First Declension
Genitive Singular Ends in -AE

By definition, the first declension has a genitive singular form ending in -ae. Your textbook has examples such as this:

Case Singular Plural
Nominative puella puellae
Genitive puellae puellārum
Dative puellae puellīs
Accusative puellam puellās
Ablative puellā puellīs

Many students dutifully memorize all these forms and yet have no idea what they mean or how to use them. This chart is useful only as a guide to help make sense of nouns in context. In and of itself, the chart means nothing.

Here is an English Equivalent of the chart above:

Case Singular Plural
Nominative girl girls
Genitive girl's girls'
Dative to/for the girl to/for the girls
Accusative girl (object) girls (object)
Ablative from/with/in/by the girl from/with/in/by the girls

As I said, the chart means nothing. Has anyone ever memorized this chart as a way to learn English?

Not a fair question, perhaps.

Latin is an inflected language. The form of a noun determines how it is being used. A subject, an object, a possessive -- each has its own particular form.

And so we present the chart to students. And they memorize it. To make things easier.

Here's what you need to know about nouns of the first declension:

  1. Genitive Singular = -ae
  2. They are generally feminine
  3. Masculine nouns of this type include: poēta, nauta, agricola, and incola.
  4. Without exception they follow this pattern:

Singular Plural
Subject -a -ae
"of" -ae -ārum
"to" or "for" -ae -īs
Object -am -ās
"from", "with", "in", "on", "by" -īs

Remember these common irregular first-declension nouns. Note the dative and ablative plural ending: -ābus

dea, -ae (f)

Case Singular Plural
Nominative dea deae
Genitive deae deārum
Dative deae deābus
Accusative deam deās
Ablative deā deābus

fīlia, -ae (f)

Case Singular Plural
Nominative fīlia fīliae
Genitive fīliae fīliārum
Dative fīliae fīliābus
Accusative fīliam fīliās
Ablative fīliā fīliābus

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