Glossary of Grammatical Terms



(“bashful;” green) (ā-ferō, ablatus — “take away”): a case of nouns used:
with a preposition(N.B. people require a preposition)
or without
a preposition (thing) to express:
separation (ab agrō — “away
from the field”) accompaniment (cum puellā –“with the girl”)
    instrument or means (gladiō — “by/with a sword”)
    location (in agrō — “in the field)
    time (when) (compare with location) (nocte — “at night”)
    manner (magnā vōce — “in a loud voice”), etc.


agent  person by whom something is/was done (with passive
voice):  ā/ab + ablative 

abstract noun:
a noun
which expresses an idea or concept (as opposed to a concrete noun, which
names a tangible object), e.g. “love.”

(“adventuresome;”  red) (from Greek – “affected”) a case of nouns used for:
direct object

object of a preposition

motion through space
(in urbem — “into the city”,  Rōmam — “to Rome”)

duration in time
(trēs annōs — “for three years”)
object complement 


in indirect statement

active (agō, āctum — “do”):
a voice of a transitive verb in which the grammatical subject is
doing the action (which is directed toward a direct object). E.g. “The
farmer (S) is plowing (active V) the field (DO).”
(ad-iaceō — “lie [near] to”): a word used to describe a noun. In Latin, it
must agree with the noun in case, number, and gender (but not necessarily
use the same declension ending).
There are two groups:
A) (-us/-er, -a, -um) using 2nd declension endings for masculine and neuter
and 1st declension endings for feminine.
B) those using third declension (-i stem) endings.
These have three subgroups defined according to how many separate nominative
singular endings they have:

3 endings for nom. sing.: -er (masc.), -ris (fem.), -re (neuter)
2 endings: -is (masc./fem.), -e (neuter)
1 ending : -x/-s (masc./fem./neuter). (In the vocabulary lists, a
second form is given with these. This is the genitive singular (-
is), which gives the base.)
Uses (functions)
of adjective may be attributive (fēmina clāra “the famous woman”) or predicate adjective/complement (fēmina clāra est “the woman is famous.”) They may also be used with an understood
noun: see substantive.
Verbal adjectives are called participles.
adverb (ad – verbum):
a part
of speech indicating words that modify a verb, an adjective, or another
adverb. In Latin, these often end in -ē (from -us, -a, -um adjectives, e.g.
ē happily) or -(i)ter (from 3rd declension adjectives, e.g. celeriter quickly).
doing the action.  In an active sentence, it is the subject; in a passive sentence, it is the person by whom the action was done. In Latin this
is expressed by “ā/ab” + the ablative case. Caesar ā Brut
ō occīsus est (Caesar was killed by Brutus).
(for thing: ablative of means/instrument without a preposition)
determine functions. These may be indicated by sentence diagramming, color
coding and/or symbols, e.g.
S = subject
DO = direct object
V = verb
C = complement
IO = indirect object
lines or arrows connect modifiers to modified (e.g. attributive
adjectives to nouns)
parentheses/brackets around phrases and subordinate clauses
antecedent (ante-cēdō — “to go before):
the noun
that a pronoun replaces.  The antecedent is the same gender and # as the
pronoun, but not necessarily the same case, because the functions may be
different in their respective clauses.   “Mother was telling Quintus (antecedent) a story. He (pronoun = Quintus) was listening eagerly.”

(ad – pōnō: “put next to”):
a noun
(or noun phrase) placed near to another noun (in the same case) renaming it.
Unlike a complement, an appositive is not a syntactic part of the
predicate and is often set off by commas. (“He saw Flaccus, his father,
auxiliary verb (also called “helping verb”; < auxilium — “help”):
such as “be”, “have”, and “can”, which indicate aspect, voice, or modality
in English. English often uses a verb phrase where Latin has a single form:
she is calling = vocat. (EGSL p75-76)


the part
of a word which is unchanged in inflection (to which you add the endings).
To find the base of a noun, take the second vocabulary form, the genitive,
and take off the genitive singular ending. (silv-, agr-)


one of
the inflectional forms of a noun, pronoun, or adjective which indicates its function (noun, pronoun) or what it modifies (adjective).  The cases
are: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative, and vocative.(EGSL pg 22)
see imperative mood.
degree of an adjective or adverb, expressed in English by -er or more (Latin: -ior, -ius).
group of
words including at least a subject and verb that form a complete thought.
Main clauses can stand alone as a sentence; subordinate or dependent clauses must go with a main clause. (EGSL p103-104)
complement, subject:
a word
which completes (note the spelling with “e”) the meaning of a linking
verb by renaming (predicate nominative) or describing (predicate
) the subject. They occur with certain types of verbs, often
called linking verbs (e.g. “is, become, seems”). “He was king.”
“She seems happy.” In Latin, therefore, they will be in the
nominative case. (EGSL pg 32 -33) Compare object complement.
complementary infinitive:

an infinitive functioning to complete
the meaning of certain verbs, such as “be able.”  “ambulāre potest.”
“S/he is able to walk.

compound verb:
a verb
with a prefix. (re-vēniō, ad-ferō). 
conjugate (con-iungō — “join together”):
to give
all the subject forms of a verb in a particular tense, voice, and mood. E.g.
vocō, vocās, vocat, vocāmus, vocātis, vocant. (EGSL pg 56)
a group
of verbs that all share a common theme vowel or stem type. There are four
conjugations (plus “third -io”) in Latin, which can be identified by the
second principal part (infinitive):
First conjugation (-ā stem) verbs have principal parts:
-ō, ‑āre, (-āvi, -ātus)
Second conjugation (-ē stem) verbs:
-eō, -ēre [note the long -ē] (-uī, -itus)
Third conjugation (consonant stem) verbs have:
-ō, -ere (-ī, -tus)
Third -iō verbs have: –iō, -ere, (-ī, -tus)
Fourth conjugation (-ī stem) verbs have:
-iō, -īre, (īvī, ītus)
(EGSL p58)
conjunction, coordinating:
a part
of speech such as (et, -que) and, (sed) but, (aut) or,
(nam) for, or (neque) and . . . not; nor that connects
elements that are grammatically the same (two subjects, two objects of a
preposition, two clauses, etc.).   Flaccus et Scintilla;  bellum
longum et crūdele “the long and cruel war” (EGSL p99)
conjunction, subordinating:
see subordinating conjunction


dative (“Darling;”  purple; < dō, datus — give):

case of nouns indicating the person
interested in or indirectly affected by the action. Its functions  include:
indirect object
(to whom)
(for whom)

with certain intransitive verbs (and often with compound verbs)

with certain adjectives

decline (declinō — “bend from”):
to give
all the case forms of a noun.
E.g. via, viae, viae, viam, viā; viae, viārum, viīs, viās, viīs.
a group
of nouns which all share a common set of case endings. The genitive singular
(second vocabulary form) indicates which declension a noun belongs to.
First declension: (nom. sing. -a), gen. sing. -ae
Second declension: (nom. sing. -us/-r/-um), gen. sing.
Third declension: gen. sing. -is
Fourth declension: (nom. sing. -us), gen. sing.
Fifth declension: (nom. sing. -ēs), gen. sing. -e
(EGSL p25-27)
dependent clause
see subordinate clause
deponent (dē-pōnō — put down):
a verb that has only passive forms and functions as active. (*)
derivative (dī-rivus — “stream”):
a word
that developed from another word (English aquatic is derived from the
Latin aquaticus, -a, -um which is derived from aqua
direct object:
the word
receiving the direct action of a transitive active verb. It answers the
questions: the subject (V)s what/whom? (He hit the ball). In Latin,
it is in the accusative case.
N.B.  In English it is often after the verb, but not always in questions or
relative clauses).  e.g. What did he hit?  (= He hit what):
direct object is “What”;  the ball that he hit . . . (cf. he hit it): direct object is “that”


enclitic (“leans on”):
morpheme which cannot stand by itself but is attached to the end of another
word, e.g. pater-que, –ne.


factitive: (< faciō, -ere “do, make”)
a kind
of verb (e.g. “make, elect, name”) that takes a direct object and an object complement
finite verb (fīnis — “limit”):
a verb
which has a personal subject ending. (e.g. venit), as opposed to the infinitive.
what a
word does in a sentence, i.e. how it fits in and relates to the other words.
E.g. the function of an adverb is to modify a certain verb, adjective or
another adverb.(EGSL pg 6-7)
a tense of verb indicating action that is expected to take place in the future.  In
Latin, 1st and second conjugation verbs form the future with the
suffix -bō, -bi, etc.  Third and fourth conjugation verbs use a different
vowel before the personal endings: -am, -ēs, etc. EGSL 71-72
future perfect:

a tense of verb indicating action that “will have” been
completed in the future before another future action. (EGSL p73-74)
N.B. In English, future tenses in subordinate clauses are translated as
present tense or “have ____ed”  (e.g. If she comes/has come by
tomorrow morning, we will go to the movie.)  


linguistic category distinguishing nouns as masculine, feminine, and neuter.
Masculine nouns have masculine adjective forms modifying them, etc. Nouns
for persons follow natural biological genders; the gender of nouns for
things are based on the linguistic stem and may be masculine, feminine, or
neuter. First and fifth declension nouns are regularly feminine. For third
declension, nouns with nominatives endings -s, -ō,  or -x are usually
feminine, nominatives in -r, masculine, and nominatives in -men and -us,
neuter. (EGSL pg 10-12)

(“Gregarious;”  orange; genitus –“a begetting”): the case of
nouns relating one noun to another noun.  Functions include:


part of a whole/partitive

(“block of wood”).
Common translations are “of” (and “for”). (EGSL p34-35)



imperative (imperō — “order”):
the mood of a verb used to give a command. (Sh p47 ¶33) (EGSL p95-96)
N.B.  For a negative command (prohibition), Latin uses nolī(te)
+ infinitive)

imperfect (im — “not”, perfectus — “completed”):
a tense of verb which indicates action (in the past) that is viewed as in progress
or not completed. It may be translated “was ____ing” or “used to ____”
(habitual past action). In Latin, they are characterized by the suffix -ba-
before the personal ending.  (Sh p45-46 ¶31) (EGSL p61, 65-68)

the most
common mood of a verb (as opposed to imperative or subjunctive) used
to make an assertion or ask a direct question. (EGSL p93-94)

indirect object:
of noun with certain verbs indicating “to whom” someone gave, said,
, etc. something (direct object). It is expressed in Latin by
the dative case.  In English, it can be indicated by word order
or by a prepositional phrase with “to.”  librum am
īcō dat.  “She gives her friend (IO) a book (DO)”  or “She give a
book to her friend.” (EGSL p37-38)






indirect statement
accusative +
infinitive noun clause acting as the direct object of a verb of saying, etc.
(“neck-up”).  In English this is usually translated by a “that” clause.
N.B. The tense of the infinitive in Latin expresses time relative to that of
the main verb.  See Course packet: Indirect Statement.
infinitive: (in — “without” — fīnis):
noun, i.e. a verb used as a noun expressing the abstract idea of the verbal
action. As a verbal, it has tense (relative to the main verb) and voice (but
does not have personal endings), and as a (neuter singular) noun it may
function as the subject of a sentence or complementary with
certain verbs (e.g. possum  I am able “to _____”) or as part of
certain object clauses. It is marked in English by “to,”  e.g. currere “to
run.” (EGSL p53)  See Synopsis in Course Packet. See also indirect

interrogative adjective/pronoun
pronoun used to ask a question (Quis?  Who?  Quid?   What?
Qui puer?  Which boy?).  See also Course Packet: Pronouns.

a verb
that does not accept a direct object. E.g. lie, sleep, rest. Some
verbs that may be intransitive in English (e.g. “see, help”) are transitive
in Latin (videō, iuvō + DO) (EGSL p49)



linking verb:
a kind
of verb (e.g. “is, seems, appear”) that expresses a relationship of equality
(A = B); the subject is renamed (predicate nominative) or described
predicatively (predicate adjective).  See also complement, predicate adjective, predicate nominative. (EGSL p32-33)
a case
of noun indicating “in” a place.  It survives in proper nouns of
towns, cities, and small islands, plus the commonly used “domi” (“at home”),
“ruri” (“In the country”) and “humi” (“on the ground.”). Other nouns use the
preposition “in” + ablative case to express location.


used of adjectives and adverbs to indicate what the word describes or
goes with.  In Latin, adjectives agree in case, number, and gender with the
noun they modify.  puellam laetam: laetam modifies puellam.
category of finite verbs that describes the nature of the action as an
assertion, statement, question of fact (indicative), a command (imperative)
or other (see subjunctive). (EGSL p93-94)
study of the inflected forms of words.


nominative (“Normal;”  blue; < nōmen — “name”):

the case used as

subject complementfunctions

for nouns/adjectives or finite verbs indicating singular or plural. (EGSL pg 13)
part of
speech that can function as subject, direct object, etc. Nouns in Latin are
identified by the aspects of case, number, and gender.
(EGSL pg 8-9)


object, types of:
direct object, indirect object, object of preposition. In English there is
one form (e.g. “him”); in Latin there are different cases, depending on the
kind of object. (EGSL p36)
object complement:
A second
noun renaming the direct object with certain verbs such as make, elect. “They make him (DO) dictator
object of the preposition:
that goes with a preposition to form a meaningful phrase.  (in casā
“in the house”) (EGSL p38-39)


participial phrase:
participle and the words dependent on it (object, adverbs, or prepositional
phrases). E.g. “running quickly through the street,” “captured by the
participle (pars, partis: part + capiō take, i.e. of both verb and adjective aspects): 
adjective (e.g. “capiēns” “taking”; “captus” “having been taken”). They are
identified by tense and voice (verbal) and case, number, and gender
of speech
(pronoun), adjective, adverb, verb, subordinating conjunction, coordinating conjunction, preposition, (interjection) that determine how a word can function. (EGSL p6) 
passive (patior, passus — “suffering”):
a voice of a verb in which the grammatical subject is not doing the
action, but is receiving or “suffering” the action. E.g. Caesar was
by Brutus. (EGSL p89-90, 92)
perfect tense (per — “through”  fāciō — “do”):
a tense of verb indicating action in the past that is viewed as completed.
It may be translated as simple past (“___ed”) or sometimes as present
perfective “have ___ed.” The active stem is from the third principal part
(minus the -ī ending); the passives use the fourth principal part.  (EGSL p66-68)
grammatical category distinguishing the speaker (first person “I”
“we”), addressee (second person “you”), and entity spoken about (third
person “s/he,” etc.) (EGSL p41-43).  These may be expressed by
personal endings on finite verbs in Latin.
Active: -ō/-m, -s, -t, -mus, -tis, -nt
Perfect Active: -ī, -istī, -it, -imus, -istis, -ērunt
Passive: -r, -ris, -tur, -mur, -minī, -ntur
a group
of words that forms a meaningful unit, but can’t stand alone as a complete
sentence.  Kinds of phrases include noun phrases (the hungry lion), verb
phrases (run quickly), and prepositional phrases (in the kitchen).  EGSL 102-103.  (cf. clause)
(plusquam perfectum “more than completed”) tense of verb indicating
an action completed before another action in the past. It is expressed in
English by “had ___ed”. (ambulāverant “they had walked.”) The active stem is
from the third principal part; the passive uses the fourth principal part.
(EGSL p69-70)
possessive adjective:

Adjective that expresses possession
(meus, -a,
-um my, etc..)  N.B.: The adjective delines just like a regular
adjective and agrees in case, #, and gender with the noun that it modifies,
(not the person possessing the noun).  The possession is reflected in the
meaning in translation.

a word
which cannot occur first in a clause but must be put after another word,
e.g. “tamen, enim, igitur, autem.”
predicate adjective:
adjective used (as a complement) in the predicate with a linking
verb.  Unlike attributive adjectives, it cannot be taken out of the sentence
and leave it complete.  “She is happy.” (EGSL pp 32-33, 121)
predicate nominative:  
a noun
used (as a complement) with a linking verb to rename the subject.
“He is king.” (EGSL p32-33)
a form
(e.g. ad-, in-, ex-) attached to the beginning of a word changing its
meaning; they are often prepositional in origin.  Words that have such a
prefix are called compound.
a part
of speech (e.g. ad “to”, per “through”, sub “under”) that takes a noun
object and forms a phrase expressing “where” (e.g. in cul
in the kitchen”), “how” (with great care), etc. Note
that some relationships that are expressed by prepositions in English are
expressed by case endings in Latin. pec
ūniaeof money”  In Latin, prepositional phrases are always adverbial (cf.
“in the room”  and “there”) and usually go with the verb or participial that
comes after it. Unlike English, prepositional phrases in Latin cannot
be adjectival and cannot go with nouns. E.g. You can’t have “the man in the
room.” Latin has to say “the man standing in the room.” (EGSL p18-20)
prepositional phrase:
a phrase
that consists of preposition and a noun phrase (object plus any modifiers).
E.g. magnā in urbe (“in the big city”) (EGSL p102)
principal parts:
a list
of the main forms of the verb that give all the stem information necessary
to form all of the other verb forms. In Latin, there are four:
1) 1st person singular present active indicative (-ō =
I ____)
2) present active infinitive (-re = to ___)
3) 1st person singular perfect active indicative (-ī =
I ____ed)
4) perfect passive participle, nominative singular (-tus, -a, -um
= having been ___ed)
N.B. The stem from the first two principal parts expresses unfinished action
(present, future, and imperfect tenses); the third and fourth express
completed action (perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect tenses).
(EGSL pg 51-52)
a word
(e.g., he, she, it) that replaces a noun. The case tells you the
function of the pronoun in its own clause.  The number (sing./pl) and gender
help you identify what the noun is that they represent (the antecedent = noun replaced). Types include personal (ego, I; tu, you; is he) (EGSL p41-47), demonstrative (hic; ille)(Sh
71-73), relative (quī, quae, quod who, which), interrogative (quis,
quid Who? What?), and indefinite (e.g. aliquis, quīdam). See Course Packet,
“Pronouns” for forms and translations. (EGSL pg 16-17)



-ere “bend” re- “back”) a word that refers back to the subject. There are
reflexive pronouns — sē (subject-self, e.g. himself) (Sh p97
¶55) (EGSL p151-153) and possessive adjectives: suus, -a, -um
(“subject’s own,” e.g. “his own”) (EGSL p131-134)
relative clause:
adjectival subordinate clause that describes a noun in another
clause. It is introduced by a relative pronoun: qu
quae (who), quod (which).  “French, which is a Romance language,
evolved from Latin.”  (EGSL p156-160)
relative pronoun:
pronoun (quī, quae, – who, quod – which, that)
functioning as a subordinator and introducing a relative clause.  The
relative pronoun substitutes for a regular pronoun and “relates” its
descriptive subordinate clause to the noun described.  The relative pronoun
has the same gender and # as its antecedent, but not necessarily the
same case.  The case depends on the function in its respective clause.
(“French evolved from Latin.  It is a Romance language.”  > French, which is a Romance language, evolved from Latin.” (EGSl p156-160)


linguistic core of a word. This may be the same as the base to which
endings are added (rēg-) or it may include a thematic vowel which combines
in different ways with the endings (vocā-, silva).
(or thing) that goes together with the verb (and usually comes immediately
before the verb in English).  The subject is also what the verb agrees with
in number (“she walks” ambulat; “they walk” ambulant).  In an active
sentence, the subject does the action of the verb. (Who is doing the
____ing?”)  (EGSL pg 30)
the mood of a verb used to indicate wishes (“would that”) contrary-to-fact
conditions (if it “were;” if it “had” happened), probability, possibility
(“may, might”), etc. (EGSL p97-98)
subordinate clause:
A clause that cannot stand by itself as a complete sentence; it must go
with a main clause. (when it snows, . . .; if it snows . . .; who
lives here
).  They are often introduced by a subordinating conjunction.
They are like a car being towed by a towtruck (see Course Packet, “Part of
Speech”). The whole clause may functions as an adverb, adjective, or noun.
(EGSL p99-101, p102-105)
subordinating conjunction:
a part
of speech such as if, when, because, etc., that is
added to a clause to make it subordinate or dependent on a main clause.
Unlike a coordinating conjunction, a subordinating conjunction always joins
two clauses, and the clauses that it joins are not equally independent. (EGSL p99-101)
a noun
or anything functioning as a noun, especially an adjective used with an
understood noun (based on the number and gender): e.g. Rōmānī (masc. pl.)–
“the Romans, Roman [people]”; omnia (nt. pl.)– “all [things]; everything”.
of an adjective indicated in Latin by -issimus, -a, -um (adj.) or adverb
In English, it is expressed by –est  or most
: (syn-
“together” opsis “view”) an overview of a verb giving a representative
example (e.g. 1st person singular) of different forms (e.g.
tenses, moods, voices).  (cf. EGSL 62; Course Packet, “Synopses”)
arrangement and relationship of the parts of sentences (as opposed to the
grammar, which is the inflected forms).


of a verb that indicates the time and/or aspect (completed or not completed)
of an action. In Latin they are: present, future, imperfect, perfect,
pluperfect, and future perfect. (EGSL p61)
that are third conjugation but have an extra “i” in some forms.  They thus
share some features of fourth conjugation verbs. They are identified by
vocabulary forms “-iō, ‑ere.”
(trāns- eō,-itum — “go across”):
a verb
(e.g. hit, kill) that requires a direct object receiving the
action to form a complete thought.  (He hit what?) (EGSL pg 49)


a word
that functions as the core predicate of a clause.  It may express some
action (run) that is performed or a state (sleep). It is described by the
aspects of person, number, tense, voice, and mood. Verbs are classified as transitive, intransitive or linking. The type of verb determines what other parts of the clause
are needed (e.g. direct object, complement, etc.). (EGSL 48-49)
(“Vocal;” yellow) case of noun used for direct address. It is often set off
by commas. It may have “O” preceding. E.g. Venī, Marce or O Marce! (“Come, Marcus”) (EGSL p25)
describing the action of a verb as active or passive (or deponent). (EGSL p89-90)