Lingua Latina 03: Puer Improbus

Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata: You have to buy the book, but the help here is free.

A supplement for Chapter 3, Puer Improbus. Use this page to support your reading and rereading of the third chapter. You may find this page useful when reviewing for tests and quizzes.

1. There are 12 new verbs in chapter 3.

The basic thing to recognize now about verbs is this: singular verbs end in -t, plural verbs end in -nt. (cf. est, sunt from chapters 1 and 2).

In chapter 3, however, all verbs are singular, ending in -t.

cantat he/she sings
pulsat he/she hits
plōrat he/she cries
rīdet he/she laughs
videt he/she sees
vocat he/she calls
venit he/she comes
interrogat he/she asks
respondet he/she answers
dormit he/she sleeps
audit he/she hears
verberat he/she beats

Study this list of verbs at

2. Transitive Verbs vs. Intransitive Verbs:

When a verb transfers or directs its action onto an object it is said to be Transitive. A verb that does not have a direct object is said to be intransitive.

Few students understand this concept and fewer care. Most teachers and most books let it slide, too. In easy Latin it is not problematic; in classical literature it is difficult and essential to distinguish transitive verbs from intransitive verbs.

In fact, this is one of the most important and most difficult concepts to master. The trouble starts when verbs that are transitive in English are NOT transitive in Latin (or vice versa).

It is well worth our time to understand the basic difference now. If we do, things will be easier later on.


  • Puella puerum vocat. The girl calls the boy (transitive)
  • Puella dormit. The girls sleeps (intransitive)

3. Direct Objects:

For masculine and feminine nouns, the subject form differs from that of the direct object. This happens in English for certain pronouns:

Subject Object
he him
she her
we us
they them
who whom

In Latin:

Subject Object
Mārcus Mārcum
Iūlia Iūliam
Iūlius Iūlium
Aemilia Aemiliam
puer puerum

4. The case ending of a noun, and not its position in the sentence, determines its meaning.


  • puer puellam videt = the boy sees the girl.
  • puellam puer videt = the boy sees the girl.
  • videt puellam puer = the boy sees the girl.

  • puerum puella videt = the girl sees the boy.
  • puella puerum videt = the girl sees the boy.
  • videt puella puerum = the girl sees the boy.

5. The Relative Pronouns: Quī, Quae, Quod

Did you know that an entire clause can play the role of an adjective? Yes, there are subordinate clauses that do nothing more than give the reader details about a noun in the main sentence.

Such adjectival clauses are called relative clauses. They begin with a relative pronoun, such as who or what, they contain their own verb, and they do nothing more than describe a certain noun in the main sentence. If you remove a relative clause from a sentence you are left with a complete sentence.

Your English teacher might call it a dependent clause.

You have already seen many examples of relative clauses in chapter III of Lingua Latina.

Examples: Notice the following relative clauses in bold.

  • a. The boy who kicked his sister has made his mother angry.
  • b. The girl who had been kicked by her brother called for her mother.
  • c. The boy whom we all loved became a famous comedian.
  • d. The girl whose shoes were red made a splash at the school dance.

Read Lingua Latina, p. 23, lines 69-82 for excellent examples in Latin.

Nota Bene: The relative adjective in Latin (i.e. quī, quae, quem, quam, cuius) agrees in gender and number with its antecedent. Its antecedent is the noun it helps describe in the main sentence.

6. Vocabula Nova: Lingua Latina Chapter 03

Feminine Nouns:

laetus, laeta
īrātus, īrāta
probus, proba
improbus, improba


Other Words:

A project assessment for chapter 3: Write a New Latin Play

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