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Chapter 19

RULE 1: The fourth principal part of the verb is the perfect passive participle; it carries a sense of past-tense action with it.

RULE 2: The perfect passive participle + a form of esse = the perfect passive system of the Latin verb.

I. Grammar

There are two especially important things to remember in the chapter. The first is that the Latin perfect passive participle conveys a past-tense connotation (-1 in time) and so, when combined with present-tense forms of esse (+0), creates the perfect passive. The second is that, with the introduction of the perfect passives, the Latin verb may for the first time in your experience consist of more than one word.

A. Formation of the Perfect Passive System

The formula for creating perfect passive forms is simple: the perfect passive participle + a form of sum. In practice, however, this verb system poses certain difficulties for English speakers:

1. The Formation of the Perfect Passive in Latin and English. In Latin, the sense of past tense is included in the participle, not as in English in the form of the verb "to be." That is, Latin says laudatus sum, literally "I am + having been praised" (i.e. "I now exist in a state of having been praised in the past"). Conversely, in English a past tense form of the verb "to be" + the (present) passive participle creates the perfect passive system: I have been + praised. English speakers are innately attuned to hearing the tense of a multi-word verb form in the verb "to be" and so when they hear a present form of "to be," they naturally assume the verb is present. That is, be careful not to make the mistake of misinterpreting laudatus sum as "I am praised," when it is correctly translated as "I have been praised" (because the participle laudatus is perfect in tense).

From there, the rest of the tenses follow logically:

a. Pluperfect: the perfect passive participle (-1) + the imperfect of sum (-1) = pluperfect passive (-2);
b. Future Perfect: the perfect passive participle (-1) + the future of sum (+1) = future perfect passive (+.5).

2. The Agreement of the Perfect Passive Participle with the Subject. As an adjective, the perfect passive participle must agree with a noun, even if that noun is not stated explicitly. Because the verb is tied to the subject, the perfect passive participle will refer to the subject and will therefore be in the nominative case. It will also change its number and gender in accordance with the subject, something you need to remember. That is, it's important to check the number and gender of the perfect passive participle when you are creating Latin perfect passive forms. On the other side of the issue, remember too that, when you're reading Latin, the perfect passive participle can be of great help in determining the subject of the sentence since it shows the subject's number and gender.

3. Translating the Perfect Passive. As with other verb forms, there are several English translations of perfect passive forms: I have been praised, I have been being praised, I was praised. Just like perfect active forms, perfect passive forms show past action which has been completed and usually has some sort of bearing on the present.

Click here for a worksheet on perfect passive forms and synopses. A synopsis is an "overview" of a verb (in only one person and number) as it changes tense and voice. More blank synopsis sheets are available here.

B. Interrogatives

Only five forms of the interrogative pronoun differ from the relative pronoun:

1-3) the nominative singular forms: quis (m/f), quid (n.) [versus qui, quae, quod];

4-5) the accusative and ablative feminine forms: quem and quo [versus quam and quâ].

Note that the interrogative adjective is identical in form to the relative pronoun but very different in use: the interrogative adjective is a modifier used in the main sentence, whereas a relative pronoun introduces a subordinate clause. It's usually translated as "what (man)?" or "which (man)?"

II. Vocabulary

senex: Not an i-stem noun. The base is sen-.

studium: Means primarily "desire, eagerness," only secondarily "study." Students originally "desired" learning and knowledge. As an abstract noun, studium can be used as an ablative of manner.

certus: Means "certain" in the sense of "without question," not "some" (which is quidam, Chapter 26). Certus derives from the verb cerno ("separate"), making it literally "separated, distinguished."

paro: The original sense of the verb was simply "put, set; make ready" but, aided by its compound praeparo (literally, "make ready in advance"), it took on the sense "prepare," hence "provide, furnish, get, obtain, buy." Remembering this Latin word can help with the spelling of a particularly difficult English word, separate (all too often wrongly spelled seperate); separate means literally "put (-par-) apart (se-)."

III. Sentences

Practice and Review

6. In this sentence, id must be used as an adjective, "this/that."

11. Note the relative clause within a question.


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