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Chapter 20

RULE 1: Fourth declension is the u-stem declension.


I. Grammar

The next three chapters contain relatively little new material—the last two noun declensions and the passive forms of third, third -io and fourth conjugations—which will be comparatively easy for you to master. With that, it's a good idea to start studying for the final exam now. Over the course of the next few chapters, we will also review the uses of the ablative.

A. Fourth-Declension Nouns

Fourth declension is composed of nouns with a base ending in short- u. The endings used for masculine/feminine nouns in fourth declension are reminiscent of other declensions, especially third:

  SINGULAR PLURAL
NOM -u + s = -us -u + ês = -ûs
GEN -u + is = -ûs -u + um = -uum
DAT -u + î = -uî -u + ibus = -ibus
ACC -u + em = -um -u + ês = -ûs
ABL -u + e = -û -u + ibus = -ibus

There are three important mandatory long marks in this declension, all resulting in -ûs: the genitive singular, the nominative plural, and the accusative plural. Each of these endings is distinguished from the nominative singular by its long mark.

The neuter endings differ from the masculine/feminine endings in half of their forms: the nominative/accusative singular (-û), the dative singular (-û) and the nominative/accusative plural (-ua).

Finally, only a few nouns in this declension are feminine (e.g. manus, domus). Fourth declension consists primarily of masculine nouns, and some neuter.

B. The Ablative of Separation

When the ablative is used without a preposition to denote separation of some sort (usually with verbs of lacking, freeing and depriving), the construction is called the "ablative of separation." It's best simply to note individual verbs which take the ablative of separation as we come across them in vocabulary and reading.


II. Vocabulary

fructus: In addition to its literal meaning "fruit," this word can also mean "enjoyment," e.g. the "fruits" of wisdom.

manus: This is one of the few fourth-declension words which is feminine. Just as in English, "hand" has many metaphorical uses in Latin. It can denote "a type of writing," "the power of a father at home," "artistic skill," and "one side of the body." From its several uses as a metaphor for military and aggressive action (cf. English "all hands on deck"), manus gained the sense of "band, troop of soldiers."

senatus: = sen- ("old") + -atus ("office, official body"); literally, "a governing body composed of old men."

versus: Literally "a turning," derived from the verb base vert- "turn." The word originally meant a "turning" of the plow (i.e. a furrow), hence "a row, a line of poetry."

contra: Takes an accusative object.

nec/neque: = ne "not" + -que "and." Just as with aut . . . aut and et . . . et, the first element in neque . . . neque is not specially marked as in English, "neither . . . nor." Nec is used most often before words beginning with a consonant.

careo: Takes an ablative of separation. Since it is intransitive (i.e. does not take a direct object), it does not have a (true) passive because there is no direct object in the active to become the subject in the passive. Therefore, the future active participle cariturus is substituted for the missing perfect passive participle.


III. Sentences

Practice and Review

5. Here, longus has the sense of "protracted."

9. Be careful to discriminate among the various -ium endings seen in this sentence. You must know which declension each of the three words with an -ium ending comes from in order to translate them properly.


IV. Review of Pronouns

Click here for a self-check review sheet on the use of pronouns in Latin.

 

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