Latin/Passive Voice Lesson 2
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Last lesson we introduced the passive voice in the present system of the indicative, that is, present, imperfect, and future tenses. This time we’ll focus on the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect tenses of the passive indicative, collectively known as the perfect system. We have already learned some deponent verbs, which have active meaning but passive forms; regular verbs are conjugated the same way in the passive. You can find the lesson with deponent verbs in the perfect tenses here.
The 4th principal part of regular verbs is necessary for the perfect system passive. You may also want to check out the Memrise course for the principal parts, linked at the top of the lesson, because frequently there is considerable difference between the first and the fourth, and typically requires some memory work. The 4th principal part is also known as the perfect passive participle (henceforth referred to as “PPP”.)
Datus, a, um, PPP of dō, as a participle, can act as an adjective that means “having been given/ given.” And it can be declined to match the noun it modifies. We will have another lesson in the future to deal with participles and participial phrases.
For our lesson today in expressing perfect passive, the PPP will agree with the subject of the sentence, whether that subject is expressed or not. So the possible endings are us, a, um/ ī, ae, a = nominative singular (m, f, n); nominative plural (m, f, n). Then, to form the perfect passive, the present tense forms of sum are added. (The pluperfect uses the imperfect forms of sum, and the future perfect uses the future forms, but these are much less frequent).
|frangō, frangere, frēgī, frāctus, 3||break, shatter|
|vōx, vōcis (f.)||voice, cry|
|Patinam frangō.||I break a dish.|
|Fenestram frēgistī.||You have broken the window.|
|Patinae franguntur.||The dishes are being broken.|
|Fenestra frācta est.||The window has been (was) broken. (Either has/have or was is acceptable in English).|
|Os frāctum erat.||The bone had been broken.||Note that here we are using the imperfect for the helping verb, making this a pluperfect tense construction that requires “had” in English. However, it’s a little more confusing than that because PPPs can function as adjectives; sometimes you will see this translated with the simple past, and fractum est as “it is broken”. This is because the translator is viewing “fractum” as a predicate adjective. This is not wrong, it’s just like two sides of the coin. But for our purposes, we will stick with the literal translation of the perfect passive tenses while we are learning them.|
|Liber Paulae datus est.||A book has been given (was given) to Paula.||We might in English say “Paula has been given a book,” but this might lead to confusion over the subject – which in Latin must be book. If Paula was given away to someone, that would most likely be bad for her.|
|Librī līberīs datī sunt.||Books were given to the children.|
|Mālum mātrī datum est.||An apple has been given to Mom.|
|Lūcia a Gāiō vīsa est.||Lucia was seen by Gaius.||a Gaiō is the ablative of agent; that is, Gaius is the living being who does the seeing.|
|Ab hostibus vīsī sumus.||We have been seen by the enemy/enemies.|
|Canēs laetī vīsī sunt.||The dogs seemed happy.||“were seen as”, here a linking verb|
|Mārcus gladiō occīsus est.||Marcus was killed with a sword.||gladio is the ablative of means; the sword is the non-living means/instrument of killing.|
|Pīlae a puerīs jactae sunt.||The balls were thrown by the boys.|
|Pānis cultrō sectus est.||The bread was cut with a knife.|
|Vestimenta lavāta sunt.||The clothes were washed.|
|Cibus coctus est.||The food has been cooked.|
|Ā magistrīs missī sumus.||We have been sent by the teachers.|
|Vīctus/a sum.||I was beaten/conquered.|
|Audītus/a es.||You have been heard.|
|Vōx tua audīta est.||Your voice has been heard.|
|Vōcēs tuae audītae erunt.||Your voices will have been heard.||Note here the use of the future tense of sum as helping verb, putting this in the future perfect tense.|
|Discipulī retentī sunt.||The students were kept back.|
|Dīmissī estis.||You have been dismissed/released.|
|Multa verba scripta sunt.||Many words have been written.|
|Dictum est.||It has been said.|
|Ālea jacta est.||The die has been cast.||Julius Caesar reportedly uttered these words after crossing the Rubicon river, thus putting himself in the irrevocable position of attempting to overthrow the Roman Republic.|
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As always, we appreciate the Latin learners who have gathered in this course and hope these lessons are helpful to you. We welcome your questions or comments on the discuss page. Valē et bonam fortūnam!