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Glossary of Grammatical Terms

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


- A -

Ablative
One of the six recognized cases in Latin.  The ablative case signifies that a noun is either the object of a preposition that takes the ablative case, or is being used in one of several adverbial usages which students of Latin must simply learn.
Ablative Absolute
This is a real killer construction. It's very efficient, and it's used all the time in real Latin. It consists of a noun or pronoun in the ablative case with a participle agreeing with it. So much for why it's called ablative. It's called absolute because none of the words are tied directly into the grammar of the main clause of the sentence. In English, we have something we call a nominative absolute. Like this: The door being open, all the flies were coming in. Here's a simple one in Latin: His verbis ab orator dictis, omnes se contulerunt, with these words having been said by the orator, everyone departed. Still confused? Get more help in my notes at Wheelock Chapter 24, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorials for Chaper 24.
Ablative of Cause
An example may be more useful than a definition that merely rephrases the name. In hac urbe, multi cupiditate pecuniae novas res petebant, in this city, many were anxious for revolution because of the desire of money.
Ablative of Description
We sometimes see the ablative case used to describe something. Like, Hoc erat monstrum magn magnitudine, it was a monster in or of huge size.
Ablative of Degree of Difference
Here's another instance of a use of the ablative case which is nearly perfectly explained by its name. There are two ways to show comparison between two things. One is with the adverb quam, and another is to put the thing something is being compared to in the ablative case. So for the sentence This city is bigger than that city, Latin could write either Haec urbs maior est quam illa urbs, or Haec urbs maior est ill urbe.  Latin can also put a word into the ablative case to specify by how much something possess a quality. Like this: paul post, after by a little.
Ablative of Manner
If Latin wants to indicate the way in which an action is performed, it can use either an adverb, or a word in the ablative case with the preposition cum.   The preposition is somewhat optional in this construction, however. When the word isn't modified by an adjective, cum is always used. But if it is modified, the cum is optional. Study these examples: Caesar Galliam cum virtute vicit, Caesar conquered Gaul with courage (or courageously); Caesar Galliam magn cum virtute vicit or Caesar Galliam magn virtute vicit, Caesar conquered Gaul with great courage.
Ablative of Means
The means by which an action is accomplished in indicated by the ablative case: Caesar omnem Galliam exercitu vicit, Caesar conquered all of Gaul with his army.
Ablative of Respect
Latin can put a noun into the ablative case to indicate in what respect a statement is true, or to specify something about another noun. Caesar virtute praeerat, Caesar excelled in virtue. Rex quidam, Cepheus nomine, hoc regnum illo tempore obtinebat, a king, Cepheus by name, held the kingdom at that time.
Ablative of Separation
Usually Latin expresses motion away from something with one of the prepositions ab, ex, de plus the ablative case. But if the idea of separation is strongly implied in the verb itself, then Latin can, and typically does, omit the preposition. This is called the ablative of separation. Caesar nos timore liberavit, Caesar freed us from free.
Ablative of Time
A word denoting a unit of time can be put into the ablative case to indicate the time at which, or within which a certain act takes place. Like this: Caesar paucis horis ad urbem pervnit, Caesar arrived at the city within a few hours; or Caesar di edem ad urbem pervnit, Caesar arrived at the city on the same day.
Absolute (in Degrees of Adjectives)
The comparative and superlative forms of adjectives and adverbs can be used without direct reference to anything else. We call this the absolute use, and find different ways to translate them. For the comparative, we'd say rather instead of more. For the superlative, we'd say very, instead of most. So here, if the adjective fortior being used absolutely, you'll translate it as rather brave, instead of braver. Fortissimus used absolutely would be very brave, instead of most brave.
Accusative
One of the six cases in Latin.  Nouns in the accusative case will be the direct object of a preposition, the direct object of a verb, or the subject of an infinitive in indirect statement.
Accusative of Duration of Time
One of the time expressions in Latin. It indicates the length of time over which a certain action took, is taking, or will take place. Multos annos Caesar in Galli erat, Caesar was in Gaul for many years.
Active
See Voice.
Adjective
A word that qualifies a noun. Its etymology--thrown (iacio) and near (ad)--isn't a particularly useful guide to its meaning, other than indicating that adjectives are typically near the nouns they qualify. Blue skies, tall building. Adjectives can be in the positive, comparative, or superlative degrees. For more talk about this, see my Wheelock notes, Chapters 26 and 27, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorials for Chaper 26 and 27.
Adverb
A word that qualifies a verb or an adjective. A common formation of adverbs in English is an -ly suffix added to an adjective. True = truly; helpful = helpfully. In Latin, adjectives become adverbs by adding suffixes to the adjective in the positive, comparative, or superlative degrees. For more info, see my Wheelock notes, Chapter 32, or listen to the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorials, Chaper 32.
Agglutinative
One of the three broad categories into which languages are divided: the other two being Isolating and Inflectional. An agglutinative language is marked by a tendency to express grammatical relations by a prefix or a suffix, but the sounds of these affixes are always clearly distinguishable from the words they're modifying. For example, the English word thought can be modified by the suffix less and ness, sounds that have no meaning independent of their use as affixes: thoughtless or thoughtlessness. Though English has features of aggultination, it is primarily and Isolating language.
Agreement
This word, and the verb agree, refers to grammatical corelation of related words. That is, in many constructions, the properties of one word has to be reflected in another word. For example, adjectives have to agree with the nouns they're modifying by taking on the number, gender, and case of the nouns: Video equum celerem, I see the swift horse A verb has to agree with its subject in person and number: Haec puellae ad urbem pervenerunt, these girls arrived at the city. A pronoun has to agree with its antecedent in number and gender: Haec urbs, quam Caesar cepit, parva erat, this city, which Caesar captured, was small.
Alphabet
A system of symbols that attempts a complete acoustic map of speech, where each letter should represent one particular sound. Obviously, modern alphabets fall considerably short of the mark, but the international phonetic alphabet, a creation of linguistic professors, comes close. An alphabet is different from other methods of recording language, such as a syllabary--f y kn rd ths, yr rdng sllbry. The Latin alphabet (really a modification of the Greek alphabet) is the one most western languages use today.
Allomorph
An alien being from another planet: allo from the Greek word other and morph from the Greek word meaning shape or form: Even the President was unaware of the extent of the conspiracy to conceal the allomorphs recovered at the Roswell crash site. For more on allomorphs, see the Art Bell WebSite.
Antecedent
From the Latin words cedo meaning to come and ante meaning before. An antecedent is a word or idea to which a pronoun is referring. For example: Betty is a friend of mine. We all like her. In the second sentence, the word her is referring you to Betty which came in the first sentence. Hence we can say that Betty is the antecedent of her. More help on this is in my stuff: notes for Chapter 9 and Chapter 17.
Anticipatory Clause
The subjunctive can be used in subordinate clauses that express something that is expected or anticipated: Expectabam dum frater rediret, I was waiting until my brother should return.
Apposition
From ad, near and positus, placed. It describes the construction in which one noun is placed next to another so as to modify it. George, a friend of mine, is going to meet us at the theater. Friend is in apposition to (or with) George. In Latin, the word in apposition will take on the same case as the word it's next to: Videsne Brutum, amicum Caesaris, do you see Brutus, the friend of Caesar?
Auxiliary Verb
In English, our verbs get helped along by all kinds of little words that change the verb's tense, mood and voice. These are called auxiliary or helping verbs. Like this he will be seen. Latin doesn't do this. All its helpers are attached to the end of the verb. The English example in Latin is videbitur, where vide- is the verb, and bi and tur are helpers.
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- B -

Back Formation
A term used by linguistic pedants to conceal the fact that they have absolutely no idea how a word got to look the way it does. Another expression used for the same purpose is by analogy: The ablative plural is manibus, by analogy to the third declension.
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- C -

Case
A grammatical role or function a noun, adjective, or pronoun (or any word acting as a noun, adjective or pronoun) plays in a sentence. Latin and Greek indicate such roles principally by adding endings to the word, called case endings (duh!). By contrast, English indicates different case principally by position, though there still exist some case endings: e.g., Jerry's friend. Latin recognizes as many as seven such cases: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Ablative, Vocative, Locative. More stuff on case can be found in my notes to Wheelock Chapter 2, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorials for Chaper 2.
Clause
This is basically a subject and a verb, and whatever other helpful words that are related to them. You might think of a clause as a thought, like this tree is tall. That's a clause. Now a sentence can be made up of just one clause, like the example I just gave you. Or it can be made of several clauses. See the related topics Simple Sentence, Compound Sentence, Complex Sentence, Independent (or Main) Clause, Subordinate Clause, Coordinating Conjunction, Subordinating Conjunction.
Complex Sentence
A sentence with one or more subordinate clauses.
Compound Sentence
This is a sentence composed of more than one clause and whose clauses are given equal importance. The tree is tall and it's green. This could also be written in a way that abbreviates the second clause: The tree is tall and green. Clauses in compound sentences are linked together by what's called coordinating conjugations, such as and, but, or, nor, because they coordinate instead of subordinate clauses.
Conditional Sentence
A complex sentence consisting of a subordinate clause in which a condition is stated that affects the realization of the main clause. The subordinate clause is called the protasis (PHAH dah sis) and often contains the conjunction if or when, and the main clause is called the apodosis (ah PAH dah sis). Conditional sentences are classifiable into two large catagories depending on the nature of the condition stated in the protasis: Open or Simple Conditions, Unreal Conditions. More on this in the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorials for Chapter 33, or the online Grote's notes for Chapter 33.
Copulative Verb
See Linking Verb.
Cum Clause
A subordinate clause introduced by the conjunction cum can take a verb in the subjunctive mood: Cum haec intellegerent, ir commoti sunt, since they understood this, they were enraged. See my notes on Wheelock, Chapter 31 for more on cum clauses.
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- D -

Dative
One of the cases in Latin. Words in the dative case can often be translated into English with the preopositions to or for.
Dative After a Compound Verb
You're going to see the dative case after compound verbs (a verb that's formed from a stem verb and a prefix attached).  For example, occuro comes from preposition ob plus the verb curro, to run. We have curro, which means to run, turning into to run up to with the addition of the prefix ob. Hence it will be followed by the dative case. For more on this, listen to the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorials for Chapter 35, or the online Grote's notes for Chapter 35.
Dative of Possession
The verb sum is often coupled with a dative case to show possession. So we have, Filii duo ei erant, there were to him two sons, or he had two sons; Nomen mihi est Exiliens, my name is Skippy.
Dative of Purpose
A common idiomatic use of the dative is to indicate the purpose of something: Hunc librum dono misi, I sent this book as a gift; Haec pecuniam tibi auxilio erit, this money will be as a help to you (will be helpful to you). This last construction is an example of what's often called the double dative.
Dative with Special Verbs
This isn't really a grammatical catagory like the others; it's just a list of verbs in Latin that take the dative case which we English speakers strongly expect an accusative. That is, the Latin verbs are intransitive, whereas the English verbs are transitive. Here are some: placeo, please; displiceo, displease; servio, serve; confido, trust; ignosco, forgive; credo, believe; resisto, resist; studeo, study; impero, command; noceo, harm; pareo, obey; persuadeo, persuade; faveo, favor; parco, spare.
Declension
A pattern of case endings. There are five declensions in Latin.
Defective Verb
Some Latin verbs don't have all four principal parts. Like our verb can in English. It has no future, future perfect, pluperfect, or present perfect. The dictionary will list these verbs as best it can. Have a look at a couple of defective Latin verbs: coepi, coepisse, ceptus. This verb doesn't have a present system, so the dictionary just starts with the perfect tense (which is really its third principal part if it had had the first two), then the perfect infinitive, followed by the perfect passive participle. Another common occurrence is that a verb will lack the perfect passive participle. When this is the case, dictionaries will either put a blank when it would be, or will stick in the future active particple: fugio, -ere, fugi, -----, or fugio, -ere, fugi, fugiturus.
Demonstrative
A word that points to something: this, that, these, those, etc. Demonstratives can be used either as adjectives or as pronouns, that's why they're more properly called just demonstratives, and not demonstrative pronouns, or demostrative adjectives. Adjective: This car is blue; Pronoun: I don't like that. The main demonstratives in Latin are ille, hic, iste. Hie thee to my notes on Wheelock, Chapter 9 for more talk on this, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorial for Chaper 9.
Deponent
A word describing the phenomenon of a verb setting aside some or nearly all of its active forms and translating the remaining passive forms as if they were active. For example, the form miratur is morphologically passive, but because it comes from a deponent verb, it is translated as if it were active: he is wondering. Verbs that are deponent are so indicated by passive forms in the dictionary entry, where a non-deponent verb would have active forms. The verb above would be listed: miror, -ari, miratus sum. One feature of deponent verbs that beginning students must bear in mind is that their perfect participles are nearly always translated as if they were in the present tense. Hence, Caesar ad Galliam profectus copias magnas coegit, Caesar, setting out for Gaul, collected together a huge force.   For a  thrilling discussion on deponent verbs, see my online notes to Wheelock's fourth edition, Chapter 34, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorials for Chaper 34.
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- E -

(empty)
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- F -

Finite Verb
I don't know whether anyone else uses this term, but I use it to refer to a verb that has person (of which you can say first , second or third person). It helps distinguish them from forms that don't have person: infinitives, participles, and gerunds. So we say, In the sentence Caesar urbem capere non poterat, the verb poterat is the finite verb.
Future Active Participle
A participle formed from the fourth principal part of the verb + r + the first and second declension adjectival endings -us, -a, -um. It's hard to translate into English literally, but the formulas about to or going to can be used as stand-in's until the construction can be studied and a more felicitious translation found: laudaturus, about to praise. A note: the future active participle is one of the rare active forms in deponent verbs.
Future Passive Participle
A participle formed from the first principal part of the verb + nd + the first and second declension adjectival endings -us, -a, -um. It's hard to translate into English literally, but the formulas about to be or going to be can be used as stand-in's until the construction can be studied and a more felicitious translation found: laudandrus, about to be praised. A very common use of the future passive participle is in construction is know as the passive periphrastic.
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- G -

Genitive
One of the six cases in Latin. In addition to a few specialized uses which have to be studied separately, the genitive case very often shows possession, and therefore can be translated with our preposition of or the ending -'s.
Genitive of Description
The name practically tells you everything about this construction. The genitive case can be used like an adjective: equus magnae celeritatis, horse of great speed.
Genitive of the Whole
Also call the Partitive Genitive. Word that denote a part of something--words like much, many, some, a few, a part--can be followed by a dependent genitive, which names the whole of which it is a part. Latin is more fond of this constuction than English, so sometimes we have to change things to get passable English. For example, multi amicorum meorum in ea urbe habitant doesn't need any help: many of my friends live in that city. But Caesar multum pecuniae non habuit does: Caesar didn't have much money not much of money.
Genitive (Subjective and Objective)
Let's look at two different expressions with possessives in English: (1) the cat's meow, (2), the song's performance. Grammatically, the words cat's and song's are both in the possessive (aka genitive) case, but there's a different kind of relationship each has to the nouns they're governing. In cat's meow, the word meow expresses a kind of action, and the cat is seen as performing the action. In the song's performance, the word  performance is also a kind of action, but here the song is seen as receiving the action of performance. So, in cat's meow, the word cat is genitive, but it's also the subject of the action implied in meow: a cat meows. And in the song's performance, the word song is the genitive, but it's also the object of the action implied in performance: a song is performed. So--we're almost done--we call the cat's meow an example of a subjective gentive, and we call the song's performance an example of an objective genitive. Brilliant, eh? In Latin, adventus Caesaris, the arrival of Caesar is a subjective genitive, and timor periculi, the fear of danger is an objective genitive. Are you wondering why you need to know this to study Latin? Good question. Sometimes the difference between a subjective and objective geniitive will be important in Latin. For example, if you want to say my fear in Latin, you've got to say the fear of me, right? And that can be either the fear that I have, or the fear that I inspire in others. The first one, because it's a subjective genitive, would be meus timor, where meus is from the possessive adjective meus, -a, -um. The second, because it's an objective genitive, would be timor mei, where mei is the genitive of the 1st person singular pronoun.
Gerund
A verbal noun. That is, a verb treated as if it were a noun. In English, there are two forms for gerunds. We can use the infinitive, as in To know me is to love me, and the stem + -ing, as in Seeing is believing. Latin uses the infinitive for the nominative case, and the first principal part + nd + 2nd declension, neuter endings for the other cases. The gerund is considered to be neuter in gender. The only help that's available is the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorials for Chaper 39.
Gerundive
A gerundive is an adjective. That's how you can keep it distinct from a gerund (above) which is a verbal noun. The gerundive is morphologically the future passive participle of the verb: the first principal part + nd + -us, -a, -um. One common use is the future passive periphrastic. Another is with the proposition ad to show purpose. And example of the latter is Ad urbes conservandas omnia paravit, he did everything to save the cities.
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- H -

Historical Present
Very often a story will refer to a past event in the present tense. This is to give the event some vividness that a past tense would lack. We do this in English frequently, when we say So I sezs to him, I sezs... instead of So I said to him, I said...
Hortatory or Jussive Subjunctive
One use of the subjunctive mood is to give a command, or inducement to do something in the first or third persons. (A command in the second person is usually given in the imperative mood.) Examples, Veniant, let them come; fugiamus, let's run away.
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- I -

Independent (or Main) Clause
This is clause in the sentence that conveys the principal idea. If you can take a clause as is out of a sentence, and make a whole sentence out of it without changing anything, then you what you have is an Independent (or Main) Clause. For example: George, who is a friend of mine, is on his way here. This is a complex sentence because it has a subordinate clause in it. The main clause is George...is on his way here. This can stand alone as a sentence, but the subordinate clause who is my friend can't.
Indirect Command
One of kind of noun clause is the indirect command. It's exactly what it sounds like, an orignal command that reported as the object of a verb. In English, an indirect command is verb often expressed by nothing more than an infinitive. Direct: Get lost. Indirect: I'm telling you to get lost. Latin expresses its indirect commands in a subordinate clause introduced by ut, for a positive command, or by ne, for a negative command. The verb is subjunctive. Like so: Caesar eis persuasit ut sibi pecuniam traderent, Caesar persuaded them to give him the money.
Indirect Question
A question that is reported as the object of another verb. In English, we have Where are you? as a direct question. In this sentence, I wonder where you are, the question is dependent on the main verb wonder. Hence we call the second instance of the question indirect. In Latin, the main verb of an indirect question is in the subjunctive mood: Direct: Quid mihi placet what do I like? Indirect: Scis quid mihi placeat, you know what I like. Click, don't walk, to Grote's notes, Chapter 30, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorial for Chaper 30.
Indirect Statment
A question that is reported as the object of another verb. Like this: The direct statement, Caesar is coming, become indirect as the object of a verb like I think or say or hear or believe. Any kind of a verb that connotes a mental or sensate activity. So in English, we could say I think that Caesar is coming, or we could omit the conjunction that and just say I think Caesar is coming. Very little is changed in the original direct statement when it becomes indirect. In Latin, by contrast, the subject nominative of the original statement becomes accusative, and the original main finite verb becomes an infinitive. So, keeping with the same example, Caesar venit becomes Puto Caesarem venire. For this reason, an indirect statement is sometimes referred to as an example of an accusative-infinitive construction. Note that there is no Latin word for our English that.   For further details--and there are a lot of them--see Grote's notes, Chapter 25, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorial for Chaper 25.
Infinitive
One of the verb forms that doesn't have person. This one is often translated with our English thingie to plus the meaning of the verb, but not always: Haec urbs capi non poterat, this city was not able to be destroyed or could not be destroyed.
Interrogative
It means asking a question. You'll hear this in expressions like interrogative pronoun and interrogative adjective. The former means a pronoun that asks a question, like quid, what? or quis, who? The latter means an adjective that asks a question, like qui homines, which men? or quae femina, which woman. More on this in Grote's notes Chapter 19, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorial for Chaper 19.
Intransitive
When the energy depicited in a verb doesn't affect anything but the subject itself--that is, when the verb has no direct object--we say that the verb is intransitive. That's because there's no transition of engery from a subject to an object. In English, sneeze is intransitive, but push is not. We say push--as in they're pushing the envelope--is a transitive verb. Beginning students of Latin experience some difficulty grasping this concept because most verbs in English can be used transitively or intransitively depending on the context. For example, we can say The bird is flying, (intransitive), but we can also say I'm flying a kite (transitive). Latin verb typically don't have this kind of dual possibility. They're either transitive or intransitive.
Imperfect Subjunctive
First principal + re + primary personal endings: laudaret.
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- J -

(empty)
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(empty)
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- L -

Labial
Referring to any sound made with the lips: the p and the b.
Locative Case
One of the six cases in Latin. This case is pretty rare, and it looks like other, more popular cases. It's the case a word is in when it's showing location (hence the name locative). You'll see only certain words in the locative case--obviously only words that connote place. Like humi (from humus), on the ground. Also the names of cities and small islands are used in the locative case to show place where, instead of what we'd expect: the preposition in plus the ablative case. See Place Constructions. More on this is available in the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorial for Chaper 37.
Linking Verb
Also called a copulative verb.(Don't look up copulative verb. You'll be sent right back here.) Verbs that link the subject directly to something in the predicate that modifies it are called linking verbs. When this happens, the thing out in the predicate is in the nominative case and is therefore called a predicate nominative. Caesar videtur esse bonus dux, Caesar seems to be a good leader. Invenite plurima in Grote's notes, Chapter 4 or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorial for Chaper 4.
Litotes
Pronounced lie TOE teez, this construction a way to affirms a postiive by denying the negative. In English, we can say not bad, when we mean good; not far when we mean nearby.
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- M -

Morphology
This isa bombastic term I use sometimes in weak moments when I get writer's block. It basically means form, and I'll use it to refer to the grammar of a word that contained in its form. So I'll say, the morphology of this word is passive, but we have to translate it as if it's active. Translation: if we look at the way the word is spelled, we see that it has a passive form, but we have to translate it as if it's active.
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- N -

Nominative
One of the six recognized cases in Latin. It's the form of the word that's used in referring to the word in class. For example, if the teacher asks What's the Latin word for 'tree,' the student should answer 'arbor,' which is the nominative case of the word. A word in the nominative is often the subject of a verb, but not always. A word in the nominative can be found in the predicate of the sentence, if it is referring to the subject. This use of the nominative is called the predicate nominative.
Noun
A word signifying a thing, place, idea, or an action that is being conceived of as an idea; tree, city, truth. See also Noun Clause.
Noun Clause
A clause that functions as a noun in a sentence by being the subject or object of a verb. Sometimes called an object clause. Dixit Caesarem ad urbem venturum esse. You'll often see noun clauses as the object of verbs of fearing: Vereor ne pecuniam omnem amittam, I'm afraid that I'll lose my money. Another common use of a noun clause is as a noun clause of fact: Accidit ut Ceasar in urbe esset, it happened that Caesar was in the city.
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- O -

Optative Subjunctive
This, somewhat rare, subjunctive is limited to certain stock invocations of something wished for. It's nearly always introduced by an adverb, like this: Utinam veniat! would that he would come or golly, I wish he'd come.
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- P -

Participle
An adjective derived from a verb. In the expression the singing nun, singing is derived from the verb to see, and here it's agreeing with nun. Participles perserve tense and voice from their verbal heritage. In the example above, the participle is present and active, since singing is something the nun does (active) and this quality is seen as an ongoing, continuous state (present). A verb can have as many as four participles: the future active and passive, the present active, and the perfect passive. Since they are adjectives, it follows that they will have to agree in number, gender, and case with the nouns they're modifying. Accordingly, participles will have to decline according to declensional patterns. Participle discussion can be found at Grote's notes to Wheelock, Chapter 23, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorial for Chaper 23.
Partitive Genitive
See Genitive of the Whole.
Passive
See Voice
Passive Periphrastic
This is a very common construction using the gerundive of the verb linked to the subject through a conjugated form of the verb sum. It's called periphrastic because it contains the additional sense of obligation or necessity that has to be periphrased in the English translation. Like this: Haec urbs conservanda est, this city is to be (ought to be, should be, must be, has to be) saved. More help on this at Grote's notes Chapter 24, and the RealAudio lesson for the same chapter.
Perfect Active System of Tenses
Verb tenses in Latin divided into three different systems, depending on which principal part of the verb they use in their formation. The perfect system active of tenses consists of the perfect, future perfect, and pluperfect in the active voice, and they are all formed from the third principal part of the verb.
Perfect Passive System of Tenses
Verb tenses in Latin divided into three different systems, depending on which principal part of the verb they use in their formation. The perfect passive system of tenses consists of the perfect, future perfect, and pluperfect in the passive voice, and they are all formed using the fourth principal part of the verb linked to the subject with a conjugated form the verb sum.
Perfect Subjunctive
Active: third principal part + eri + active primary personal endings. Passive: fourth principal part and the present subjunctive of sum: laudaverit; laudatus sit.
Person
In the patois of grammar, this means the position a being has relative to the speaker of a sentence. What? Like this: If a reference is being made to the speaker or to a group of people to speaker is identified with, we call that the first person. If a reference is being made to the speaker's direct audience, we call that second person. And if a reference is being made to the thing that the speaker is speaking about (and if it's not his audience), then we call that the third person. And there you have it. Have I (first person) explained it (third person) clearly enough to you (second person)?
Personal Pronoun
These are pronouns which also convey grammatical person: lst: ego, nos, etc.; 2nd, tu, vos, etc.; 3rd. is, ea, id, etc.
Place Constructions
In expressions of place where, to which, and from which, when you have the names of cities and towns or with the word domus, Latin doesn't use the prepositions we'd expect. Place where is the locative case. Place to which is simply the accusative case of the name without the preposition ad. Place from which is the ablative case without the prepositions ex, de, ab, etc. Place where: Hercules Thebis (locative) habitabat, Hercules lived in or at Thebes. Place to which: Hercules Thebas rediit, Hercules returned to Thebes. Place from which: Hercules Thebis veniebat, Hercules was coming from Thebes. (Note that in these examples, the word for Thebes is plural because the noun in Latin is grammatically plural--Thebae, -arum--even though there's only one Thebes.)
Pluperfect Subjunctive
Active: third principal part + isse + active primary personal endings. Passive: fourth principal part and the imperfect subjunctive of sum: laudavisset; laudatus esset.
Predicate
The part of the sentence left over after you take the subject out. That is, the subject of a sentence is what you're talking about. The predicate is what you're saying about it. For example, in this sentence the subject group is underlined, and the predicate is in blue: The tree that's on the hill is a real monster. More help can be had in my notes to Wheelock Chapter 4, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorial for Chaper 4.
Predicate Nominative
When you have something in predicate that's directly referring to the subject, it'll be in the nominative case. That's what we mean by a predicate nominative. Here's one: Haec filia Claudia appellabatur, this girl was named Claudia. Do you see? Claudia is tied to the subject by the linking verb appellabatur.
Preposition
A word. Usually a little word. Its job is to link a word to the sentence often by showing how the word is physcially related to what's happening. Some examples in English will help: George is walking toward the city; Betty is with her friend Martha. You may think of prepositions as duct tape. They bind things together in all kinds of different ways. When you learn a preposition in Latin, you're going to have to take note of the case it takes its objects in. The dictionary will tell you in this way: de + abl. Do you see? This means that de is a preposition and that it takes its objects in the ablative case. Some prepositions take the ablative case, others take the accusative. There are even some that can take either. In these instances, the meaning of the preoposition changes slightly. For example in + abl. means in, as in place where. But in + acc. means into, as in motion into. By the way, they're called prepositions because most often they're placed (positum) before (pre) the word they're governing. Though sometimes they come after. One maddening thing about prepositions in general is that often Latin cases have meanings that we have to translate into English by using one of our prepositions, even though there's no preposition in the Latin. For example, the genitive of the word for girl in Latin is puellae. We'll have to translate this as of the girl.
Present Active Participle
A participle formed from the first principal part of the verb, with the third declension adjectival ending -ns, -ntis. It shows time contemporaneous with that of the main verb.
Present System of Tenses
Verb tenses in Latin divided into three different systems, depending on which principal part of the verb they use in their formation. The present system of tenses consistes of the present, future and imperfect and they are all formed from the first principal part of the verb.
Present Subjunctive
1st conjugation verbs: replace the thematic vowel with . 2nd, 3rd and 4th conjugation verbs: first principal part + + primary personal endings: laudet < laudo; moneat < moneo; duat < duco; capiat < capio; veniat < venio.
Primary Sequence
This is one of the categories of the rules of the Sequence of Tenses. If the main verb of a sentence is in a primary tense (present, future, or a   perfect that can be translated with the auxiliary have), then any subordinate subjunctives in the sentence must be in one of these three tenses: present, to show time contemporaneous with or subsequent to that of the main verb, perfect, to show time prior to that of the main verb, or a periphrastic future (the future active participle plus the present subjunctive of the verb sum) to show time subsequent. Get more help in my notes at Wheelock Chapter 31, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorials for Chaper 31.
Principal Parts
The building blocks of verbs. They are the stems or roots of all the tenses of a verb. Typically a verb will have four principal parts, unless it's a defective or deponent verb. The first principal part is the stem for the present system of tenses active and passive, the second principal is there to give you more information about the first principal part (namely to indentify the stem vowel and hence its conjugation), the third principal part is the stem of the perfect system active, and the fourth principal part is use as the participle in the perfect system passive.
Pronoun
A word that stands in for (pro) a noun. Like this: Everybody knows Betty. She's very popular.
Proper Noun
I'm not sure what this means. I think it means a personal name. Like Bob. The word proper probably comes from the French propre which means one's own. So not all boys can be called Bob. Only those boys whose propre name is Bob. If this isn't right, please contact me immediately: dagrote@email.uncc.edu.
Proviso Clause
The conjunctions dum, modo, and dummodo, when they mean provided that or if only, take the subjunctive mood: Urbs salva erit, dum tu exeas, the city will be safe provided that you leave.
Purpose Clause
A subordinate clause that indicate the purpose for which the action of the main clause is undertaken is called a purpose, or final, clause: Haec dixit, ut (ne) veritatem sciretis, he said these things so that you would (not) know the truth.
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Question
Don't be stupid, Larry. You really don't know what a question is? Okay, here goes. It's a sentence that seeks information. In English, we can make questions by using interrogatives or auxiliary verbs or sometimes both: What is wrong with you?, Are you coming? Whom do you see? Since Latin doesn't have auxiliaries like us, it mostly used interrogatives. Quid novi? Venisne? Quem vides?
Qun Clause
This is always hard for beginning, and even intermediate students, to grasp. The conjunction qun means but that, and since no one goes around saying but that anymore, it's not a terribly helpful definition.  Qun is often used to link a negatived main clause, usually expressing a doubt, with a subordinate clause. The verb in the subordinate clause is subjunctive. Like so: Non dubium quin Caesar fortis sit, there is no doubt that Caesar is brave.
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Relative Clause
A subordinate clause introduced by a relative pronoun. Relative clauses modify something, called the antecedent,  in the main clause of the sentence in the way an adjective would. Hence a relative clause is sometimes referred to as an adjective clause. Puellam vidi, quae ad urbem nostram pervenit, I saw the girl who had arrived at our city. The mystery of relative clauses revealed at Grote's notes, Chapter 17, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorial for Chaper 17.
Relative Clause of Characteristic
When a relative clause is modifying an antecedent that is indefinite, or when the relative clause is stating something hypothetical or conditional about its antecedent, its verb is in the subjunctive: Nemo est qui haec faciat, there is no one who would do these things.
Relative Clause of Purpose
A common use of the relative clause is to show purpose. In this usage, the verb is in the subjunctive mood, and the best way to translate it into English is with an infinitive: Legatos Caesar misit, qui haec nuntiarent, Caesar sent messengers who would announce these things or better to announce these things.
Result Clause
A subordinate clause that indicate the result of something expressed in the main clause is called a result, or consecutive, clause: Tant cum celeritate cucurrit, ut amicum sequeretur, he ran with such great speed that he caught up with his friend. Tant cum celeritate cucurrit, ut nemo eum sequeretur, he ran with such great speed that no one caught up with him.
Resumptive Relative
The Latin relative pronoun often stands at the beginning of a sentence and refers to something in the preceeding sentence, or it may refer to the whole sentence as its antecedent. We call this use of the relative pronoun the resumptive relative because it resumes the line of thought from the last sentence. Did you get that, Larry? resumes, resumptive? You can translate it either as it is, which drives English purists out of their minds, or you can replace the relative with its equivalent of the demonstrative. Example: Quae cum dixisset..., when he had said which things, or when he had said these things (haec).
 
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Secondary Sequence
This is one of the categories of the rules of the Sequence of Tenses. If the main verb of a sentence is in a secondary tense (perfect, future perfect, or a  pluperfect), then any subordinate subjunctives in the sentence must be in one of these three tenses: imperfect, to show time contemporaneous with or subsequent to that of the main verb, pluperfect, to show time prior to that of the main verb, or a periphrastic future (the future active participle plus the imperfect subjunctive of the verb sum) to show time subsequent. Get more help in my notes at Wheelock Chapter 31, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorials for Chaper 31.
Sequence of Tenses
The dirty little secret about the subjunctive mood is that it doesn't allow verbs to show absolute tense. Instead, verbs in the subjunctive mood indicate only aspect of action: whether the action is conceived of as a progressive act, or whether it is conceived as a complete act. That may seem like nothing but cheap metaphysics, but it has some real consequences in Latin grammar. Verbs in subordinate clauses that required the subjunctive show action relative to the time of the main verb of the sentence: either before it, after it, or contemporaneous with it. You'll want to go to my Wheelock, notes on Chapter 30 or listen to the RealAudio lesson for Chapter 30 for more on this, but in summary the sequence of tense are the rules that state the tenses that are permissable in subordinate subjunctives and what temporal relationship they indicate. See Primary and Secondary Sequence.
Simple or Open Conditions
When there is no expression of doubt implied as to the fulfillment of a condition stated in the protasis of a conditional statement, we call the condition simple or open. The mood of the verbs in such protases is always indicative, and the mood of the verb in the apodosis is also most often indicative, although it's not always necessary. One further thing, a future simple or open condition often goes by the special name future more vivid. Get more help in my notes at Wheelock Chapter 33, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorials for Chaper 33.
Simple Sentence
This is a sentence consisting of only one clause. The river is wide is a simple sentence. See Clause for more stuff.
Subject
Sentences can be thought of as a subject (what you're talking about) and a predicate (what you're saying about it). Usually the subject will be the thing performing the action of the finite verb, or will be receiving the action of the verb if the verb is passive. In the sentence George talks too much, George is the subject of the sentence, and the subject of the finite verb talks. In Latin, the subject of a verb will be in the nominative case.
Subjunctive Mood
One of the ways a Latin verb may appear is the subjunctive mood or mode. The word subjunctive gives some indication as to the use of the subjunctive mood: sub, under, and junctive from the Latin verb iungo, which means join. The subjunctive mood is called the under joined mood, because most of its uses are in subordinate clauses. The hard thing for us to get used to is that the subjunctive mood doesn't really mean anything in itself. The subjunctive mood is simply feature of Latin syntax for which we have to find English equivalents. This means that to become comfortable with this mood, we have to learn (1) to recognize the form when we see it, and (2) to study the different constructions in which it appears in Latin. Learning the forms is a matter of elementary grammar. You can find help in my Wheelock notes for Chapters 28, 29, and 30. Learning the constructions is harder, and that takes lots of reading experience. The main uses of the subjunctive in Latin are: Anticipatory Clause, Clause of Fear, Conditional Sentence, Cum Clause, Hortatory or Jussive, Indirect Question, Optative,   Proviso Clause, Purpose Clause, Qun Clause, Result Clause, Relative Clause of Characteristic. Related to these constructions are the rules known as the Sequence of Tenses. Good luck!
Subordinating Conjunction
This is a word that joins (conjunction) two clauses in a way that attributes a supporting role to the clause it's in. Like this: After it rained, many mushrooms were found in the forest. See there. The most important idea is mushrooms were found in the forest,the after clause tells you a little something more about it. Some other subordinating conjunctions in English are: although, as if, because, if, when, while.
Subordinate Clause
This is a clause that's a dependent part of a complex sentence. They are usually introducted by a subordinating conjunction, and can't stand by themselves as a sentence if taken out. For example, George, who is a friend of mine, is on his way here. This is a complex sentence because it has a subordinate clause in it. The main clause is George...is on his way here. This can stand alone as a sentence, but the subordinate clause who is my friend can't.
Subordinate Clause in Indirect Statement
Briefly stated, all subordinate clauses within indirect statement have their verbs in the subjunctive mood. The subjunctive observes the sequence of tense that is set, not by the main verb of the indirect statement, but by the main verb of the sentence. Study these examples: Dixit virum quem vidisses inimicum esse, he said that the man whom you saw was an enemy. Dicit virum quem videris inimicum esse, he says that the man whom you saw is an enemy. Things get much more interesting when you're talking about conditional sentence that are put into indirect statement. In a conditional sentence the apodosis is the main clause, so that's what becomes accusative-infinitive. The protasis, however, is a subordinate clause, and that always becomes subjunctive in indirect statement, even if it was originally an indicative. Like so. Direct: si hoc dicit, vertatem scis; Indirect: Caesar putat, si hoc dicat, te veritatem scire. See that? Now for something really hair-raising. Suppose the original statement had been a present contrary to fact, in which you have an imperfect subjunctive in the protasis and the apodosis, and you want to report it as indirect statement. You'd end up with this: Caesar putat, si hoc dicat, te veritatem scire. What? Why not use the imperfect subjunctive in the protasis, you ask? Because it violates the sequence of tense! After a present tense, putat, all subsequent subordinate subjunctives will follow the primary sequence of tense, and the imperfect subjunctive isn't allowed. In summary, then, often the original nature of a condition will be masked when it's put into indirect statement. There you go.
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Transitive
If a verb trakes a direct object, it's called a transitive verb. This means that there's a movement of engery from a subject, through the verb, and onto an object which it directly affects. That's why we use the words trans (across) and it (from the verb eo, to go). There's a transition of energy. What makes this concept a little difficult to grasp for English speaking students is that English verbs nearly always be used both intransitively and transitively. Consider. You can run an engine (transitive) or you can run in the park (intransitive). Latin verbs don't usually have this capacity: they're either transitive by nature, or intransitive.
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Unreal or Contrary to Fact Conditions
When there is doubt expressed as to the fulfillment of a condition stated in the protasis of conditional statement, you have an unreal condition. The mood of the verb in the protasis of unreal conditions is always subjunctive; the verb in the apodosis is also subjunctive. Most of the time, these conditions are best known by names that specify the time of the conditions. A future unreal condition is called a future less vivid: Si hoc dicat, veritatem scias, if he were to (or should) say this, you would know the truth. A present unreal condition is called a present contrary to fact: Si hoc diceret, veritatem scires, if he were saying this, you would know the truth. A past unreal condition is called a past contrary to fact: Si hoc dixisset, veritatem scivisses, if he had said this, you would have known the truth. Get more help in my notes at Wheelock Chapter 33, or the RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorials for Chaper 33.
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Verbs of Fearing
Verbs that indicate fear or some kind of warning are followed by a object or noun clause, which amounts to little more than a subjunctive clause introduced by ut or n. What makes the noun clause interesting after a verb of fearing is that the ut's and the n's are used in a way that completely inverts our English expectations. In English we say I'm afraid that he'll come, or I'm afraid he won't come. Latin would translate the first Vereor ne veniat, and the second Vereor ut veniat. (Ite cogitate, go figure!) Listen to Grote's RealAudio lesson for Wheelock's Self-Tutorial for Chaper 40.
Vocative
One of the six cases in Latin. It's the form a word has when it's being directly addressed, as in Ave, Caesar, hail Caesar. It had nearly disappeared as an identifiable form of the noun by the classical period, being almost always the same as the nominative case of the noun. The only place it differs is in nouns of the second declension whose nominative ends in -us: Et tu, Brute, You too, Brutus?
Voice
A term used to describe the relationship between a subject of a verb and the action of the verb. In Latin, there are two voices that are recognized by the verb form. Either the subject is performing the action (active voice) or receiving the action (passive voice). Active: Romani Caesarem laudaverunt, the Romans praised Caesar. Passive: Caesar ab Romanis laudatus est, Caesar was praised by the Romans. The whole truth on voice is at Grote's notes, Chapter 18, and RealAudio lesson for the Self-Tutorials in the same chapter.
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(empty)
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Zenomorph
See allomorph.
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(empty)
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Revised: January 06, 2000.
Copyright 1999 by Dale Grote.
I'm giving this stuff out for free anyway. Don't annoy me off by stealing it and tryingto pass it off as your own.  All trademarks or product names mentioned herein--there' aren't any--are the property of their respective owners. (Got that, Larry!)
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