Guide to Latin Gcse Grammar

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  • Topic: Participle, Verb, Gerund
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Latin – Grammar
The Genitive Case
The genitive case is most often used to give possession, i.e. ‘of’. For example, ‘portus Alexandriae’ means ‘the port of Alexandria”. Portus = nominative singular, Alexandriae = genitive singular. However, the genitive case is also used in two other ways: the partitive genitive and the genitive of description. The Partitive Genitive

This is used to show a part of a whole, mostly used in relation to quantity. Nominative(but the case changes)| + Genitive| Meaning|
plus| vini| more wine (lit. more of wine)|
plus| pecuniae| more money|
satis| cibi| enough food|
nihil| periculi| no danger|
multum| laboris| much work|
aliquid| boni| something good|
quid| novi?| what new? or what is new?|

The Genitive of Description
For example, where we might say ‘a man of the utmost courage’ instead we could say ‘a very courageous man’: vir summae virtutis (summae and virtutis agree) Noun| + Gen. of description| Meaning|

fabula| huius modi| a story of this manner|
puer| decem annorum| a boy of ten years|
senator| ingenii optimi| a senator of hugest excellence|

The Ablative Case
Ablatives have a general meaning of ‘by’, ‘with’ or ‘from.’ They are often used with perfect passive participles e.g. having been killed by someone/with something. However, it has many other applications: i) After certain prepositions (cum, in, sine etc.)

And without prepositions, to express:
ii) points in time
iii) method
iv) description
i) After prepositions
These prepositions are followed by the ablative case
Prep.| + Ablative example| Prep. meaning| + Ablative meaning| pro| temple| in front of/ in return for/on behalf of| the temple| cum| Clemente| with| Clemens|
in| urbe| in/on| the city|
e/ex| amphitheatre| from| the amphitheatre|
de| morte| down from/about| death|
sine| cibo| without| food|
a/ab| servo| by/from| the slave|
sub| leone| under| the lion|
ii) Points in time
While the accusative is used to express length of time (more on this later), the ablative is used to talk about points in time – by this we mean when, NOT how long. e.g. tertia hora nuntii advenerunt, at the third hour the messengers arrived iii) Method

i.e. by what means something happens – this is used most commonly with passive past participles. e.g. ira incensus, having been incensed by anger
spe praemii adductus, having been led on by the hope of a reward (praemii = genitive) iv) Description
This is most commonly translated as with and is used to describe a noun. e.g. laeto animo domum rediit, he returned home with a happy mind captivus, vulto sereno, stabat, the prisoner, with a calm expression, was standing The Ablative Absolute

The ablative absolute is used when there is a noun + participle, both in the ablative case. The participle can be…
…perfect passive (having been…)
...present (being…)
…deponent (having…)
Depending on the participle, the ablative absolute is translated a certain way: a) Perfect passive participles
These are translated as WHEN/AFTER
e.g. temple dedicato, when the temple had been dedicated
clamoribus auditus, after the shouts had been heard
b) Present participles
These are translated as WHILE/AS
e.g. sole occidente, as the sun is/was going down
custodibus dormientibus, while the guards are/were sleeping c) Deponent participles
These are also translated as WHEN/AFTER
e.g. mercatore profecto, after the merchant had set out
senator ingresso, when the senator had entered

Purpose Clauses
They are used to express purpose – and are translated generally as a main and subordinate clause separated by words like “to”, “in order to”, “such that”, “that” and “so that”. i) ‘ut’ + subjunctive

e.g. Agricola processit ut pauca diceret
Agricola proceeded in order to say a few words
ii) using the relative pronoun – QUI, QUAE, QUOD etc.
e.g. ego puerum misi qui...
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