Latin conjugation

Conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from one basic form. Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, mood, voice, or some other language-specific factor or factors. When a verb is used to function as the action done by a subject, the verb must be conjugated in most languages.

For example, here's a sample conjugation of the English verb to be and its Latin and French equivalents, esse and être.

to be / esse / être
Form / Person English Latin French
Infinitive to be esse être
1st singular I am sum je suis
2nd singular you are es tu es
3rd singular he, she, or it is est il/elle est
1st plural we are sumus nous sommes
2nd plural you are estis vous êtes
3rd plural they are sunt ils/elles sont

Note that the similarity between English is and Latin est is not a mere coincidence, but rather one of the consequences of them having a distant common ancestor (see Indo-European languages). French is a derivative of Latin, which explains the much greater similarity in the way they conjugate this verb.

In addition, there are 4 regular conjugations, and one sub-form:

Indicative present
First conjugation
-a (amare, to love)
  • Singular
    • 1st amo
    • 2nd amas
    • 3rd amat
  • Plural
    • 1st amamus
    • 2nd amatis
    • 3rd amant
Second conjugation
-e (habere, to have or hold)
  • Singular
    • 1st habeo
    • 2nd habes
    • 3rd habet
  • Plural
    • 1st habemus
    • 2nd habetis
    • 3rd habent
Third conjugation
-e regere (to rule)
  • Singular
    • 1st rego
    • 2nd reges
    • 3rd reget
  • Plural
    • 1st regemus
    • 2nd regetis
    • 3rd regent
Third conjugation
-i- stem
-i (capere, to capture)
  • Singular
    • 1st capio
    • 2nd capis
    • 3rd capit
  • Plural
    • 1st capimus
    • 2nd capitis
    • 3rd capiunt
Fourth conjugation
-i (audire, to hear)
  • Singular
    • 1st audio
    • 2nd audis
    • 3rd audit
  • Plural
    • 1st audimus
    • 2nd auditis
    • 3rd audiunt

Notice in all forms the endings are similar, 'o' or 'm' endings mean I. 's' means 'you' (in the pronouns suus means his, do not get confused) and the 't' endings mean he/she/it.

So:

Singular
  1. -o/m = I, eg. sum or verbo
  2. -s = You, eg. es or amas
  3. -t = He, eg est or amat
Plural (note the simularities with the singular)
  1. -mus
  2. -atis
  3. -nt

Elements of conjugation survive in English, however it is watered down. 'am' (I am) retains the nasal 'mmm' sound inherited from its ancestors (note: me). 'is' is remarkably similar to the Latin 'est'.

See also: Latin declension




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