Latin/Adjectives 2 Lesson 4

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Salvēte omnēs! Welcome back to Latin for Wikiversity. Here you can peruse a new lesson in Latin, in a simple format. If you would like to catch up, you can find a directory of lessons, a classified vocabulary list, and Memrise courses at the links on the right.

This lesson we’ll continue studying Latin adjectives, including comparatives and superlatives that may be irregular or formed in an unusual way. We’ll also look at a few comparative and superlative adverbs, and have a “teaser” for a future lesson on participles.

New Grammar

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There are a few irregular comparatives and superlatives this lesson; some of them have no positive forms. Latin adverbs are commonly formed from adjectives: for example, the 1st/2nd declension adjective

līber, lībera, līberum = free; libere = freely; or

the 3rd declension adjective

fortis, e = brave; fortiter = bravely.

Many other adverbs are formed in this way, although it is not an absolute rule. Adverbs can have comparative and superlative degrees as well: the comparative is the same as the neuter (acc.) s. of the comparative adjective:

lātior, lātius (adj.) = wider; latius (adv.) = more widely.

The superlative adverb is formed by dropping the –us of the superlative adjective and adding –ē:

facillimus, a, um = easiest; facillimē (adv.) = most easily.

We're not going to give a large number of sentences with these adverbs, but they do crop up in general usage and it helps to know the basic principle.

Finally, a teaser for a future lesson: did you know that many verbs can act as adjectives? It is a verbal adjective called a participle, and Latin literature is full of them. We’ll look at two types of participles in this lesson, the present active participle and the perfect passive participle. If you’ve followed along you have seen some present active participles already:

ēsuriēns, ēsurientis = hungering, hungry; sitiēns, sitientis = thirsting, thirsty.

If derived from a first conjugation verb the ending is –āns, -antis:

pugnāns, pugnantis = fighting;

if derived from 2nd-4th conjugation verbs the ending is –ēns, -entis. These present active participles are declined like 3rd declension adjectives.

Perfect passive participles are the 4th principal part of regular verbs. You have seen a few of these used as adjectives:

praeteritus = having been gone past; rēctus = having been made straight; salsus = having been salted.

You’ll notice that these have a passive voice sense, and they are declined like 1st/2nd declension adjectives. But since they are also verbs, they can express action and take verbal modifiers. Much of advanced Latin involves learning to navigate around extensive participial phrases and clause constructions; we’ll keep sentences simple today!

New Vocabulary/ Irregular Adjective Comparisons

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Latin English Audio (Classical) Notes
miser, misera, miserum
miserior, miserius
miserrimus, a, um
more wretched
most wretched
other adjectives ending in –er in the nom. s. m also form their superlatives by adding –rimus;
ācer / ācrior / ācerrimus,
pulcher / pulchrior / pulcherrimus,
celer / celerior / celerrimus
comparatives are formed regularly
multus, a, um
plūs (neuter noun)
plūrimus, a, um
multī, ae, a
plūrēs, plūra
plūrimī, ae, a
very many
the following have comparative and superlative forms, but the positive form is not used
exterior outer
extrēmus outermost
īnferior lower
īmus or īnfimus lowest
interior inner
intimus innermost
posterior later
postrēmus last
prior former
prīmus first
superior higher
suprēmus or summus highest
ulterior farther
ultimus farthest

Other New Vocabulary

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Latin English Audio (Classical) Notes
lātus, a, um wide
ācer, ācris, ācre (3rd declension adj.) sharp, keen, bitter superlative in –rimus
dīligēns, dīligentis careful, diligent opposite is negligēns
ācriter (adv.) sharply, bitterly
lātē widely
dīligō, dīligere, dīlēxī, dīlēctus (3) love, value, care for

New Sentences

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Latin English Notes
Multās grātiās! Many thanks!
Multum vīnum bibit. He drinks much wine.
Multum est. It is important.
In multam noctem locūtī sumus. We talked late into the night.
Nōn multum dormit. He does not sleep much. (adv.)
Multī fortissimi virī mortuī sunt. Many very brave (mighty) men died.
Plūs aquae volō. I want more water. plūs is here a neuter singular noun, used with the genitive
Plūs minusvē. More or less. To show that the figure is approximate – of numbers in counting, even on grave markers for years.
Mīlitēs estis, et, quod plūs est, Rōmānī estis. You are soldiers, and what is more, you are Romans.
Lūcia plūs quam vīgintī annōs nata est. Lucia is more than twenty years old.
Paula plūrēs librōs quam Lūcia habet. Paula has more books than Lucia.
Volō plūra holera edere. I want to eat more vegetables.
Quid plūra? What more? Often used rhetorically when drawing conclusions; it implies, “what more is there to say?”
Plūrimī hominēs hoc faciunt. Most people (a great many people) do this.
Tū es ultimus Rōmānōrum. You are the last of the Romans. This is a nice compliment to pay someone who exemplifies the classic virtues of nobility, courage, and dedication to duty and country.
Gāius miserrimus erat. Gaius was very miserable.
Raeda Paulae celerrima est. Paula’s car is very fast.
Curre celerius! Run faster! (adv.)
Curre quam celerrime! Run as fast as possible! quam + a superlative adds the “as possible” meaning)
Mārcus quam plūrimum legit. Marcus reads as much as possible/ the most he can.
Parentēs līberōs dīligunt (amant). The parents love their children./ The parents are loving their children. In English we use the present participle to form the present progressive tense, but Latin present tense can express both meanings.
Parentēs dīligentēs sunt. They are loving (caring) parents. This is a present active participle; note it is an adjective here, not a verb.
Discipulus dīligēns erat. He was a careful/ diligent student.
Fēlēs dīligō. I love cats.
Dīlēcta mea pulcherrima est. My beloved is very beautiful. dīlēcta is a perfect passive participle of dīligō
Fāber dīligentissimus est. He is a very careful craftsman.
Lātissimum flūmen trānsivimus. We crossed a very wide river.
culter ācer/ īra ācris/ vīnum ācre a sharp knife/ sharp (sudden) anger/ bitter wine (vinegar)
Ācriter pugnant. They are fighting bitterly.
Mīlitēs, ācriter pugnantēs, hostēs vīcērunt. The soldiers, fighting bitterly, conquered the enemies.
superioribus temporibus in former times/ previously lit., in higher times
longē lātēque far and wide
datum / data something given/ things given Also from the perfect participle of , data we have our English word “date”, originally referring to the time when a letter or other document was given or dictated – e.g., data diē X Kalendārum Augustārum or July 23.
ā priorī from the earlier In philosophy, knowledge independent of experience
ā posteriorī from the latter In philosophy, knowledge dependent on experience
in extrēmīs in extreme circumstances; at the point of death
summā cum laude with highest honor
Multum, nōn multa. Not many things, but much. Pliny Junior
In education, better to study deeply rather than gain shallow knowledge of many subjects. “Less is more.”


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Practice and learn the words and phrases in this lesson
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We hope this lesson has been clear and helpful for you. As always, if you have questions or comments, please leave a comment on the discuss page and we will try to respond. After studying adjectives, we will go back to verbs for a time for the next series of lessons. Bonam fortūnam et valēte!