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Grammar question please.

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Grammar question please.

Postby elizabeth77 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:45 am

I know this query will probably be basic for many of you but it is one about which I have been unable to find a satisfactory explanation so far.
If in an exam.paper I am asked to give the , for example, Abl. pl of Gradus how do I know to which declension the 'us' ending belongs?
I gather it could be the 2nd, 3rd neuter, or 4th.

Thank you .
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby paulusnb » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:48 am

You can only know the declension of a noun if you know its genitive. This is always a giveaway. The genitive of gradus is gradus; therefore it is fourth.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. ~Swift
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby elizabeth77 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:57 am

Thanks Paul, that was what I had understood , but, indeed I have come across a paper in which just the nominative case is given. Best skip that question! Thanks for speedy reply.
Is there any chance you could give me or direct me to a simple explanation of 'stem'. I have Morwood grammar and for 2nd declension they say ''stems in 'O' example ''dominus''; then for 3rd declension ''stems in 'i' and the example is ''navis''. I have searched and searched for some way of understanding this and failed miserably.
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby paulusnb » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:08 am

The stem is from the genitive pl. I think the rule is to take off -um or -rum and that is the stem.

For example, the stem of navis is navi because navium - um = navi. The stem of puella is puella because puellarum - rum = puella. The stem of dominus is domino because dominorum - rum =domino.

Stem is just another way to talk about nouns.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. ~Swift
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby paulusnb » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:10 am

elizabeth77 wrote:Thanks Paul, that was what I had understood , but, indeed I have come across a paper in which just the nominative case is given. Best skip that question!


I am not sure what you mean. You have to remember the genitive. In order to complete a test or exercise with nouns, you must know the genitive, or look it up.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. ~Swift
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby elizabeth77 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:16 am

That is the first time I have had an explanation of where the stem comes from and for that many thanks. It has bugged me for ages.
Just to fill in the reason for my questions; I am a very senior citizen who for some weird reason has decided to sit my Leaving certificate this June in Latin. I started about 14 months ago and have help now and then from a Latin teacher. I do most of the study on my own and have just completed the required 500 lines of Virgil 2 and just hope in June to get a passage I recognise!! I like the Roman history, art and architecture aspects of the course but the grammar is a challenge. Thanks again , no doubt now I have found the site there will be more questions to ask.
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby Imber Ranae » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:33 am

elizabeth77 wrote:Thanks Paul, that was what I had understood , but, indeed I have come across a paper in which just the nominative case is given. Best skip that question! Thanks for speedy reply.


Well, I guess your teacher (professor?) just expects you to know that word as a vocabulary item. There is no such second declension noun as gradus,-i*, so gradus has to be fourth declension by necessity.

elizabeth77 wrote:Is there any chance you could give me or direct me to a simple explanation of 'stem'. I have Morwood grammar and for 2nd declension they say ''stems in 'O' example ''dominus''; then for 3rd declension ''stems in 'i' and the example is ''navis''. I have searched and searched for some way of understanding this and failed miserably.


Look at the declension paradigms and you'll notice the predominance of a certain vowel in each one. E.G.:

1st declension (A-stem):

-a -ae
-ae -ārum
-ae -īs
-am -ās
-ā -īs

[-īs was originally -ais]

2nd declension (O-stem)

-us -ī
-ī -ōrum
-ō -īs
-um -ōs
-ō -īs

[-us originally -ŏs; -um originally -ŏm; -ī originally -oi; -īs originally -ois]

3rd declension (I-stem)

-is -ēs
-is -ium
-ī -ibus
-em/im -ēs/īs
-ī -ibus

[-ēs originally -eis]

4th declension (U-stem)

-us -ūs
-ūs -uum
-ui -ibus/ubus
-um -ūs
-ū -ibus/ubus

5th declension (E-stems)

-ēs -ēs
-eī -ērum
-eī -ēbus
-em -ēs
-ē -ēbus


In most cases (no pun intended), those case endings which lack the thematic, or "stem", vowel originally did have it, but later sound changes have obscured the fact. E.g. amicus was originally amicos (with a short 'o') in the nominative, but eventually short 'o' at the end of a word changed to short 'u' by classical times, though in pre-Augustan Latin inscriptions words whose base ended in 'v' still maintained the 'o', e.g. servos is commonly found instead of servus. Most modern texts, including textbooks, conform to the post-Augustan convention, however.
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby loqu » Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:25 am

What about consonantic stems?
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby elizabeth77 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:28 pm

Imber thank you for taking the time to reply it is much appreciated.
I will expand a little on my original query.
In the exam. papers I am studying there is a part of a question which asks you to supply a particular case of a number of nouns.
Here are some of the nouns ending in 'us' which have appeared in papers over the past years. At first I thought maybe the gender was a hint but presumably those that are masculine could be either 2nd or 4th declension.
equus. hortus, exercitus, nuntius, equitatus, servus, scelus,portus, ludus.
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby adrianus » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:55 pm

Salve elizabeth77

Here are the fourth declension nouns by genders
Ecce nomina declinationis quartae per genus

Masculini generis: abactus, abigeatus, abitus, abortus, abscessus, abusus, accantus, accensus, accentus, accersitus, accessus, accitus, accubitus, accursus, actus, adactus, adauctus, adcessitus, adcessus, adcubitus, adcursus, adfatus, adfectus, adflatus, adflictus, adfrictus, adgestus, adgnitus, adgressus, adhaesus, adhortatus, aditus, adjectus, adlapsus, adlegatus, admonitus, admorsus, adnexus, adnotatus, adparatus, adpetitus, adplausus, adpositus, adpulsus, adscensus, adscitus, adsensus, adsessus, adspectus, adstipulatus, adsultus, adtactus, adtractus, adtrectatus, adtritus, advectus, adventus, advolatus, aemulatus, aestimatus, aestus, affatus, affectus, afflatus, afflictus, affrictus, aggestus, aggressus, agitatus, agnitus, allapsus, allegatus, ambecisus, ambitus, amfractus, amictus, amissus, ammonitus, ammorsus, amplexus, ancillatus, anfractus, angiportus, anhelitus, animatus, annexus, annotatus, antecessus, anticessus, antigradus, apparatus, appetitus, applausus, appositus, appulsus, apscessus, aquaeductus, arbitratus, arcessitus, arcus, armatus, arquus, artus, ascensus, ascitus, aspectus, aspersus, assensus, assessus, assultus, astipulatus, astus, attactus, attractus, attrectatus, attritus, auctus, auditus, auguratus, auscultatus, auspicatus, ausus, auxiliatus, balatus, barditus, baritus, barritus, basileus, beneficiatus, bimatus, boatus, bullitus, cacatus, caccitus, caculatus, caelibatus, caestus, caetus, calcatus, calceatus, calciatus, calcitratus, calefactus, candidatus, cantus, captus, cassus, castus, casus, census, centuriatus, centurionatus, certatus, cessus, cestus, cibatus, cinctus, circuitus, circumactus, circumductus, circumflexus, circumitus, circumjectus, circumplexus, circumspectus, citatus, coactus, coelibatus, coeptus, coetus, cogitatus, cognitus, coitus, collatus, collectus, collisus, comitatus, comitiatus, commeatus, commensus, commotus, communicatus, commutatus, comparatus, comperendinatus, complexus, comploratus, compressus, comptus, comtus, conatus, concentus, conceptus, concessus, conciliatus, concretus, concubinatus, concubitus, concursus, concussus, condiscipulatus, conditus, conexus, conflictus, congestus, congressus, conjectus, conjunctus, conlatus, conlectus, conlisus, connexus, conparatus, conperendinatus, conplexus, conploratus, conpressus, conquestus, consaeptus, consensus, conseptus, consessus, conspectus, conspiratus, consulatus, contactus, contemplatus, contemptus, contemtus, contextus, contractus, contuitus, contutus, conventus, convictus, coortus, cortus, crepitus, cruciatus, cubitus, cultus, curionatus, currus, cursus, decemviratus, decessus, declinatus, decoctus, decursus, deductus, defectus, deflexus, defluxus, defossus, dejectus, delapsus, delectus, delegatus, demersus, depectulatus, derelictus, derisus, descensus, despectus, despicatus, detractus, detritus, digressus, dilectus, discessus, discursus, dissensus, divisus, domesticatus, dominatus, ducatus, ductus, duumviratus, ecfatus, effatus, effectus, egressus, einlatus, ejectus, ejulatus, equitatus, esus, eventus, excessus, excursus, exemptus, exercitus, exitus, expertus, extensus, famulatus, fastus, ficus, flatus, fletus, flexus, flictus, fluctus, fremitus, fructus, gannitus, gannitusus, garritus, gelus, gemitus, gestus, gradus, granatus, gressus, grunnitus, gustatus, gustus, habitus, halitus, haustus, hiatus, hinnitus, ictus, impetus, impulsus, incessus, incolatus, incultus, incursus, indagatus, ingressus, initus, injussus, inlectus, inquilinatus, instinctus, instructus, intellectus, intercursus, interductus, interitus, interventus, introitus, irrisus, itus, jactus, Jesus, jussu, lacus, lapsus, latratus, latraus, luctus, lusus, luxus, lymphatus, magistratus, meatus, mercatus, metus, missus, monitus, morsus, motus, mugitus, municipatus, narratus, natus, neclectus, neglectus, nexus, nisus, nixus, nominatus, nutus, obitus, obtentus, obtutus, occasus, occursus, offensus, orsus, ortus, ostentus, partus, passus, pastus, patriciatus, peccatus, peculatus, pedatus, peditatus, pelicatus, percussus, perditus, permissus, planctus, plausus, ploratus, pontificatus, populatus, portus, positus, potentatus, potus, praemonitus, primatus, principatus, processus, procinctus, proconsulatus, procursus, profectus, progressus, prospectus, proventus, pruritus, pulsus, quaestus, quercus, questus, quinqueviratus, raptus, reatus, receptus, recessus, recursus, reditus, regressus, relatus, reptatus, respectus, rictus, risus, ritus, ructus, saltatus, saltus, secessus, secubitus, senatus, sensus, seviratus, sexus, singultus, sinus, situs, socrus, sonitus, sortitus, spiritus, status, stellionatus, stratus, strepitus, subortus, successus, suggestus, summatus, sumptus, suspiratus, suspiritus, tactus, textus, tinctus, tinnitus, tonitrus, tractatus, tractus, transcursus, transgressus, transitus, transpectus, tribunatus, triumviratus, tumultus, ululatus, usus, vagitus, venatus, verberatus, versus, vestitus, victus, visus, vocatus, volatus, voltus, vomitus, vultus, xviratus, trajectus

Feminini generis: acus, anus, caprificus, consocrus, cornus, cryptoporticus, cupressus, domus, Idus, manus, nurus, pinus, Quinquatrus, socrus, tribus

Communis generis: anguimanus, colus, penus, porticus

Neutrius generis: cornu, gelu, genu, pecu, testu, veru[/i]
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby Iulia » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:56 pm

To encapsulate the earlier responses, if you were required to furnish the genitive plural of 'equus,' exempli gratia, you would need to look up 'equus' in the dictionary. There, you will find its dictionary entry (which is first the nominative form, then the genitive ending, then the gender) as 'equus, -i, m.'

When you look at a declension chart, you will see that '-i' is the genitive singular ending in the 2nd declension. Therefore, you would apply the 2nd declension genitive plural ending '-orum' to 'equus' and get 'equorum.'

To furnish the genitive plural of 'exercitus,' you need to go through the same process -- When you look up 'exercitus' in the dictionary, however, you will see that its dictionary entry is 'exercitus -us m.' When you look at a declension chart, you will see that '-us' is the genitive singular ending in the 4th declension. Thus, you would apply the 4th declension genitive plural ending '-um' to 'exercitus' and get 'exercitum.'

This goes a long way to explaining why vocabulary is so important in Latin!
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby elizabeth77 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:58 pm

Once again I am most grateful for the trouble you are taking. Thank you Adrianus and Iulia.
My point about the nouns on the exam papers is that all the information we get is the nominative case!! No dictionaries. Nothing but the paper looking at you. :)
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby adrianus » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:32 pm

The exam is to test your knowledge of a set curriculum. Locate the curriculum of what's on the exam.
Examen habes ad scientiam tuam curriculi praedestinati probandam. Curriculum illarum rerum quae discenda sunt invenias.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby elizabeth77 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:07 pm

Adrianus , I know the curriculum; we have to learn the first 500 lines of Aeneid 2 and be able to translate a given passage and answer about 10 questions relating to it. There are 2 unseen passages to translate Virgil, Ovid or Livy. We get a section on Art , Architecture and need to cover the events of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Trajan. Then there is the grammar question divided into 3 sections.
a. To give a cited case of about 5 nouns.
b. Principle parts of some verbs
c. Scansion


Briefly that is the course.
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Re: Grammar question please.

Postby Imber Ranae » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:11 pm

Were you not given a vocabulary list to study for the exam, Elizabeth?
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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