Elements of Latin Lesson 1:
First Principles of Syntax

Carpe diem
Make the most of today

From Horace, a Roman poet. Literally, Seize the day.

21. Subject and Predicate. A sentence is a group of words expressing a thought. A sentence consists of two parts, a subject and a predicate.

22. The subject is the person or thing spoken of.

23. The predicate says something about the subject.

Subject Predicate
The girl
rēgī'nam voc'at
calls the queen
bo'nam memo'riam ha'bet
has a good memory

24. Transitive and Intransitive Verbs. Some verbs are followed by nouns or pronouns which receive their action and complete the sense. Such verbs are called transitive verbs, and the nouns or pronouns are called the direct objects.

Thus, in the sentences above, vocat (calls) and habet (has) are transitive verbs, and rēgīnam (queen) and memoriam (memory) are their direct objects.

25. Verbs that have no direct object are called intransitive verbs: as,

     Puel'la pro'perat, the girl hastens

     Agri'cola labō'rat, the farmer toils

26. A form of the verb to be (is, are, was, etc.), connecting the subject with a noun or adjective in the predicate, is called the copula ('joiner' or 'link'): as,

     Iū'lia est pul'chra puel'la, Julia is a pretty girl


Print Lesson 1 Exercise

27. Pronounce the Latin of the following sentences and name the nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, copulas, subjects, objects, and predicates, and state whether the verbs are transitive or intransitive:

Latin Audio
Latin Sentence
English Translation
E'go pa'triam a'mō. I (my) country love.
Puel'lae in mag'nam sil'vam pro'perant. (The) girls into (the) great forest are-hastening.
Les'bia, pul'chra fī'lia agri'colae, nūl'lam pecū'niam ha'bet. Lesbia, (the) beautiful daughter of (the) farmer, no money has.
Agri'cola fī'liam ex par'vā ca'sā vo'cat. (The) farmer (his) daughter from (the) little cottage calls.
Is pul'chram puel'lam a'mat. He (the) pretty girl loves.
Lin'gua Latī'na est pul'chra. The language Latin is beautiful.

NOTE. Latin has no article the or a; thus puella may mean the girl, a girl, or simply girl. Further, the possessive adjectives my, your, his, her, etc. are not expressed if the meaning of the sentence is clear without them. Note, too, in 6 that in Latin the adjective may follow the noun.


Transitive v. Intransitive


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