Latin/Personal Pronouns Lesson 3

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Salvēte omnēs!

Welcome to all Latin learners! If you’re just joining us and want to catch up, the links you’ll need are on the right.

As always, if you want to skip grammar and jump to sample sentences, just skip down to the bottom section of this post. If you want to memorize vocabulary, the Memrise course might be your best option.

New Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

Latin English Audio (Classical) Notes
is he
ea she
id it
suī himself, herself, itself, themselves no nominative case; reflexive, refers to subject of sentence
suus, a, um his, her/ hers, its, their/theirs reflexive, refers to subject of sentence

New Grammar[edit | edit source]

Today we’ll continue learning the personal pronouns of Latin, with the singular side of the 3rd person pronouns. Since the 3rd person refers to the person or persons spoken about in a sentence, and since there are 3 genders and 5 cases in Latin, if you include both singular and plural there are 30 forms that need to be mastered for personal pronouns. There is some overlap, but still that’s a lot for one lesson. According to some grammar authorities, there is no official 3rd person pronoun in Latin, and what is used instead is actually one of the demonstrative pronouns, meaning “that” or “those”. In fact, this form is sometimes used in that way, as a demonstrative adjective or pronoun. So for example,

Eam puellam videō. = I see that girl.”

probably over time became

Eam videō. = I see that (female person)/her.”

In our introductory lessons we’ll keep these types of sentences to a minimum, but it’s only fair you should know that there is a broader use, and that many pronouns do double duty as adjectives. Here are the singular forms for 3rd person pronouns:

Third person pronouns
case masculine feminine neuter use
nominative is = he ea = she id = it Subject
genitive ejus = of him, his ejus = of her, hers ejus = of it, its Possessive
dative eī = to/for him eī = to/for her eī = to/for it Indirect object
accusative eum = him eam = her id = it Direct object, some objects of prep.
ablative eō = him eā = her eō = it Obj. of prepositions, esp. “in,by,with,from”

We use the letter j in the genitive but many purists do not; it represents that the i is used as a consonant here. Either is perfectly acceptable and I will try to reflect that in the Memrise course. Also note that this is not to be confused with the reflexive possessive adjective, taught below.

Reflexives: when a 3rd person pronoun is used reflexively (one of the objective cases refers to the subject of the sentence), we must use a special set of reflexive pronouns. Only one form in each case works for all genders and both singular and plural:

Reflexive pronouns
Case Latin English Audio Notes
Nominative no nominative case is used: a reflexive pronoun by definition refers back to the subject
Genitive sui of himself, of herself, of itself, of themselves
Dative sibi to/for himself, herself, itself, themselves
Accusative himself, herself, itself, themselves  
Ablative (by/with/from) himself, herself, itself, themselves  

Reflexive possessive adjective: used instead of “ejus” to refer to something belonging to the subject of the sentence:

Reflexive possessive adjective
Latin English Audio Notes
suus, a, um his (own), her (own), its (own), their (own)

This may seem like a lot of pronoun forms, and it is... but it allows finer distinctions in meaning than English, with fewer ambiguities. I’ll try to give some sentences that illustrate this.

New Sentences[edit | edit source]

Latin English Notes
Is eam videt. He sees her.
Ea eum videt. She sees him.
(Ei) id vident. They see it.
Gāius uxōrem suam videt. Gaius sees his (own) wife.
Gaius uxōrem ejus videt. Gaius sees his (that other guy’s) wife.
Paula sē in speculō videt. Paula sees herself in the mirror.
Paula eam in villā videt. Paula sees her (another woman) in the house.
Tū dē vītā ejus legis. You read about his/her life.
Dē fīliā suā audit. He hears about his (own) daughter.
(Ego) dē eō audiō. I hear about him/it.
Id habeō. I have it.
Mārcus pecūniam eī dat. Marcus gives money to him/her.
Māter chocolātum sibi dat. Mom gives chocolate to herself.
Ea grātiās eī agit. She thanks him/her (gives thanks to him/her).
Imperātor sē laudat. The emperor praises himself.
Imperātor eum laudat. The emperor praises him.
Lūcia eacum labōrat. Lucia works with her.
Magistra pānem fīliō suō dat. The teacher gives bread to her son.
Puerī in scholā nōn edunt. Propter id, ēsurientēs sunt. The boys do not eat in school. Because of that/it, they are hungry.
id est (i.e.) that is
suī generīs of its own kind, unique
eō tempore at that time
eō locō in that place

Practice[edit | edit source]

Practice and learn the words and phrases in this lesson
Step one First learn the words using this lesson:
Step two Next try learning and writing the sentencing using this:
Note that the Memrise stage covers the content for all lessons in each stage.
If you are skipping previous stages you may need to manually "ignore" the words in previous levels (use the 'select all' function)

Pronouns are little words, but they can be hard to master. I’ve seen a lot of students struggle with them, and I think they need to be learned early and reviewed fairly often. This is an area where interactive formats can be amazing as a practice tool. You can practice the sentences on Memrise of course. The next lesson will focus on the plural forms of the 3rd person pronouns. Bonam fortūnam!