Elements of Latin Lesson 6
The Ablative Case and The First Declension

Ars longa, vīta brevis — Art is long, time is fleeting
Latin form of a saying attributed to the Greek writer Hippocrates. Literally, Art long, life short. The verb to be is often omitted when it can readily be supplied.

65. Ablative Case. Another case lacking in English, but found in Latin, is the Ab'lative. This case is used to express the relations conveyed in English by the prepositions from, by, with, at, in, or on. Sometimes, as will be shown later (§ 79), Latin uses similar prepositions with the ablative.

66. Ablative Relations. What ablative relations do you discover in the following sentences?

At two o'clock the troops began to march by, the general with his staff leading the van. Many thousands were in line and the ground shook with their martial tread. From sidewalks, windows, and housetops the spectators viewed the wonderful sight. On every side flags were waving in the breeze and everyone was wild with joy. Our boys were back from France.

67. Case Endings of Ablative. When the nominative singular ends in -a, the ablative singular ends in , and the ablative plural in -īs.

  a. Note that the final -a is long in the ablative () and short in the nominative (-a): aqua, nominative; aquā, ablative.

  b. Note that the ablative plural is like the dative plural.

68. Declensions. Latin has five declensions.

69. The declension to which a noun belongs is shown by the ending of the genitive singular.

70. First Declension. Nouns having the ending -ae in the genitive singular belong to the First Declension. They are declined as follows:

Case Singular Plural
aqua aquae
aquae aquārum
indirect object
aquae aquīs
direct object
aquam aquās
"from, with, in, by, at, on"
aquā aquīs

a. The nouns fīlia, daughter, and dea, goddess, have fīliābus and deābus in the dative and ablative plural.

71. Base. That part of the word which remains unchanged throughout the declension, and to which the terminations are added, is called the base. Thus, aqu- is the base of aqua.

72. How to learn a Declension. First pronounce each form carefully, with due regard for the sounds of the letters and the accent, giving the corresponding English meaning. Repeat again and again until you have the declension memorized. Then close your book and write the Latin forms, marking the quantity of the long vowels in the case endings, and write also the meaning of each form. Then open your book and correct any errors in your work. For further drill make a blank scheme of the declension as shown below, and, pointing rapidly with your pencil to the different spaces, give quickly the Latin forms that would appear there, using a variety of words. Persist in drilling yourself until you can give the ten Latin forms complete in ten seconds.

Nom. __________________ __________________
Gen. __________________ __________________
Dat. __________________ __________________
Acc. __________________ __________________
Abl. __________________ __________________


73. Write the declension of puella, dea, and agricola, with the meaning of each form.

74. Give orally the declension of fābula, rēgīna, fīlia, pecūnia.

75. Give the case or the cases, and the meaning or the meanings, of the following: puellārum, fīliābus, pecūniae, fābulā, rēgīnam, deās, agricolīs.

76. Derivation. The noun aqua appears in the English words aquarium, aqueous, aquatic, aqueduct. What do they mean? Consult the English dictionary if you do not know.


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