Latin – Unit Two


A. The Perfect Active Indicative System of All Verbs

B. The Subjunctive Mood

C. Formation of the Subjunctive

D. Present Subjunctive of the Verb sum

E. Conditional Sentences

F. Genitive with Verbs of Accusing and Condemning


A. The perfect system is perfect. All Latin verbs, regardless of conjugation are formed identically in the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect tenses. There are no irregularities, and the perfect tense endings are only used in the perfect tense. So I reiterate: the perfect system is perfect.

B. We have now been introduced to the second ‘mood’ of Latin grammar: the subjunctive. The indicative mood is used for statements of fact and direct questions. The subjunctive mood expresses notions of ideas, intent, desire, uncertainty, potentiality, anticipation, and the like. This shift in notion is accompanied by a vowel shift in the present active subjunctive, at least in the first conjugation so far (switching the long ‘a’ to a long ‘e’).*

To form the imperfect subjunctive, take the present infinitive, lengthen the final ‘e’ and add the personal endings.

To form the pluperfect subjunctive, take the perfect stem, add ‘-isse-‘ (with a long ‘e’) and add the personal endings.

Remember: the final long ‘e’ is shortened with -m, -t, and -nt personal endings.

? – QUESTION: why are the first person plural and the second and third singular AND plural present subjunctive active (in first conjugation, at least) the same construction as the future perfect indicative?

E. There are three (but arguably four) kinds of conditional clauses, as follows:

  1. simple or general conditions (where both clauses are in the indicative)
  2. future conditions:
    1. future more vivid – both clauses are in future tense but are translated as present indicative plus future tense
    2. future less vivid – both clauses are in present subjunctive and are translated “should… would…”
  3. contrary-to-fact conditions:
    1. present contrary-to-fact – both clauses are in imperfect subjunctive
    2. past contrary-to-fact – both clauses are in pluperfect subjunctive
  4. mixed conditions = mix’n match anything goes, and are arguably translated logically (I personally have yet to discover the logic in many of these types of conditional sentences)

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