In the first part of these notes, rough translations are given for various forms of the first conjugation transitive verb amare (to love). The reader is assumed to know the grammatical notions of person and number, so in most cases, we only work with first person singular. Subtleties of usage will be ignored, at least for the time being. Caveat emptor!
In the second part of these notes, general rules are given for verb conjugation. These are rough in that there are some changes of vowels and vowel lengths that are completely ignored in this section.
Some verbs are impersonal, i.e., they only exist in the third person singular. (Example: miseret, miserere, miseruit, miseritum. It is a pity, to be a pity, it was a pity, having been a pity.)
Some verbs are intransitive, i.e., they do not take direct objects. The fourth principal part of these verbs is either the neuter form of the perfect passive participle for verbs intransitive verbs which take an indirect object in the dative case, or the future active participle for other intransitive verbs. (Examples: asto, astare, asteti, astatum I assist, to assist, I assisted, assisted. sum, esse, fui, futurus. I am, to be, I was, about to be.) Intransitive verbs which take indirect objects may have impersonal passive voice forms which are occasionally tricky to translate.
Some verbs are deponent which means that they are passive in form but active in meaning. (Example: misereor, misereri, miseritus sum. I pity, to pity, I pitied.)
The Modern English tense system does not quite correspond with the Latin tense system, particularly in certain uses of the perfect tenses. But the following translations usually make a good first attempt.Present Active: amare to love, to be loving Perfect Active: amavisse to have loved Future Active: amaturus esse to be about to love, to be going to be loving Present Passive: amari to be loved Perfect Passive: amatus esse to have been loved Future Passive: amatum iri to be about to be loved, to be going to be loved, to be loved
The key distinction between the imperfect and the perfect in Latin is not the same as that between the past tense and present perfect in English. (English usage here is idiomatic among the Indo-European languages.) In Latin as in many Indo-European languages, the perfect tense conveys a completed action (e.g. “I sang Tom Dooley yesterday.”) The imperfect tense conveys continuation or repetition or habitual action (e.g. “We practiced Tom Dooley for three weeks”.)
Note: perfect < perfectus (adj) complete, finished. past participle of perficio, -ficere - to complete.Present Passive: amor I am loved, I am being loved Imperfect Passive: amabar I was loved, I was being loved, I used to be loved Future Passive: amabor I shall be loved, I am going to be loved, I am about to be loved Perfect Passive: amatus sum I was loved, I have been loved Pluperfect Passive: amatus eram I had been loved Future Perfect Passive: amatus ero I shall have been loved
In a number of circumstances, the Latin subjunctive corresponds to special usages of the Modern English indicative. However, for other uses, the following suggestions may better fit the meaning.Present Active: amem I may love, let me love, I should love, I would love Imperfect Active: amarem I might love, I would love Perfect Active: amaverim I may have loved, I should have loved, I would have loved Pluperfect Tense amavissem I might have loved, I would have loved Present Passive: amer I may be loved, let me be loved, I should be loved, I would be loved Imperfect Passive: amarer I might be loved, I would be loved Perfect passive subjunctive: amatus sim I may have been loved, I should have been loved, I would have been loved Pluperfect passive subjunctive: amatus essem I might have been loved, I would have been loved
Conjugation I celo, celare, celavi, celatus hide Conjugation II habeo, habere, habui, habitus have Conjugation III rego, regere, rexi, rectus rule Conjugation III-io capio, capere, cepi, captus take Conjugation III-Ø fero, ferre, tuli, latus carry, bear Conjugation IV audio, audire, audivi, auditus hear
ferre is usually classed as an irregular verb. While it is unusual in form, it seems perfectly regular to me. (It was so regular, in fact, that I was able to produce the conjugation paradigm page for ferre from the conjugation paradigm page for capere using very simple global replace strings.)
The base and the stems are formed from these examples are as follows:
|base||cel-||hab-||reg-||cap-||fer-||aud-||infinitive - ending|
|present stem||cela-||habe-||rege-||cape-||fer-||audi-||infinitive - -re|
|perfect stem||celav-||habu-||rex-||cep-||tul-||audiv-||perfect - -i|
|participial stem||celat-||habit-||rect-||capt-||lat-||audit-||participle - -us|
When attaching endings to the stem, the stem vowel will sometimes undergo a strengthening or a weakening. This results in some irregularities — especially in the third conjugation.
The subjunctive stem is obtained from the base as follows:
|Base + e||Base + ea||Base + a||Base + ia||Base + a||Base + ia|
Because we don't mark vowels, the future indicative and the present subjunctive for the third conjugation look pretty much the same. They differ in the length of vowels, but you don't see that distinction in written texts. According to Latino pro populo the similarity is not accidental.
The future perfect indicative and the past subjunctive also often look the same when vowels are not marked.