Home/Index of Chapters
©Damen, 2015


Chapter 34

RULE 1: Deponent verbs are passive in form but active in meaning (and expectation), with the following exceptions:

1) Active forms with active meanings:
  a) present active participle, e.g. loquens "speaking";
  b) future active participle (and infinitive), e.g. locuturus (esse) "(to be) about to speak."
2) Passive form with passive meaning: future passive participle, e.g. loquendus "to be spoken."

RULE 2: The present imperative singular of deponent verbs ends -re (singular) and -mini (plural).

RULE 3: Semi-deponents have active present-stem forms but deponent perfect-stem forms.

RULE 4: Utor takes an ablative object, as do fruor ("enjoy"), fungor ("perform"), potior ("acquire") and vescor ("eat").

I. Grammar

Deponents are very simple in theory—they are "passive in form but active in meaning (and expectation!)"—but in practice they pose many problems.

The good news is that there are almost no new verb forms to learn in this chapter and the "deponent" verbs introduced here have only half the number of forms that regular verbs do because they exhibit only the "passive" voice, which means there's just that much less to memorize.

The bad news is that deponents appear to bend a rule hitherto inviolable, that passive and active verb-forms are discrete. Moreover, though deponents are passive-looking, they take direct objects.

Participles. Because the Latin verb system is missing certain participles, deponents manifest forms which strictly they shouldn't: the present active participle (e.g. sequens, "following") and the future active participle (secuturus, "about/going to follow"). Also, one of the deponent participles is a true passive, the future passive participle (sequendus, "to be followed").

Imperatives. The present imperative endings of deponents are -re (singular; e.g. sequere, "follow!") and -mini (plural; sequimini, "follow!").

Semi-Deponents. Semi-deponent verbs have regular (active) forms in the present system, but deponent forms in the perfect. The only semi-deponent introduced thus far is audeo.

Click here for a worksheet on deponents.

A. Reading and Recitation

Here is a link to the Reading for this chapter, a passage from Juvenal's Satires.

II. Vocabulary

nascor: Corresponding to a passive form in English ("be born"), nascor comes from a common Indo-European base *gn- signifying birth or production (Greek genesis ["beginning"]; English kin; Latin gigno ["beget, create"]).

patior: In its sense "permit" (see Practice & Review, sentence 5), patior can take an accusative plus an infinitive . It has many important English derivatives, e.g. patience ("suffering") and passion ("suffering; later, the agony associated with love").

utor: Takes an ablative object. Latin has four other deponent verbs which take ablative objects, listed above in Rule 4 (cf. Wheelock, page 164, note 5). You should know all five, but in this class only utor will appear on tests.

egredior: = ex- + gradior ( "step, go"). The base verb gradior, gradi, gressus sum combines with prefixes to create quite a few Latin verbs: regredior, ingredior, progredior, congredior, etc.


Home/Index of Chapters


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.