Verb Conjugation

Verb conjugation is at the center of learning to read Latin. As complicated as Latin may seem, when you have mastered the verb, things fall into place.

Latin verbs fall into the following categories, called conjugations:

First
-ō, -āre
Second
-eō, -ēre
Third
-ō, -ere
Third i-stem
-iō, -ere
Fourth
-iō, -īre
Irregular

1. Person and number:

The ending of a Latin verb indicates the person and number of its subject. See the following chart:

Subject Pronoun Active Verb Ending Passive Verb Ending
ego
I
, -m -r

you
-s -ris (-re)
is, ea, id
he, she, it
-t -tur
nōs
we
-mus -mur
vōs
you all
-tis -minī
, eae, ea
they
-nt -ntur

As with all charts, in and of itself it means nothing.

What it helps you do, however, is recognize the subject of any verb you see while reading. Verbs ending in or -m have the subject "I", verbs in ending in -mus or -mur have the subject "we", etc. according to the chart above.

This is true of all verbs, even irregular verbs. And it is true of all tenses, too, other than the perfect active tense.

Memorizing this chart is helpful for all beginning students. And a review never hurts, either, for more advanced students.

2. Tense:

There are six basic verb tenses in Latin. Find them listed below:

Tense Possible English Translations
Present does
is doing
Imperfect was doing
used to do
Future will do
Perfect did
has done
Pluperfect had done
Future Perfect will have done

These links will take you to explanations and practice with each tense. For tenses of the subjunctive mood, see below.

3. Voice: Active and Passive

There are two sets of rules for the formation of passive forms. One for the present, imperfect, and future tenses, another for the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect.

To change a verb from active to passive....

Present

Imperfect

Future
Remove active ending
(-ō/-m, -s, -t, -mus, -tis, -nt)

Put on passive ending
(-r, -ris (-re), -tur, -mur, -minī, -ntur)
Perfect

Pluperfect

Future Perfect
A compound tense must be used

4. Mood:



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