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Chapter 4

RULE 1: Neuter nominatives and accusatives (of the same number) are always the same.

RULE 2: Adjectives agree with their antecedents (the noun they go with) in number, gender and case.

RULE 3: The stem of the Latin verb "to be" is *es-.

RULE 4: A substantive derives its "substance" from its gender.

I. Grammar

1. Second-Declension Neuter Nouns. Second-declension neuters differ from second-declension masculines only in the nominative singular and nominative and accusative plural. They also differ from their masculine counterparts in that the vocative singular is (as expected) the same form as the nominative singular (unlike the -us/-e distinction of second-declension masculine).

2. The -A Ending. Note that -a is a neuter plural ending seen at least as often in Latin as its feminine counterpart (first declension nominative singular), if not more so, since the neuter ending occurs twice in the second declension plural whereas the -a of first declension occurs but once.

3. Adjectives. Though we have learned them separately and they look quite different, the first and second declensions are, in fact, part of a single declensional system, with the masculine and neuter forms (second declension) separated from their feminine counterparts (first declension) only because they look superficially different. That one system of adjectives entitled "first-and-second-declension adjectives" take both sets of endings, encompassing all three genders, shows that first and second declension indeed comprise one group of forms.

4. Adjective Bases. Adjectives appear in the vocabulary in their nominative forms. If the masculine nominative singular form of the adjective is irregular, the feminine will exhibit the true base used to create the other forms of the adjective.

5 . To Be. The stem of the Latin verb "to be" is *es-, which changes to *su- before -m or -n:

*es- [*su- before nasals] + -m > sum -mus > sumus
-s > es -tis > estis
-t > est -nt > sunt

6. Intransitive Verbs, Linking Verbs and Predicates. Transitive verbs "carry action" across a verb to a direct object which is usually in the accusative case ("trans/itive" verbs, lit. "going across"). Intransitive verbs do not. A sub-group of intransitive verbs is those which "link," i.e. "equate," the subject and a predicate (nominative) and are therefore called "linking" verbs. The most basic and common of all linking verbs is "to be."

7. Substantives. Substantives are adjectives functioning as nouns, such as "the good" in English. As adjectives, Latin substantives have gender from which they derive their "substance" (the noun understood behind it): the masculine gender implies "man", the feminine "woman" and the neuter "thing". If you end up with an adjective in a Latin sentence which has no noun with which it can agree (called an "antecedent"), look at the gender of the adjective and supply the noun "man/men", "woman/women" or "thing/things." This is a very common practice in Latin.

II. Vocabulary

bellum: Note the difference between bellum ("war") and bellus, -a, -um ("beautiful").

cura: Does not mean "cure"!

mora: Does not mean "death"!

nihil: Just because nihil does not change endings does not mean it does not have a specific (case or) usage in a sentence.

otium: This noun means "peace" as in "peace and quiet," not "war and peace."

III. Quiz 2

Here is a breakdown of Quiz 2:

I. Adjective Declension. Decline an adjective in all cases, numbers and genders. (30 pts.)
II. Verb Conjugation. Conjugate the present tense of the verb esse. (6 pts.)
III . Vocabulary. Give the proper Latin forms for the following English words. All vocabulary will come from Chapters 3 and 4. (7 pts.)
IV. Sentence. Translate the following sentence into English which shows that you know exactly how the Latin grammar works. (7 pts.)


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