Latin/Verbs Present Tense Lesson 1

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Conjugation of Latin verbs[edit | edit source]

(Skip to the sentences if you hate grammar or just want to try some real Latin!) This lesson we will begin more systematic study of the Latin system for verb conjugations. So far we have learned just enough verbs to make some interesting sentences. You have probably picked up the fact that verbs change their endings to reflect the person or persons doing the action. These endings are called the “personal endings” because they communicate person (and number too). In this way a subject pronoun can be included in the verb itself, without having to use the extra word:

Latin English
Ego amō I love
Amō I love

Both mean “I love,” whether the 1st person pronoun ego is used or not. In practice Latin tends not to use a separate subject pronoun unless there is a need for emphasis or possible confusion. So if the sentence contains no separately expressed subject noun or pronoun, look at the verb and use the included subject pronoun indicated by the verb ending. For the present tense, the personal endings and their pronouns are:

Latin ending English meaning Grammatical term Notes
Present tense verb endings
ō/m “I” 1st person singular “ō” is the usual ending, “m” is used in some irregular verbs and the subjunctive mood
s “you” 2nd person singular
t “he/she/it” 3rd person singular
mus “we” 1st person plural
tis “you (all)” 2nd person plural
nt “they” 3rd person plural

First conjugation[edit | edit source]

There are 4 conjugations of verbs in Latin. A conjugation is a classification or family grouping of verbs with similar forms, much as Latin nouns are grouped into declensions. Memorize the basic rules that apply to all verbs, then the ones that are specific to that conjugation. Make sure to memorize the conjugation that a verb belongs to when you learn that vocabulary word, and apply the rules consistently. It sounds simple, but verbs can be very complex. It should be easier for you to learn similar words together, so this lesson will focus only on the 1st conjugation verbs, and we’ll get used to them before adding the other conjugations with their slightly different patterns. We already have used a few 1st conjugation verbs in previous lessons:

Latin English Audio Notes
ambulō, 1 walk
amō, 1 love, like, am fond of
cenō, 1 dine, eat dinner
, dare, dedī, datus give
gustō, 1 taste, enjoy
habitō, 1 live, inhabit
laborō, 1 work, labor
manducō, 1 chew, eat, devour
navigō, 1 sail
pugnō, 1 (intr.) fight

The 1st conjugation is characterized by the letter A used as a combining vowel in most forms. There are four “principal parts” for a verb, and the a is present in the 2nd principal part, known as the infinitive. The majority of 1st conjugation verbs form their 4 principal parts like amō: amō, amāre, amāvī, amātus.

The dictionary convention is to list such a typical 1st conjugation verb as "amō, 1” but if the principal parts do NOT follow the pattern ō, āre, āvī, ātus the dictionary will write them out like dō, dare, dedī, datus 1. (For now, we only need to be concerned with the 1st and 2nd principal parts. Any verb with a 2nd p.p. ending in –āre is a 1st conjugation verb). Here’s how the verb amō would look when combined with the personal endings we reviewed above:

Latin English Notes
amō I love
amās you love
amat he, she, it loves
amāmus we love
amātis you (pl.) love
amant they love

You’ll notice that the 1st person singular does not have the characteristic A; the O ending is dominant and takes over. But otherwise the 1st conjugation is quite straightforward. If you know any of the Romance languages descended from Latin you will most likely have no problem mastering the endings, and the vocabulary. In addition to the verbs that we’ve already used at least a few times in previous lessons, let’s add the following new 1st conjugation verbs:

New Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

Latin English Audio Notes
First conjugation verbs
clamō, 1 shout, cry, proclaim
cōgitō, 1 think, consider
dēsīderō, 1 want, desire, long for
laudō, 1 praise
parō, 1 prepare (for)
portō, 1 carry
rogō, 1 ask, request
stō, stāre, stetī, status, 1 stand
vocō, 1 call

New Sentences[edit | edit source]

Latin English Notes
Dē linguā Latinā cōgitō. I think about the Latin language.
Māter cēnam parat. Mother is preparing dinner.
Cibum in triclīnium portās. You carry the food into the dining room.
Frāter tuus auxilium in culīnā rogat. Your brother asks for help in the kitchen.
Līberōs ad mēnsam vocātis. You (all) call the children to the table.
Omnēs līberī cāseum dēsīderant. All the children want cheese.
Pānem bonum laudāmus. We praise the good bread.
Gāius in viā difficili ambulat. Gaius walks on a difficult road.
Lūcia et Mārcus cum agricolīs in agrīs labōrant. Lucia and Marcus work with the farmers in the fields.
Paula nautam miserum amat. Paula loves the poor sailor.
Ubī stātis? Where are you (all) standing?
Barbarī fortēs cum mīlitibus Rōmānīs pugnant. The brave barbarians fight with the Roman soldiers.
Stō et clamō. I stand and shout.
Discipulī in forō stant. The students stand in the town square.
Virī dulciola equīs nōn dant. The men do not give candies to the horses.
Servus carnem leōnī portat. The slave carries meat to the lion.
Crūstula puellīs dō. I give cookies to the girls/ I give the girls cookies.
Nōmen fēminae rogās. You ask the woman’s name.
Canem vocant. They call the dog.
Magistra dē librīs et līberīs cōgitat. The teacher thinks about books and children.
Amīcum meum (per telephōnum) vocō. I call my friend (on the phone).
Vīnum omnibus nautīs dās. You give wine to all the sailors.
Omne vīnum nautīs dās. You give all the wine to the sailors.
Cafeam rogāmus. We ask for coffee.
Cōgitō, ergō sum. I think, therefore I am.

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)

Next week, we’ll look at 2nd conjugation verbs and add them to the mix. Vōbīs grātiās agō et habeātis bonam fortūnam!