Elements of Latin Lesson 15: 
Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns

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Prō bonō pūblicō — For the public weal
A Latin slogan.

132. Observe the following sentences:

Marcus is my son.          Marcus in mine.

In the first sentence my is a possessive adjective; in the second mine is a possessive pronoun. Similarly in Latin the possessives are sometimes adjectives and sometimes pronouns.

133. The Latin possessives are declined like adjectives of the first and second declensions, and are as follows:

Referring to one:

meus, mea, meum my, mine
tuus, tua, tuum your, yours
suus, sua, suum his (own), her (own), its (own)

Referring to more than one:

noster, nostra, nostrum our, ours
vester, vestra, vestrum your, yours
suus, sua, suum their (own), theirs

  Note. The vocative singular masculine of meus is : as, mī fīlī, (O) my son; mī serve, (O) my slave.

134. Rule for Agreement of the Possessive Adjective. The possessive adjective agrees with the noun which is modifies in gender, number, and case.

   a. Compare the English and Latin in:

Galba is calling his friends. Galba suōs amīcōs vocat.
Lesbia is calling her friends. Lesbia suōs amīcōs vocat.
The girls are calling their friends. Puellae suōs amīcōs vocant.

   Observe that suōs agrees with amīcōs and is unaffected by the gender, number, and case of Galba, Lesbia, or puellae.

135. Suus, the Reflexive Possessive. The possessive suus is reflexive; that is, it stands in the predicate and refers to the subject, indicating that the subject is the possessor. In English the meaning of the sentence Galba is calling his daugher is doubtful, for we cannot tell whether Galba is calling his own daughter or the daughter of someone else. But in Latin Galba fīliam suam vocat can only mean the former, for suam must refer to Galba.

136. Omission of Possessives. The Latin possessives are omitted whenever the meaning is clear without them.

137. Position of Possessive Adjectives. Possessive adjectives, when not emphatic, follow their nouns; when emphatic, they precede: as,

Lesbia est fīlia mea.
Lesbia is my daughter

Lesbia est mea fīlia.
Lesbia is my daughter.


Print Lesson 15 Exercises

138. 1. Rēgīna suīs sociīs auxilium dat.  2. Servī frūmentum vestrum portant.  3. Sociī nostrī nova bella parant.  4. Tēla sunt mea, arma sunt tua.  5. Agrī pulchrī sunt grātī fīliābus meīs  6. Populus est inimīcus suīs sociīs.  7. Īnsula nostra est proxima tuae terrae.  8. Meae viae nōn sunt tuae viae.

I am strongly in favor of continuing the classics in an academic education. I consider that, in addition to the mental discipline which study of them affords, they are the most helpful in the matter of correct English style, in laying the sound foundations for grammatical construction, and in furnishing a basis for the study of all modern languages.

William Howard Taft

139. Answer the following questions in Latin, basing your replies on (131):

131. Galba agricola in agrīs pulchrīs habitat, Quīntus in oppidō magnō et nōtō habitat; sed Mārcus nauta in īnsulā parvā habitat. Parva īnsula est pulchra et grāta Mārcō nautae. Terra est grāta Galbae et Quīntō, sed Mārcus altās aquās amat. Īnsula parva Mārcī nautae est proxima agrīs pulchrīs Galbae agricolae. Mārcus ab īnsulā parvā ad terram saepe nāvigat et per agrōs pulchrōs ad parvam casam Galbae agricolae properat. Lesbia, fīlia Galbae, Mārcō nautae frūmentum saepe dat et Mārcus frūmentum ā terrā ad parvam īnsulam portat. Lesbia est Mārcō nautae amīca sed inimīca Quīntō. Agrī nōn grātī Quīntō sunt. Quīntus arma et tēla et bella amat. Estne Mārcus servus? Nōn est. Mārcus est līber.

1. Quis in īnsulā habitat?

2. Ubi Galba habitat?

3. Ubi Quīntus habitat?

4. Quid est grātum Mārcō?

5. Estne īnsula nautae proxima terrae?

6. Suntne servī līberī?

7. Quō Mārcus saepe nāvigat?

8. Quid Lesbia Mārcō dat?

9. Cūr est Lesbia Quīntō inimīca?



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