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the verb possum

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:11 pm
by spqr
Do any of the members know where I can obtain a full paradigm of this verb in English? I was looking at this verb's conjugation in 501 Latin Verbs and I realized I could not come up with any equivalent translations for many of the tenses which made any sense. Thanks, Paul.

Re: the verb possum

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:03 pm
by Craig_Thomas
"Can" is a defective English verb, so we have to use the form "am able" for some tenses.

Present: I can, am able
Future: I will be able
Imperfect: I could, was able, used to be able, etc.
Perfect: I could, was able, have been able
Future perfect: I will have been able
Pluperfect: I had been able

Re: the verb possum

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:39 pm
by calvinist
Hey Paul, you'll find that learning Latin will go along way toward "improving" your English. Since we are forced (at least initially) to understand Latin through English eyes your English grammar will be forced to keep up with the Latin you're learning. I remember coming across this exact same oddity with the English verb can while conjugating possum throughout the tenses. This is one of the great benefits of studying Latin.

Re: the verb possum

Posted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:53 pm
by spqr
Yes, calvinist I quite agree with you on that and indeed it is something I noticed early on in my Latin studies. One oddity that I still struggle with is the flexible word order which many people attribute to the inflected language. But German is an inflected language but there are strict rules for word order in that language. Also, unlike Latin where the pronoun cn be dropped because the verb has all pertinent information in the conjugational ending of the verb, it is considered bad form in German to drop the pronoun. For example it is always Ich spreche( I speak) never just spreche. I am afraid my previous study of german is still coloring( but not always negatively) my study of Latin.