal order are frequent, and are due to the desire for throwing emphasis upon some word or phrase. Notice the order of the Latin words when you are translating, and imitate it when you are turning English into Latin.

2. Possessive pronouns and modifying genitives normally stand after their nouns. When placed before their nouns they are emphatic, as fīlia mea, my daughter; mea fīlia, my daughter; casa Galbae, Galba's cottage; Galbae casa, Galba’s cottage.

Notice the variety of emphasis produced by writing the following sentence in different ways:

Fīlia mea agricolīs cēnam parat (normal order)
Mea fīlia agricolīs parat cēnam (mea and cēnam emphatic)
Agricolīs fīlia mea cēnam parat (agricolīs emphatic)

3. An adjective placed before its noun is more emphatic than when it follows. When great emphasis is desired, the adjective is separated from its noun by other words.

Fīlia mea casam parvam nōn amat (parvam not emphatic)
Fīlia mea parvam casam nōn amat (parvam more emphatic)
Parvam fīlia mea casam nōn amat (parvam very emphatic)

4. Interrogative words usually stand first, the same as in English.

5. The copula (as est, sunt) is of so little importance that it frequently does not stand last, but may be placed wherever it sounds well.


First learn the special vocabulary, p. 284.

Note the order of the words in these sentences and pick out those that are not normal in position and hence are unusually emphatic.

1. Longae nōn sunt tuae viae.
2. Suntne tubae novae in meā casā? Nōn sunt.
3. Quis lātā in silvā habitat? Diāna, lūnae clārae pulchra dea, lātā in silvā habitat.
4. Nautae altās et lātās amant aquās.
5. Quid ancilla tua portat? Ancilla mea tubam novam portat.
6. Ubi sunt Lesbia et Iūlia? In tuā casā est Lesbia et Iūlia est in meā.
7. Estne Italia lāta terra? Longa est Italia, nōn lāta.
8. Cui Galba agricola fābulam novam nārrat? Fīliābus dominae clārae fābulam novam nārrat.
9. Clāra est īnsula Sicilia.
10. Quem laudat Lātōna? Lātōna laudat fīliam.

First Review of Vocabulary and Grammar, §§502-505