Elements of Latin Lesson 2:
Inflection and Cases

Audentēs fortūna iuvat
Fortune favors the brave

From Vergil, Rome’s greatest epic poet.

28. Inflection. Words may change their forms to indicate some change in their meaning, or their use in a sentence: as, is, are; know, knew; we, us; woman, woman’s, women. This change is called inflection.

29. The inflection of a verb is called its conjugation; that of a noun, adjective, or pronoun, its declension.

30. Declension. To decline a word means to give in order all its different forms: as, who, whose, whom. Each one of the forms is called a case.

31. Cases in English. Observe the following sentences:

Who is this man?
Whose son is he?
Whom do I see?

We use the form who as the subject, whose to denote possession, and whom as the object. The three forms illustrate the three cases found in English.

The subject case is called the Nominative case.
The case of the possessor is called the Possessive case.
The object case is called the Objective case.

32. Cases in Latin. In Latin the subject case is called the Nom'inative; the possessive, or case of the possessor, is called the Gen'itive; and the object case is called the Accusative.

Gal'ba (NOMINATIVE) est agri'cola: Galba (SUBJECT) is a farmer

Gal'bae (GENITIVE) fi'lia est Les'bia: Galba’s (POSSESSOR) daughter is Lesbia

Gal'bam (ACCUSATIVE) fi'lia a'mat: (his) daughter loves Galba (OBJECT)

33. Rule for Nominative Subject. The subject of a finite verb is in the Nominative and answers the question Who? or What?

34. Rule for Genitive of the Possessor. The word denoting the owner or possessor of something is in the Genitive and answers the question Whose?

35. Rule for Accusative Object. The direct object of a transitive verb is in the Accusative and answers the question Whom? or What?

36. When the nominative singular ends in -a (as, Galba), the genitive singular ends in -ae and the accusative singular in -am.


Print Lesson 2 Exercises

37. In the following sentences add the proper Latin endings :

1. Lesbia (SUBJECT) loves the farmer (OBJECT):

Lesbi_ amat agricol_

2. The farmer’s (POSSESSOR) daughter (SUBJECT) loves Galba (OBJECT):

agricol_ fili_ amat Galb_

3. The farmer (SUBJECT) calls Galba’s (POSSESSOR) daughter (OBJECT):

agricol_ vocat Galba_ fīli_

Audio Answers for 37:

38. State what nouns in the following sentences would be nominative, genitive, and accusative if translated into Latin:

1. A lion was terrifying the villagers.

2. A hunter found the lion’s den.

3. The hunter shot the lion and captured the lion’s cubs.

4. The lion’s cubs bit the hunter’s hand.

Audio Answers for 38:


The Case of Nouns

The Case Endings in Latin

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