Latin/Imperfect Tense Lesson 3

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In this lesson we’ll continue studying verbs in the imperfect tense. We're using the “Present Tense 3” verbs in this lession. If you wish to review those lessons, they begin here: Verbs Present 3 Lesson 1 They include some irregular verbs, which largely have the same endings we’ve been seeing, and deponent verbs, which have different endings because their forms are identical to passive voice verbs. So, instead of:

Regular verb imperfect active endings
Latin ending English part Grammatical part
-bam “I” 1st person singular
-bās “you” 2nd person singular
-bat “he/she/it” 3rd person singular
-bāmus “we” 1st person plural
-bātis “you (all)” 2nd person plural
-bant “they” 3rd person plural

the deponent verbs will have these endings:

Deponent verb imperfect active endings
Latin ending English part Grammatical part
-bar “I” 1st person singular
-bāris “you” 2nd person singular
-bātur “he/she/it” 3rd person singular
-bāmur “we” 1st person plural
-bāminī “you (all)” 2nd person plural
-bantur “they” 3rd person plural

They are still active in meaning, just passive in form. All verbs need a connecting vowel between their stem from their 1st principal part, and the imperfect ending. It will be –ā- for 1st conjugation verbs, and –ē- for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th conjugations. Irregular verbs are unique, but most use –ē- as well.

Remember that the imperfect tense expresses habitual or ongoing action, so our standard translation is “was/were verb-ing” or “used to verb,” although in practicality some sentences sound much better with a simple past tense.

New Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

Latin English Audio (Classical) Notes
rēgnum, ī  kingdom
rēctus, a, um (adj.) honest, right, proper, straight
rēctē, adv. correctly, rightly; used with a verb of speaking to mean “to be right”
rēgō, rēgere, rēxī, rēctus, 3 direct, keep straight, rule, govern
vetō, vetāre, vetuī, vetitus, 1 forbid, prevent, reject, not allow
jūbeō (iubeō), jubēre, jussī, jussus, 2 order, command

New Sentences[edit | edit source]

Latin English Notes
Via rēcta erat. The road was straight.  
Rēx rēgnum rēctē diū rēgēbat. The king was governing the kingdom rightly for a long time.
Quantī cōnstābat? How much did it cost?
Cōnstābāmus. We were standing together.
Mārcus et Paula labōrāre nōlēbant. Marcus and Paula did not want to work.
Nōlēbam contendēre. I did not want to argue/contest.
Lūcia cafeam quam theam mālēbat. Lucia preferred coffee to tea.
Puella fīēbat fēmina. The girl was becoming a woman.
Gāius medicus fīēbat. Gaius became a doctor.
Multae rēs fīēbant. Many things were being done/happening.
Lūmina accendēbam. I was turning on the lights.
Ignem incendēbas / incendēbātis. You were lighting a fire.
Māter subrīdēbat. Mother was smiling.
Līberī crēscēbant et discēbant. The children were growing and learning.
Agricola frūmentum colēbat. The farmer was growing/cultivating grain.
Mārcus nummōs tollēbat. Marcus was picking up the coins.
Mīlitēs gladiōs pōnēbant. The soldiers were putting down their swords.
Sīc crēdēbāmus. We believed so.  
Nōn licēbat. It was not allowed.
Licēbat nōbīs lūdēre. We were allowed to play. Remember licet is used impersonally, with a dative.
Oportēbat tē domum īre.
Dēbēbas domum īre.
You were supposed to go home.
It behooved you to go home
It was necessary for you to go home.
You had to go home.
You should have gone home.
Remember oportet is used impersonally, with an accusative, but dēbeō is conjugated with the personal endings.
Pecūniam Lūciae dēbēbam. I owed Lucia money.
Oportēbat eōs eum adjuvāre (adiuvāre).
Dēbēbant eum adjuvāre (adiuvāre).
They had to help him.
They were obligated to help him.
Puer coquere cōnābātur. The boy was trying to cook.
Canēs nōs sequēbantur. The dogs were following us.
Tē sequēbāmur. We were following you.
Vir moriēbātur. The man was dying.
Mārcus eīs loquēbātur. Marcus was speaking to them.
Latīnē loquēbar. I was speaking in Latin.
Anglicē loquēbāris / loquēbāminī. You were speaking in English.
Pater rēctē dicēbat / loquēbātur. Father was right. ie, Father spoke correctly.
Gāius cultrō ūtēbātur. Gaius used a knife.
Caesar hoc sē nōn concedere dēbēre putābat. Caesar thought that he ought not to allow this. Another example of the accusative + infinitive for indirect statement, adapted from Book 1 of Caesar’s dē Bellō Gallicō. Literally, “Caesar thought himself to ought not to allow this.”
Lūcia sē rēctē loquī (dicere) putābat. Lucia thought that she (Lucia) was right. literally, “Lucia thought herself to speak correctly.”
Lūcia eam rēctē loquī (dicere) putābat. Lucia thought that she (the other woman) was right. Literally, “Lucia thought her to speak correctly.”

Practice[edit | edit source]

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