Latin/Participles Lesson 3

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Welcome back to Latin for Wikiversity!

This is the first new lesson since the course was migrated to Wikiversity several months back. This lesson will introduce the future active participle, and give a few examples of its use.

Future Active Participle[edit | edit source]

The future active participle is formed by adding the adjectival endings -ūrus, a, um to the stem of the 4th principal part (the perfect passive participle). So for example, the verb dō, dare, dedī, datus (1) will have datūrus, datūra, datūrum as the base form of the future participle. Datūrus can be translated “about to give, going to give.” Note that some verbs do not have a perfect passive participle, and sometimes in its place as 4th principle part the future active participle is given:

sum, esse, fuī, futūrus;
maneō, manēre, mānsī, mānsūrus.

This participle can then be declined like any 1st/2nd declension adjective if it is modifying a noun, and it may be used with a form of the being verb to give the sense of something that will shortly happen or is going to happen, or that is intended to happen soon. This construction is often used to convey a sense of immediacy or inevitability. It is used instead of the regular future tense in much the same way we say in English "going to" verb, "about to" verb, "intend to" verb or "need to" verb, even implying "very soon" with some sense of urgency. Participles, since they are not the main verb of the sentence, must show tense by relation to that main verb. In the sentence:

Dormitūrus eram,

the verb eram is past – “I was about to sleep.” This indicates a past state of looking forward to a near-future event of falling asleep, but the whole sequence is in the past now.

In addition to its use with the being verb, the future active participle is used to form the future active infinitive:

portatūrus esse = to be about to carry;
futūrus esse = to be about to be.

You may remember from the lessons on the infinitive the “accusative with infinitive” construction. This is a very common construction in Latin, much less so in English, and will need a series of lessons in the future to clarify it. A token example or two will be given below.

New Sentences[edit | edit source]

Latin English Notes
Avē, Caesar! Nōs moritūrī tē salutāmus. Hail Caesar. We (who are) about to die salute you.  
Gāius dictūrus Lūciam videt. Gaius, (who is) about to speak, sees Lucia.
Puella flētūra canem vīdit. The girl, (who was) about to cry, saw the dog. Tense of the participle is future, but it is relative to the tense of the main verb.
Moritūrus est! Fac aliquid! He is going to die! Do something!
Comēsūrī (esūrī) sumus. We are about to eat, We are going to eat.
Comēsūrī erant. They were about to eat. Tense of the participle is future, but it is relative to the tense of the main verb.
Mārcus dormītūrus est. Marcus is about to fall asleep, Marcus intends to/must sleep.
Paula hunc librum lectūra est. Paula is going to read this book.
Hanc epistulam missūrus sum. I am about to send this letter/ I must send this letter.
Quantus tremor est futūrus What great trembling there will be This and following phrases come from the medieval Latin hymn, Dies Irae, describing the final judgment and used in the traditional Requiem mass for the dead. The repetition of sounds in the short phrases with the future participle add to the feeling of immediacy and inevitability. For the complete text, link here: Dies Irae
Quandō Jūdex est ventūrus When the Judge will come
Quid sum miser tunc dictūrus? What am I, a wretched man, going to say then?
Quem patrōnum rogātūrus? What patron will I call upon?
Dīxit sē ventūrum esse. He said that he was going to (would) come. Note accusative with future infinitive construction; the tense is relative to the past tense of the main verb. Literally translated, “He said himself to be about to come”.
Spērō mē crās eum visūrum (visūram) esse. I hope that I will see him tomorrow. acc. w fut. inf. – literally translated, “I hope myself to be about to see him tomorrow.”

Next lesson will introduce the ablative absolute.