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Latin declension is the set of patterns according to which Latin words are declined, or have their endings altered to show grammatical case, number and gender. Nouns, pronouns, and adjectives are declined (verbs are conjugated), and a given pattern is called a declension. There are five declensions, which are numbered and grouped by ending and grammatical gender. For simple declension paradigms, visit the Wiktionary appendices: first declension, second declension, third declension, fourth declension, fifth declension. Each noun follows one of the five declensions, but some irregular nouns have exceptions.

Adjectives are of two kinds: those like bonus, bona, bonum 'good' belong to the first and second declensions, using first-declension endings for the feminine, and second-declension for masculine and neuter. Other adjectives such as celer, celeris, celere belong to the third declension. There are no fourth- or fifth-declension adjectives.

Pronouns are also of two kinds, the personal pronouns such as ego 'I' and 'you (sg.)', which have their own irregular declension, and the third-person pronouns such as hic 'this' and ille 'that' which can generally be used either as pronouns or adjectivally. These latter decline in a similar way to the first and second noun declensions, but there are differences; for example the genitive singular ends in -īus or -ius instead of or -ae.

The cardinal numbers ūnus 'one', duo 'two', and trēs 'three' also have their own declensions (ūnus has genitive -īus like a pronoun), and there are also numeral adjectives such as bīnī 'a pair, two each', which decline like ordinary adjectives.


Grammatical casesEdit

A complete Latin noun declension consists of up to seven grammatical cases: nominative, vocative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative and locative. However, the locative is limited to few nouns: generally names of cities, small islands and a few other words.

The case names are often abbreviated to the first three letters.

The Latin cases have usually been given in the order NomVocAccGenDatAbl(–Loc) in Britain and many Commonwealth countries since the publication of Benjamin Hall Kennedy's Latin Primer (1866). This order reflects the tendencies of different cases to share similar endings (see below). For a discussion of other sequences taught elsewhere, see below.

However, some didactic approaches or schools teach it in the order NomGenDatAccVocAbl or NomGenDatAccAblVoc, the order also used before the Latin Primer by Benjamin Hall Kennedy. This order is used in The School and University Eton Latin Grammar (1861),[1] with the ablative case always cited last, and a similar one is used in grammars of Ancient Greek (except without the ablative case, which does not occur in Greek), and has been retained by some modern didactic approaches to allow comparison of Latin and Greek.[2]

Meanings and functions of the various casesEdit


It generally marks the sentence subject, or its attributes.

Augustus imperātor Imperiī Rōmānī fuit.
'Caesar Augustus was the Emperor of the Roman Empire'.

However, there are other uses within the nominative case:

Urbs Rōma caput mundī vōcātur.
'The city of Rome is called the capital of the world'.

On this sentence, there is a denomination clause (Rōma), and a subject predicative clause (caput).


It is used to address someone or something in direct speech. In English, this function is expressed by intonation or punctuation: "Mary, are you going to the store?" or "Mary!" In most declensions, the vocative singular form is identical to the nominative singular form; for example, to say "sailor!" the noun nauta has the vocative form nauta. There are a few exceptions. For the masculine singular second declension nouns, -us and -ius become -e and , respectively. For example, Brutus becomes Brute (English "Brutus!"). Similarly, Vergilius becomes Vergilī (English "Virgil!"). However, nouns may preserve as -us and -ius in presence of imperative verbs (Venī huc, Brutus; or Dīc nōbīs fabulam, Virgilius) Finally, in Greek masculine first declension names Aenēās becomes Aenēā (English "Aeneas!"). In the plural the vocative is always identical to the nominative. In this article, it is assumed the nominative and vocative cases always merge, unless if mentioned on the paradigm tables.[3]


It generally marks the direct object of a transitive verb, that is, the object produced on the verb action.

Scīpiōnis Āfricānī exercitus incurret hostem.
Scipio Africanus's army attacks the enemy.

However, the accusative case may also have other functions:

  • accusative of extent: indicates the period of time during which the action of the verb is prolonged:
trecentōs annōs Rōmanī tōtum Mare Mediterrāneum imperāvērunt.
"the Romans controlled the whole Mediterranean Sea for three hundred years".
  • accusative of direction: indicates direction of movement. Towns and small islands do not use any prepositions, while most other nouns use the preposition in (movement into a place) or ad (movement to a place).
Rōmam rediit
"he returned to Rome"
Lēgātus in Hispāniam missus est
"The Legatus was sent to Spain"
Mīlitēs ad oppīdum appropinquant
"The soldiers approach the fortress"
  • in infinitive completive sentences: the subject of a dependent clause is declined in accusative, while the verb appears in infinitive. This is because the whole subordinate sentence is a direct complement of the verb, called as the "main". It is widespread with verbs like to seem and to say.
Dīcō priōre nocte vēnisse in M. Laecae domum
"I say that you, last night, went to Marcus Laeca's house"
  • with certain prepositions:[4]
Fretum Gādītānum partem maris inter Hispāniam et Āfricam est
"The Strait of Gibraltar is the part of the sea between Spain and Africa"
  • as a predicative clause of the direct clause: words complementing the direct object are also accusative.
Pauperēs existimant dīvitēs fēlīcēs
"Poor people consider rich people to be happy"[5]
  • Exclamatory accusative:
Mē miseram!
"Poor me!"[6]

Genitive caseEdit

It generally marks the noun name complement. In most of cases, there is a relation in which the noun is the possessor and the genitive case is the possessed object. The use of the genitive case can be divided between the adjectival and adverbial uses.

Adjectival uses
  • possessive genitive: indicates a possessive relationship:
castra hostium or hostium castra
"The camp of the enemy"
  • subjective genitive: indicates a relation between genitive and noun similar to that between subject and verb:
Caesaris mors
"Caesar's death" (compare the sentence "Caesar died")
  • objective genitive: indicates a relation between noun and genitive similar to that between verb and object:
rēctor deum
"ruler of the gods" (compare the sentence "he rules the gods")
  • partitive genitive: indicates that the noun is part of the thing referred to by the genitive:
pars Galliae
"part of Gaul"
  • genitive of definition: where the genitive defines the noun:
virtūs iūstitiae
"the virtue justice"
  • descriptive genitive: describes an object or person in terms of its quality:
vir magnī ingeniī
"a man of great ingenuity"
  • genitive of price: describes the value or the price of something:
quantī ēmit?
"For how much did he buy it?"
Adverbial uses
  • with certain memory related verbs ("to forget", "remember", etc.):
Dominus oblītus est meī.
"God has forgotten about me."
  • with certain verbs such as potior, vescor and opus est ("to possess", "to eat" and "to be necessary", respectively):
totīus Galliae sēsē potīrī posse sperant
"they hope to be able to gain possession of the whole of Gaul"
  • with verbs meaning "to fill", or adjectives with the meaning of "full".
hic saccus plēnus est pirōrum.
"this bag is full of pears".
  • with verbs having the meaning "to shame", "to bore":
Taedet mē huius quotīdiānī mundī
"I am tired of this everyday world"
  • with verbs referring a legal process, like "to accuse":
patrem accusāvit adulteriī occultī
"he accused the father of secret adultery"

Dative caseEdit

It generally marks indirect object.

Pater puerō librum dōnat
"The father gives the book to the child"[7]
  • verbal regime dative: Makes up part of some adjectives, being thus, the regime object. Related to verbs like "to obey", "to pass" or adjectives with meanings like "similar".
Quam similis sōli est, Naevia, noster amor!
"How similar to the Sun is, oh Naevia, our love!"
  • possessive dative: it denotes possession by part of the dative noun.
Caesarī multī inimīcī erant.
"Caesar had many enemies". (literallly "There were many enemies for Caesar")
  • purpose dative: indicates the purpose of the action:
Non omnes mīlitēs glōriae pugnant.
"Not all soldiers fight for glory".
  • double dative: a mixture of possessive and purpose datives.
Ipsum bellum est mihi cūrae
"This war is a concern for me"
  • origin dative: indicates a point of view.
Vir bonus regī vidētur.
"This man seems good to the king".
  • agent object dative: in combination with the gerundive, it is used to indicate the action doer:
Haec nōbīs agenda sunt
"These things must be done by us"
  • beneficial dative: indicates for whom the action is:
Graecīs terrās colimus
"We till the lands for the Greeks"
  • ethical dative: it emphasizes the person interested in the action, usually with affective implications:
Quid mihi Celsus agit?
"What is Celsus doing to me?" (indicating there is a special interest)

Ablative caseEdit

In Latin, the ablative case is the most flexible of all cases. It could be summarized as being a complement of circumstances, either of place, time, etc. Several uses of the ablative case can be translated as adverbs: cum celeritate ("quickly", literally "with speed"). The ablative case merges three Proto-indoeuropean cases: the separative case, the instrumental case and the locative case.

  • place ablative: indicates the action from and/or where the action was done (note: the accusative case is used to indicate to where the action is done)
Hannibal, fīlius Hamilcaris, Carthāgine nātus est.
"Hannibal, son of Hamilcar, was born in Carthage".
Ex Graeciā ad Ītaliam nāvigāvērunt.
"They navigated from Greece to Italy".
  • separation ablative: indicates a physical separation.
Cicerō hostēs ab urbe prohibuit.
"Cicero kept the [enemy] armies away from the city".
  • instrumental ablative: indicates the instrument with which the action is done.
Mārcus pēde vexābat Corneliam quae dormīre volebat.

"Mark annoyed with his foot to Cornelia, who wanted to sleep".

  • manner ablative: indicates how the action is done.
Allobroges crebris ad Rhodanum dispositis praesidiīs cum magna cūrā et dīligentiā suōs finās tuentur.
"The Allobroges, positioning guards around the Rhône, defend their borders with vigilance and energy"[8]
  • time ablative: indicates the time frame when the action is done.
Nē quis tamen īgnōrāret, quibus in locīs Caesar exercitusque eō tempore fuissent [...]
"For no one ignore where Cesar and his army were in that time [...]"
  • absolute ablative: indicates the circunstances the action is produced.
Urbe captā, Aenēas fugit
"[One] the city [is] captured, Aeneas flees out"
  • expecting circunstances ablative: just like the absolute ablative, but the circunstances "wait" for the action.
Cum magnō clāmōre cīvium ad urbem perveniunt.
"With a great clamour, they arrive to the city by part of the population".
  • accompanying ablative: always preceded by cum ("with"), and indicates with whom the action is done.
Egō et Iūlia cum nostris amīcis de amīcitia dicebamus.
"Julia and I were talking about friendship with our friends".
  • separation ablative: indicates the whole making up part of a number, preceded by ē/ex ("from").
Centum ex viris mortem dice timēbant et nihil clementiae exspectābant.
"One hundred of our men feared death for a long time, and the did not expect any clemency".
  • agent ablative: indicates the action doer within a passive voice sentence. If the agent is a person, it should be preceded by ā/ab ("by")
Atticus adoptātus est ā Caeciliō.
"Atticus was adopted by Caecilius".
Populus mīlitiā atque inopiā urgēbātur.
"The people were overwhelmed by the military and misery".
  • comparison ablative: the second part of a comparison is declined in ablative.
Vīlius argentum est aurō, virtūtibus aurum.
"Silver is less valious than gold, and gold [is less valious] than virtue".
  • cause ablative: indicates the action cause.
Clāmāre gaudiō coepit.
"He started shouting of joy".
  • difference degree ablative: indicates the degree two or more things are different.
Puella multō prudentior est puerō.
"The girl is much more prudent than the boy".
  • description ablative: similar to description genitive; indicates a noun quality.
Philosophus magnā sapientiā.
"A greatly wise philosopher". (literally "with a great wisdom")
  • specification ablative: gives more specific information about the latter word.
Corpore senex esse poterit, animō numquam erit.
"He may be old in body, but he will never be old in spirit".
  • price ablative: similar to price genitive, which indicates a thing's price.
Antōnius rienda addixit pecūniā.
"Marcus Antonius sold thrones for money".[9]


It expresses the place where an action is performed. In early Latin the locative case had extensive use, but in Classical Latin the locative case was very rarely used, applying only to the names of cities and small islands and to a few other isolated words. For this purpose, the Romans considered all the islands they would know (in most of cases, European islands) to be small except for Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Crete, Cyprus, Britain and Ireland; in general, small island cities like Ithaca and Thēra would be the only ones using the locative case. Much of the case's function had been absorbed into the ablative. In the first and second declension singular, the locative is identical to the genitive singular, and in the third declension singular it is identical to the dative singular. For plural nouns of all declensions, the locative is also identical to the ablative. The few fourth- and fifth-declension place names would also use the ablative form for the locative case. However, a few nouns use the locative instead of a preposition: bellumbellī 'at war'; domusdomī 'at home'; rūsrūrī 'in the country'; humushumī 'on the ground'; mīlitiamīlitiae 'in military service, in the field'; focusfocī 'at the hearth', 'at the center of the community'. In archaic times, the locative singular of third declension nouns was interchangeable between the ablative and dative but, in the Augustan period, the use of the dative became fixed. The locative cannot express being located at multiple locations; plural forms only exist because certain proper names such as Athēnae happen to be plural (pluralia tantum). "[He/She/It] is at home" can be expressed by "Est domī" using the locative, but "They are at their (individual and separate) homes" cannot be expressed by the locative (Sunt in domibus suī). Adjectives do not have the locative form case.[10]

Locative case by declension Comments
Singular Plural
1st declension Rōmae -ae Athēnīs -īs In singular same as genitive.
In plural, same as ablative.
2nd declension
Corinthī Delphīs
3rd declension Carthāgine
-ī, -e Trallibus -ibus Same as dative and ablative.
4th declension portū

5th declension diē
Special nouns domī
rūrī, rūre
-ī, -e


Syncretism, where one form in a paradigm shares the ending of another form in the paradigm, is common in Latin. The following are the most notable patterns of syncretism:


  • For pure Latin neuter nouns, the nominative singular, vocative singular, and accusative singular are identical; and the nominative plural, vocative plural, and accusative plural all end in -a (both of these features are inherited from Proto-Indo-European, and so are not true syncretism as the case endings were never attested as separate in the first place).


  • The vocative form is always the same as the nominative in the plural, and usually the same as the nominative in the singular except for second-declension masculine nouns ending in -us and a few nouns of Greek origin. For example, the vocative of the first-declension Aenēās is Aenēā.
  • The genitive singular is the same as the nominative plural in first-, second-, and fourth-declension masculine and feminine pure Latin nouns.
  • The dative singular is the same as the genitive singular in first- and fifth-declension pure Latin nouns.
  • The dative is always the same as the ablative in the plural, and in the singular in the second declension, the third-declension full i-stems (i.e. neuter i-stems, adjectives), and fourth-declension neuters.
  • The dative, ablative, and locative are always identical in the plural.
  • The locative is identical to the ablative in the fourth and fifth declensions.

History of casesEdit

Old Latin had essentially two patterns of endings. One pattern was shared by the first and second declensions, which derived from the Proto-Indo-European thematic declension. The other pattern was used by the third, fourth and fifth declensions, and derived from the athematic PIE declension.


There are two principal parts for Latin nouns: the nominative singular and the genitive singular. Each declension can be unequivocally identified by the ending of the genitive singular (-ae, -i, -is, -ūs, -ei). The stem of the noun can be identified by the form of the genitive singular as well.

There are five declensions for Latin nouns:

First declension (a stems)Edit

Nouns of this declension usually end in -a in the nominative singular and are mostly feminine, e.g. via, viae f. ('road') and aqua, aquae f. ('water'). There is a small class of masculine exceptions generally referring to occupations, e.g. poēta, poētae m. ('poet'), agricola, agricolae m. ('farmer') and nauta, nautae m. ('sailor').

The predominant letter in the ending forms of this declension is a. The nominative singular form consists of the stem and the ending -a, and the genitive singular form is the stem plus -ae.

First declension paradigm
Singular Plural
Nominative -a -ae
Accusative -am -ās
Genitive -ae -ārum
Dative -īs
familia, familiae [i]
family, household f.
poēta, poētae
poet m.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative familia familiae poēta poētae
Accusative familiam familiās poētam poētās
Genitive familiae[ii] familiārum poētae poētārum
Dative familiīs poētīs
Ablative familiā poētā
  1. ^ According to Richard Saller, “[f]amilia was never used to mean ‘father, mother and children’ in our sense of ‘family’ today. It did have a technical, legal usage akin to ‘family’, but in common parlance most often meant ‘slave staff’, exclusive of the master's family.... The usual word for ‘family’ in the classical period was Mla   domus, which carried the general sense of ‘household’ including domestic slaves.” Saller, Richard, Slavery and the Roman Family, in Finley, Moses I., ed., Classical Slavery London: Frank Cass, cloth 1987 & 2000 (same ed.), reprinted 1999 ISBN 0-7146-3320-8, p. 84.
  2. ^ The archaic genitive ending in -ai (as in aquai) occurs occasionally in Virgil and Lucretius, to evoke the style of older writers. Plus, the archaic genitive ending in -ās is used in expressions like pater familiās (also possible in conjunction with māter, fīlius and fīlia).

The locative endings for the first declension are -ae (singular) and -īs (plural), similar to the genitive singular and ablative plural, as in mīlitiae 'in war' and Athēnīs 'at Athens'.[11]

First declension Greek nounsEdit

The first declension also includes three types of Greek loanwords, derived from Ancient Greek's Alpha Declension. They are declined irregularly in the singular, but sometimes treated as native Latin nouns, e.g. nominative athlēta ('athlete') instead of the original athlētēs. Archaic (Homeric) first declension Greek nouns and adjectives had been formed in exactly the same way as in Latin: nephelēgeréta Zeus ('Zeus the cloud-gatherer') had in classical Greek become nephelēgerétēs.

For full paradigm tables and more detailed information, see the Wiktionary appendix First declension.

Second declension (o stems)Edit

The second declension is a large group of nouns consisting of mostly masculine nouns like equus, equī ('horse') and puer, puerī ('boy') and neuter nouns like castellum, castellī ('fort'). There are several small groups of feminine exceptions, including names of gemstones, plants, trees, and some towns and cities.

In the nominative singular, most masculine nouns consist of the stem and the ending -us, although some end in -er, which is not necessarily attached to the complete stem. Neuter nouns generally have a nominative singular consisting of the stem and the ending -um. However, every second-declension noun has the ending attached as a suffix to the root of the noun in the genitive singular form. The predominant letter in the ending forms of this declension is o.

Second declension paradigm
Masculine Neuter
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative -us -um -a
Vocative -e
Accusative -um -ōs
Genitive -ōrum -ōrum
Dative -īs -īs
dominus, dominī
master m.
Singular Plural
Nominative dominus dominī
Vocative domine
Accusative dominum dominōs
Genitive dominī dominōrum
Dative dominō dominīs
bellum, bellī
war n.
Singular Plural
Nominative bellum bella
Genitive bellī bellōrum
Dative bellō bellīs

The locative endings for the second declension are (singular) and -īs (plural); Corinthī "at Corinth", Mediōlānī "at Milan", and Philippīs "at Philippi".[12]

Second-declension -ius and -ium nounsEdit

Nouns ending in -ius and -ium have a genitive singular in in earlier Latin, which was regularized to -iī in the later language. Masculine nouns in -ius have a vocative singular in at all stages. These forms in are stressed on the same syllable as the nominative singular, sometimes in violation of the usual Latin stress rule. For example, the genitive and vocative singular Vergilī (from Vergilius) is pronounced Vergílī, with stress on the penult, even though it is short.[13] In Old Latin, however, the vocative was declined regularly, using -ie instead, e.g. fīlie "[Oh] son", archaic vocative of fīlius.

There is no contraction of -iī(s) in plural forms and in the locative.

fīlius, filiī
son m.
auxilium, auxiliī
aid, help n.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative fīlius fīliī auxilium auxilia
Vocative fīlī
Accusative fīlium fīliōs
Genitive fīliī fīliōrum auxiliī auxiliōrum
Dative fīliō fīliīs auxiliō auxiliīs

In the older language, nouns ending with -vus, -quus and -vum take o rather than u in the nominative and accusative singular. For example, servus, servī ('slave') could be servos, accusative servom.

Second-declension -r nounsEdit

Some masculine nouns of the second declension end in -er or -ir in the nominative singular. For such nouns, the genitive singular must be learned to see if the e is dropped. For example, socer, socerī ('father-in-law') keeps its e. However, the noun magister, magistrī ('teacher') drops its e in the genitive singular. Nouns with -ir in the nominative singular, such as triumvir, never drop the i.

The declension of second-declension -r nouns is identical to that of the regular second declension, being the vocative suffix -e optional.

For declension tables of second-declension nouns, see the corresponding Wiktionary appendix.

puer, puerī
boy m.
ager, agrī
field m.
vir, virī
man m.
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative puer puerī ager agrī vir virī
Vocative puer
Accusative puerum puerōs agrum agrōs virum virōs
Genitive puerī puerōrum agrī agrōrum virī virōrum
Dative puerō puerīs agrō agrīs virō virīs

Second-declension Greek nounsEdit

The second declension contains two types of masculine Greek nouns and one form of neuter Greek noun. These nouns are irregular only in the singular, as are their first-declension counterparts. Greek nouns in the second declension are derived from the Omicron declension.

Some Greek nouns may also be declined as normal Latin nouns. For example, theātron can appear as theātrum.

Irregular formsEdit


The inflection of deus, deī ('god') is irregular. The vocative singular of deus is not attested in Classical Latin. In Ecclesiastical Latin the vocative of Deus ('God') is Deus.

In poetry, -um may substitute -ōrum as the genitive plural ending.

deus, deī
god m.
Singular Plural
Nominative deus deī
Accusative deum deōs
Genitive deī deōrum
Dative deō deīs

The Latin word vīrus (the ī indicates a long i) means "1. slimy liquid, slime; 2. poison, venom", denoting the venom of a snake. This Latin word is probably related to the Greek ῑ̓ός (ios) meaning "venom" or "rust" and the Sanskrit word विष viṣa meaning "toxic, poison".[14]

Since vīrus in antiquity denoted something uncountable, it was a mass noun. Mass nouns pluralize only under special circumstances, hence the non-existence of plural forms in the texts.[15]

In Neo-Latin, a plural form is necessary in order to express the modern concept of ‘viruses’, which leads to the following declension:[16][17][18]

vīrus, vīrī
poison, venom, virus n.
Singular Plural
Nominative vīrus vīra
Genitive vīrī[i] vīrōrum
Dative vīrō vīrīs
  1. ^ antique, heteroclitic: vīrus

Third declension (i and consonant stems)Edit

The third declension is the largest group of nouns. The nominative singular of these nouns may end in -a,-e, , , -y, -c, -l, -n, -r, -s, -t, or -x. This group of nouns includes masculine, neuter, and feminine nouns. Examples are flūmen, flūminis n. ('river'), flōs, flōris m. ('flower'), and pāx, pācis f. ('peace'). Each noun has the ending -is as a suffix attached to the root of the noun in the genitive singular form. Masculine, feminine and neuter nouns each have their own special nominative singular endings. For instance, many masculine nouns end in -or (amor, amōris, 'love'). Many feminine nouns end in -īx (phoenīx, phoenīcis, 'phoenix'), and many neuter nouns end in -us with an r stem in the oblique cases (onus, oneris 'burden'; tempus, temporis 'time').

Third declension paradigm
(i and consonant stems)
Masculine &
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative -ēs -a
Accusative -em
Genitive -is -um -is -um
Dative -ibus -ibus
Ablative -e -e
dux, ducis
leader m.
virtūs, virtūtis
virtue f.
nōmen, nōminis
name n.
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative dux -s[i] ducēs -ēs virtūs -s[i] virtūtēs -ēs nōmen [i][ii] nōmina -a
Accusative ducem -em virtūtem -em
Genitive ducis -is ducum -um virtūtis -is virtūtum -um nōminis -is nōminum -um
Dative ducī ducibus -ibus virtūtī virtūtibus -ibus nōminī nōminibus -ibus
Ablative duce -e virtūte -e nōmine -e
  1. ^ a b c The nominative singular is formed in one of four ways: with -s, with no ending, or by one of these two with a different stem from the oblique cases. The same is true of other forms that are the same as the nominative singular: the vocative singular and the neuter accusative singular.
  2. ^ The nominative and accusative of neuter nouns are always identical. It should not be assumed that -en is always the appropriate ending, as it might appear above.

The locative endings for the third declension are or -e (singular) and -ibus (plural), as in rūrī 'in the country' and Trallibus 'at Tralles'.[19]

Third declension i-stem nounsEdit

The third declension also has a set of nouns that are declined differently. They are called i-stems. i-stems are broken into two subcategories: pure and mixed. Pure i-stems are indicated by the parisyllabic rule or special neuter endings. Mixed i-stems are indicated by the double consonant rule.

Masculine and feminine
Parisyllabic rule: Some masculine and feminine third-declension i-stem nouns have the same number of syllables in the genitive as they do in the nominative. For example: amnis, amnis ('stream'). The nominative ends in -is.
Double consonant rule: The rest of the masculine and feminine third-declension i-stem nouns have two consonants before the -is in the genitive singular. For example: pars, partis ('part').
Special neuter ending: Neuter third-declension i-stems have no rule. However, all of them end in -al, -ar or -e. For example: animal, animālis ('animal'); cochlear, cochleāris ('spoon'); mare, maris ('sea').

Pure i-stems may exhibit peculiar endings in both singular and plural. Mixed i-stems employ normal (consonant) 3rd declension endings in the singular but i-stem endings in the plural.

Third declension paradigm
(i-stem nouns)
Masculine &
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative -ēs -ia
Accusative -em
Genitive -is -um
-is -um
Dative -ibus -ibus
Ablative -e
amnis, amnis
stream, torrent m. (pure)
pars, partis
part, piece f. (mixed)
animal, animālis
animal, living being n. (pure)
Parisyllabic rule Double consonant rule Special neuter ending
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative amnis[i] amnēs pars[i] partēs animal[i] animālia
Accusative amnem
Genitive amnis amnium partis partium animālis animālium
Dative amnī amnibus partī partibus animālī animālibus
Ablative amne
  1. ^ a b c The nominative singular is formed in one of four ways: with -s, with no ending, or by one of these two with a different stem from the oblique cases. The same is true of other forms that are the same as the nominative singular: the vocative singular and the neuter accusative singular.

The rules for determining i-stems from non-i-stems and mixed i-stems should be thought of more as guidelines than rules: even among the Romans themselves, the categorization of a third-declension word as an i-stem or non-i-stem was quite fluid. The result is that many words that should be i-stems according to the parisyllabic and consonant stem rules actually are not, such as canis ('dog') or iuvenis ('youth'). By the parisyllabic rule, canis should be a masculine i-stem and thus differ from the non-i-stems by having an extra -i- in the plural genitive form: *canium. In reality, the plural genitive of canis is canum, the form of a non-i-stem. This fluidity even in Roman times results in much more uncertainty in Medieval Latin, as scholars were trying to imitate what was fluid to begin with.


In the third declension, there are four irregular nouns.

Case vīs, vīs
force, power f.
sūs, suis
swine, pig, hog m.f.
bōs, bovis
ox, bullock m.f.
Iuppiter, Iovis
Jupiter m.
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular
Nominative vīs vīrēs sūs suēs bōs[i] bovēs Iuppiter
Accusative vim vīrēs
suem bovem Iovem
Genitive vīs[ii] vīrium suis suum bovis boum
Dative [ii] vīribus suī suibus
bovī bōbus
Ablative sue bove Iove
  1. ^ a b c Here ō or ū come from Old Latin ou. Thus bō-/bū- and Iū- before consonant endings are alternate developments of the bov- and Iov- before vowel endings. The double pp in the preferred form Iuppiter 'Father Jove' is assimilated from the etymological form Iūs piter. i is weakened from a in pater (Allen and Greenough, sect. 79 b).
  2. ^ a b Genitive and dative cases are seldom used.

Fourth declension (u stems)Edit

The fourth declension is a group of nouns consisting of mostly masculine words such as fluctus, fluctūs m. ('wave') and portus, portūs m. ('port') with a few feminine exceptions, including manus, manūs f. ('hand'). The fourth declension also includes several neuter nouns including genū, genūs n. ('knee'). Each noun has the ending -ūs as a suffix attached to the root of the noun in the genitive singular form. The predominant letter in the ending forms of this declension is u, but the declension is otherwise very similar to the third-declension i stems.

Fourth declension paradigm
-us ending nouns ending nouns
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative -us -ūs -ua
Accusative -um
Genitive -ūs -uum -ūs
Dative -uī -ibus -uī
portus, portūs
port, haven, harbor m.
cornū, cornūs
horn n.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative portus portūs cornū cornua
Accusative portum
Genitive portūs portuum cornūs
Dative portuī portibus cornuī
Ablative portū cornū

In the dative and ablative plural, -ibus is sometimes replaced with -ubus. This is so for only a few nouns, such as artūs pl., ('limbs').

The locative endings for the fourth declension are (singular), and probably (singular) as well; senātī "at [the] senate", domī "at home".

Domus ('house, dwelling, building, home, native place, family, household, race')[i] is an irregular noun, mixing fourth and second declension nouns at the same time (especially in literature). However, in practice, it is generally declined as a regular -us stem fourth declension noun (except by the ablative singular and accusative plural, using and -ōs instead).[20]

domus, domūs/domī f.
All possible declensions
Singular Plural
Nominative domus domūs
Accusative domum domūs
Genitive domūs
Dative domuī
Ablative domū
domus, domūs f.
Most common paradigm
Singular Plural
Nominative domus domūs
Accusative domum domōs
Genitive domūs domuum
Dative domuī domibus
Ablative domō
  1. ^ According to Richard Saller, “[f]amilia was never used to mean ‘father, mother and children’ in our sense of ‘family’ today. It did have a technical, legal usage akin to ‘family’, but in common parlance most often meant ‘slave staff’, exclusive of the master's family.... The usual word for ‘family’ in the classical period was Mla   domus, which carried the general sense of ‘household’ including domestic slaves.” Saller, Richard, Slavery and the Roman Family, in Finley, Moses I., ed., Classical Slavery London: Frank Cass, cloth 1987 & 2000 (same ed.), reprinted 1999 ISBN 0-7146-3320-8, p. 84.

Fifth declension (e stems)Edit

The fifth declension is a small group of nouns consisting of mostly feminine nouns like rēs, reī f. ('affair, matter, thing') and diēs, diēī m. ('day'; but f. in names of days). Each noun has either the ending -ēī or -eī as a suffix attached to the root of the noun in the genitive singular form.

Fifth declension paradigm
-iēs ending nouns -ēs ending nouns
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative -iēs -iēs -ēs -ēs
Accusative -iem -em
Genitive -iēī -iērum -eī -ērum
Dative -iēbus -ēbus
Ablative -iē
diēs, diēī
day m., f.
rēs, reī
thing f.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative diēs diēs rēs rēs
Accusative diem rem
Genitive diēī diērum reī rērum
Dative diēbus rēbus
Ablative diē

Nouns ending in -iēs have long ēī in the dative and genitive, while nouns ending in a consonant + -ēs have short in these cases.

The locative ending of the fifth declension was (singular only), identical to the ablative singular, as in hodiē ('today').


Personal pronounsEdit

The first and second persons are irregular, and both pronouns are indeclinable for gender; and the third person reflexive pronoun sē, suī always refers back to the subject, regardless of whether the subject is singular or plural.

First Person Second Person Third Person
ego, nōs
I, we
, vōs
sē, suī
himself, herself, itself,
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative ego
nōs vōs
Genitive meī nostrī,
tuī vestrī,
Dative mihi nōbīs tibi vōbīs sibi

The genitive forms meī, tuī, nostrī, vestrī, suī are used as complements in certain grammatical constructions, whereas nostrum, vestrum are used with a partitive meaning ('[one] of us', '[one] of you'). To express possession, the possessive pronouns (essentially adjectives) meus, tuus, noster, vester are used, declined in the first and second declensions to agree in number and case with the thing possessed, e.g. pater meus 'my father', māter mea 'my mother'. The vocative singular masculine of meus is : mī Attice 'my dear Atticus'.[21]

Possessive pronouns declensionsEdit

meus, mea, meum
my, mine
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative meus mea meum meī meae mea
Accusative meum meam meōs meās
Genitive meī meae meī meōrum meārum meōrum
Dative meō meō meīs
Ablative meā
tuus, tua, tuum
your, yours (for singular possessor)
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative tuus tua tuum tuī tuae tua
Vocative tue
Accusative tuum tuam tuōs tuās
Genitive tuī tuae tuī tuōrum tuārum tuōrum
Dative tuō tuō tuīs
Ablative tuā
suus, sua, suum
his, her, its, theirs (reflexive)
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative suus sua suum suī suae sua
Vocative sue
Accusative suum suam suōs suās
Genitive suī suae suī suōrum suārum suōrum
Dative suō suō suīs
Ablative suā
noster, nostra, nostrum
our, ours
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative noster nostra nostrum nostrī nostrae nostra
Accusative nostrum nostram nostrōs nostrās
Genitive nostrī nostrae nostrī nostrōrum nostrārum nostrōrum
Dative nostrō nostrō nostrīs
Ablative nostrā

The possessive adjective vester has an archaic variant, voster; similar to noster.

vester, vestra, vestrum
voster, vostra, vostrum
your, yours (for plural possessor)
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative vester
Accusative vestrum
Genitive vestrī
Dative vestrō
Ablative vestrā

Usually, to show the ablative of accompaniment, cum would be added to the ablative form. However, with personal pronouns (first and second person), the reflexive and the interrogative, -cum is added onto the end of the ablative form. That is: mēcum 'with me', nōbīscum 'with us', tēcum 'with you', vōbīscum, sēcum and quōcum (sometimes quīcum).

Pronouns have also an emphatic form bi using the suffix -met (egomet, tūte/tūtemet, nosmet, vosmet), used in all cases, except by the genitive plural forms.

In accusative case, the forms mēmē and tētē exist as emphatic, but they are not widely used.

Sē, suī has a possessive adjective: suus, sua, suum, meaning 'his/her/its/their own':

Patrem suum numquam vīderat. (Cicero)[22]
"He had never seen his [own] father."

When 'his' or 'her' refers to someone else, not the subject, the genitive pronoun eius (as well as eōrum and eārum) 'of him' is used instead of suus:

Fit obviam Clodiō ante fundum eius. (Cicero)[23]
"He met Clodius in front of the latter's farm."

When one sentence is embedded inside another with a different subject, and suus can refer to either subject:

Patrēs conscrīptī ... lēgātōs in Bīthȳniam miserunt quī ab rēge peterent, nē inimīcissimum suum secum haberet sibique dēderet. (Nepos)[24]
"The senators ... sent ambassadors to Bithynia, who were to ask the king not to keep their greatest enemy with him but hand him over to them."

For the third-person pronoun is 'he', see below.

Demonstrative pronouns and adjectivesEdit

Relative, demonstrative and indefinite pronouns are generally declined like first and second declension adjectives, with the following differences:

  • the nominatives are often irregular
  • the genitive singular ends in -īus rather than -ae or .
  • the dative singular ends in : rather than -ae or .

These differences characterize the pronominal declension, and a few special adjectives (tōtus 'whole', sōlus 'alone', ūnus 'one', nūllus 'no', alius 'another', alter 'another [of two]', etc.) are also declined according to this pattern.

All demonstrative, relative, and indefinite pronouns in Latin can also be used adjectivally, with some small differences; for example in the interrogative pronoun, quis 'who?' and quid 'what?' are usually used for the pronominal form, quī and quod 'which?' for the adjectival form.

Third person pronounEdit

The weak demonstrative pronoun is, ea, id 'that' also serves as the third person pronoun 'he, she, it':

Third person
is, ea, id
he, she, it
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative is ea id
eae ea
Accusative eum eam eōs eās
Genitive eius eōrum eārum eōrum
Dative eīs

This pronoun is also often used adjectivally, e.g. is homo 'that man', ea pecunia 'that money'. It has no possessive adjective; the genitive is used instead: pater eius 'his/her father'; pater eōrum 'their father'.

Declension of īdemEdit

The pronoun or pronominal adjective īdem, eadem, idem means 'the same'. It is derived from is with the suffix -dem. However, some forms have been assimilated.

īdem, eadem, idem
the same, same as
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative īdem eadem idem eīdem
eaedem eadem
Accusative eundem eandem eōsdem eāsdem
Genitive eiusdem eōrundem eārundem eōrundem
Dative eīdem eīsdem
Ablative eōdem eādem eōdem

Other demonstrative pronounsEdit

hic, haec, hoc
this, this one (proximal)
ille, illa, illud
that, that one (distal)
iste, ista, istud
that of yours (medial)
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative hic haec hoc hae haec ille illa illud illī illae illa iste ista istud istī istae ista
Accusative hunc hanc hōs hās illum illam illōs illās istum istam istōs istās
Genitive huius[i] hōrum hārum hōrum illīus illōrum illārum illōrum istīus istōrum istārum istōrum
Dative huic hīs illī illīs istī istīs
Ablative hōc hāc hōc illō illā illō istō istā istō
  1. ^ Sometimes spelled hūius. Here, the macron indicates that the syllable is long or heavy, because the consonantal i between vowels is pronounced double, like *huiius, and the doubled consonant makes the first syllable heavy.[citation needed]

Similar in declension is alius, alia, aliud 'another'.

Intensive pronounEdit

ipse, ipsa, ipsum
himself, herself, itself
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative ipse ipsa ipsum ipsi ipsae ipsa
Accusative ipsum ipsam ipsōs ipsās
Genitive ipsīus ipsōrum ipsārum ipsōrum
Dative ipsī ipsīs
Ablative ipsō ipsā ipsō

Interrogative pronounsEdit

The interrogative pronouns are used strictly for asking questions. They are distinct from the relative pronoun and the interrogative adjective (which is declined like the relative pronoun). Interrogative pronouns rarely occur in the plural. The plural interrogative pronouns are the same as the plural relative pronouns.

quis? quid?
who?, what?
Masculine &
Nominative quis? quid?
Accusative quem?
Genitive cuius?[i]
Dative cuī?
Ablative quō?

Relative pronounsEdit

quī, quae, quod
who, which, that
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative quī quae quod quī quae quae
Accusative quem quam quōs quās
Genitive cuius[i] quōrum quārum quōrum
Dative cuī quibus
Ablative quō quā quō
  1. ^ a b Sometimes spelled cūius. Here, the macron indicates that the syllable is long or heavy, because the consonantal i between vowels is pronounced double, like *cuiius, and the doubled consonant makes the first syllable heavy.[citation needed]


Correlatives are the corresponding demonstrative, relative, interrogative, and indefinite forms of pronouns, pronominal adjectives, and adverbs. These are shown below:[25]

Demonstrative Relative Interrogative Indefinite relative Indefinite
or t-[26]
qu-, c-, u- reduplicated
or -cumque
aliqu-, alic-
basic is quī quis quisquis aliquis
number tantus quantus quantuscumque aliquantus
type tālis quālis quāliscumque (aliquālis)
place where ibi ubi ubiubi alicubi
place to, whither quō quōquō aliquō
manner quā quāquā aliquā
place from, whence inde unde undecumque alicunde
time tum cum quandō quandōcumque aliquandō
counting tot quot quotquot aliquot
repetition totiēns quotiēns quotiēnscumque aliquotiēns


First- and second-declension adjectivesEdit

First- and second-declension adjective are inflected in the masculine, the feminine and the neuter; the masculine form typically ends in -us (although some end in -er, see below), the feminine form ends in -a, and the neuter form ends in -um. Therefore, some adjectives are given like altus, alta, altum.

It is important noticing that -ius ending adjectives use the vocative -ie (ebrie, "[Oh] drunk man", vocative of ebrius), just as in Old Latin all -ius nouns did (fīlie, "[Oh] son", archaic vocative of fīlius).

altus, alta, altum
high, long, tall
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative altus alta altum altī altae alta
Vocative alte
Accusative altum altam altōs altās
Genitive altī altae altī altōrum altārum altōrum
Dative altō altō altīs
Ablative altā
sōlitārius, sōlitāria, sōlitārium
solitary, lonely
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative sōlitārius sōlitāria sōlitārium sōlitāriī sōlitāriae sōlitāria
Vocative sōlitārie
Accusative sōlitārium sōlitāriam sōlitāriōs sōlitāriās
Genitive sōlitāriī sōlitāriae sōlitāriī sōlitāriōrum sōlitāriārum sōlitāriōrum
Dative sōlitāriō sōlitāriō sōlitāriīs
Ablative sōlitāriā

First- and second-declension -r adjectivesEdit

Some first- and second-declension adjectives' masculine form end in -er. As with second-declension -r nouns, some adjectives retain the e throughout inflection, and some omit it. Sacer, sacra, sacrum omits its e while miser, misera, miserum keeps it.

miser, misera, miserum
sad, poor, unhappy
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative miser misera miserum miserī miserae misera
Accusative miserum miseram miserōs miserās
Genitive miserī miserae miserī miserōrum miserārum miserōrum
Dative miserō miserō miserīs
Ablative miserā
sacer, sacra, sacrum
sacred, holy
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative sacer sacra sacrum sacrī sacrae sacra
Accusative sacrum sacram sacrōs sacrās
Genitive sacrī sacrae sacrī sacrōrum sacrārum sacrōrum
Dative sacrō sacrō sacrīs
Ablative sacrā

First and second declension pronominal adjectivesEdit

Nine first and second declension pronominal adjectives are irregular in the genitive and the dative in all genders. They can be remembered by using the mnemonic acronym ūnus nauta. They are:

ūllus, ūlla, ūllum
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative ūllus ūlla ūllum ūllī ūllae ūlla
Accusative ūllum ūllam ūllōs ūllās
Genitive ūllīus ūllōrum ūllārum ūllōrum
Dative ūllī ūllīs
Ablative ūllō ūllā ūllō

Third-declension adjectivesEdit

Third-declension adjectives are normally declined like third-declension i-stem nouns, except for the fact they usually have rather than -e in the ablative singular (unlike i-stem nouns, in which only pure i-stems have ). Some adjectives, however, like the one-ending vetus, veteris ('old, aged'), have -e in the ablative singular, -um in the genitive plural, and -a in the nominative and accusative neuter plural.

Third-declension adjectives with one endingEdit

These have a single nominative ending for all genders, although as usual the endings for the other cases vary. As with nouns, a genitive is given for the purpose of showing the inflection.

atrōx, atrōx
terrible, mean, cruel
Singular Plural
Masculine &
Neuter Masculine &
Nominative atrōx atrōx atrōcēs atrōcia
Accusative atrōcem atrōcēs
Genitive atrōcis atrōcium
Dative atrōcī atrōcibus
Non-i-stem variantEdit
vetus, vetus
old, aged
Singular Plural
Masculine &
Neuter Masculine &
Nominative vetus vetus veterēs vetera
Accusative veterem
Genitive veteris veterum
Dative veterī veteribus
Ablative vetere

Third-declension adjectives with two endingsEdit

Third-declension adjectives that have two endings have one form for the masculine and feminine, and a separate form for the neuter. The ending for the masculine and feminine is -is, and the ending for the neuter is -e. It is not necessary to give the genitive, as it is the same as the nominative masculine singular.

agilis, agile
nimble, swift
Singular Plural
Masculine &
Neuter Masculine &
Nominative agilis agile agilēs agilia
Accusative agilem agilēs
Genitive agilis agilium
Dative agilī agilibus

Third-declension adjectives with three endingsEdit

Third-declension adjectives with three endings have three separate nominative forms for all three genders. Like third and second declension -r nouns, the masculine ends in -er. The feminine ends in -ris, and the neuter ends in -re. The genitive is the same as the nominative feminine singular.

celer, celeris, celere
swift, rapid, brash
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine &
Nominative celer celeris celere celerēs celeria
Accusative celerem celerem
Genitive celeris celerium
Dative celerī celeribus
alacer, alacris, alacre
lively, jovial, animated
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine &
Nominative alacer alacris alacre alacrēs alacria
Accusative alacrem alacrem alacrēs
Genitive alacris alacrium
Dative alacrī alacribus

Comparative and superlative forms of adjectivesEdit

As in English, adjectives have superlative and comparative forms. For regular first and second declension and third declension adjectives with one or two endings, the comparative is formed by adding -ior for the masculine and feminine, and -ius for the neuter to the stem. The genitives for both are formed by adding -iōris. Therefore, they are declined in the third declension, but they are not declined as i-stems. Superlatives are formed by adding -issimus, -issima, -issimum to the stem and are thus declined like first and second declension adjectives.

General pattern for comparativesEdit

altior, altius
higher, deeper (comparative of altus)
Singular Plural
Masculine &
Neuter Masculine &
Nominative altior altius altiōrēs altiōra
Accusative altiōrem
Genitive altiōris altiōrum
Dative altiōrī altiōribus
Ablative altiōre
altissimus, altissima, altissimum
highest, deepest (superlative of altus)
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative altissimus altissima altissimum altissimī altissimae altissima
Vocative altissime
Accusative altissimum altissimam altissimōs altissimās
Genitive altissimī altissimae altissimī altissimōrum altissimārum altissimōrum
Dative altissimō altissimō altissimīs
Ablative altissimā

Comparatives and superlatives with normal endingsEdit

Adjective Positive Comparative Superlative
clārus, clāra, clārum ('clear, bright, famous') clārior, clārius clārissimus, clārissima, clārissimum
frīgidus, frīgida, frīgidum ('cold, chilly') frīgidior, frīgidius frīgidissimus, frīgidissima, frīgidissimum
pugnāx, pugnāx (pugnācis) ('pugnacious') pugnācior, pugnācius pugnācissimus, pugnācissima, pugnācissimum
benevolēns, benevolēns (benevolentis) ('kind, benevolent') benevolentior, benevolentius benevolentissimus, benevolentissima, benevolentissium
fortis, forte ('strong, robust') fortior, fortius fortissimus, fortissima, fortissimum
aequālis, aequāle ('equal, even') aequālior, aequālius aequālissimus, aequālissima, aequālissimum

Comparatives and superlatives of -er adjectivesEdit

Adjectives (in the first and second as well as third declensions) that have masculine nominative singular forms ending in -er are slightly different. As with normal adjectives, the comparative is formed by adding -ior to the stem, but for the superlative, -rimus is added to the nominative masculine singular.

Adjective Positive Comparative Superlative
pulcher, pulchra, pulchrum ('pretty, beautiful') pulchrior, pulchrius pulcherrimus, pulcherrima, pulcherrimum
sacer, sacra, sacrum ('sacred, holy') sacrior, sacrius sacerrimus, sacerrima, sacerrimum
tener, tenera, tenerum ('delicate, tender') tenerior, tenerius tenerrimus, tenerrima, tenerrimum
ācer, ācris, ācre ('valliant, fierce') ācrior, ācrius ācerrimus, ācerrima, ācerrimum
celeber, celebris, celebre ('celebrated, famous') celebrior, celebrius celeberrimus, celeberrima, celeberrimum
celer, celeris, celere ('quick, fast') celerior, celerius celerrimus, celerrima, celerrimum

Comparatives and superlatives of -lis adjectivesEdit

Some third declension adjectives with two endings in -lis in the masculine–feminine nominative singular have irregular superlative forms. The following are the only adjectives that do.

Adjective Positive Comparative Superlative
facilis, facile ('easy') facilior, facilius facillimus, facillima, facillimum
difficilis, difficile ('hard, difficult') difficilior, difficilius difficillimus, difficillima, difficillimum
similis, simile ('similar, like) similior, similius simillimus, simillima, simillimum
dissimilis, dissimile ('unlike, dissimilar') dissimilior, dissimilius dissimillimus, dissimillima, dissimillimum
gracilis, gracile ('slender, slim') gracilior, gracilius gracillimus, gracillima, gracillimum
humilis, humile ('low, humble') humilior, humilius humillimus, humillima, humillimum

Comparatives and superlatives of -eus/-ius adjectivesEdit

First and second declension adjectives that end in -eus or -ius are unusual in that they do not form the comparative and superlative by taking endings at all. Instead, magis ('more') and maximē ('most'), the comparative and superlative degrees of magnoperē ('much, greatly'), respectively, are used.

Many adjectives in -uus, except those in -quus or -guus, also follow this rule.

Adjective Positive Comparative Superlative
idōneus, idōnea, idōneum ('suitable, fitting, proper') magis idōneus maximē idōneus
sōlitārius, sōlitāria, sōlitārium ('solitary, lonely') magis sōlitārius maximē sōlitārius
ebrius, ebria, ebrium ('drunk') magis ebrius maximē ebrius
meritōrius, meritōria, meritōrium ('meritorious') magis meritōrius maximē meritōrius
grāmineus, grāminea, grāmineum ('grassy') magis grāmineus maximē grāmineus
bellātōrius, bellātōria, bellātōrium ('warlike, bellicose') magis bellātōrius maximē bellātōrius
arduus, ardua, arduum ('lofty, steep') magis arduus maximē arduus

Irregular comparatives and superlativesEdit

As in most languages, Latin has adjectives that have irregular comparatives and superlatives.

Adjective Positive Comparative Superlative
bonus, bona, bonum ('good') melior, melius ('better') optimus, optima, optimum ('best')
malus, mala, malum ('bad, evil') pēior, pēius ('worse') pessimus, pessima, pessimum ('worst')
magnus, magna, magnum ('great, large') māior, māius ('greater') maximus, maxima, maximum ('greatest')
parvus, parva, parvum ('small, slight') minor, minus ('lesser') minimus, minima, minimum ('least')
multus, multa, multum ('much, many') plūs[i] ('more') plūrimus, plūrima, plūrimum ('most')
propinquus, propinqua, propinquum ('near, close') propior, propius ('nearer') proximus, proxima, proximum ('nearest, next')
mātūrus, mātūra, mātūrum ('ripe, mature') mātūrior, mātūrius ('riper') mātūrrimus, mātūrrima, mātūrrimum[ii] ('ripest')
nēquam[iii] ('worthless') nēquior, nēquius ('more worthless') nēquissimus, nēquissima, nēquissimum ('most worthless')
posterus, postera, posterum ('next, future') posterior, posterius ('later') postrēmus, postrēma, postrēmum ('last, latest')
postumus, postuma, postumum
superus, supera, superum ('above') superior, superius ('upper') suprēmus, suprēma, suprēmum ('uppermost')
summus, summa, summum
exterus, extera, exterum ('outward') exterior, exterius ('outer') extrēmus, extrēma, extrēmum ('outermost')
extimus, extima, extimum
īnferus, īnfera, īnferum ('below') īnferior, īnferius ('lower') īnfimus, īnfima, īnfimum ('lowest')
īmus, īma, īmum
senex, senis ('old, aged') senior, senius ('older, elder') senissimus, senissima, senissimum ('oldest, eldest')
iuvenis, iuvenis ('young, youthful') iuvenior, iuvenius ('younger')
iūnior, iūnius
iuvenissimus, iuvenissima, iuvenissimum ('youngest')
iūnissimus, iūnissima, iūnissimum [28][29]
  1. ^ Noun used with genitive to express more of something in the singular; in the plural used as an adjective: plūrēs, plūra, genitive plūrium.
  2. ^ Often replaced by the regular form mātūrissimus, mātūrissima, mātūrissimum.
  3. ^ Indeclinable.

Declension of numeralsEdit

There are several different kinds of numeral words in Latin: the two most common are cardinal numerals and ordinal numerals. There are also several more rare numerals, e.g., distributive numerals and adverbial numerals.

Cardinal numeralsEdit

All cardinal numerals are indeclinable, except ūnus ('one'), duo ('two'), trēs ('three'), plural hundreds ducentī ('two hundred'), trecentī ('three hundred') etc., and mīlle ('thousand'), which have cases and genders like adjectives. Ūnus, ūna, ūnum is declined like a first- and second-declension pronoun with -īus in the genitive, and in the dative. Duo is declined irregularly, trēs is declined like a third-declension plural adjective, -centī ('hundred') numerals decline like first- and second-declension adjectives, and mille is invariable in the singular and declined like a third-declension i-stem neuter noun in the plural:

The existence of plural endings for ūnus might seem unnecessary; however, they are used with pluralia tantum nouns, e. g. ūna castra (one [military] camp), ūnae scālae (one ladder).

ūnus, ūna, ūnum
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative ūnus ūna ūnum ūnī ūnae ūna
Vocative ūne
Accusative ūnum ūnam ūnōs ūnās
Genitive ūnīus ūnōrum ūnārum ūnōrum
Dative ūnī ūnīs
Ablative ūnō ūnā ūnō

The word ambō ('both'), is declined like duo except that its o is long. Both declensions derive from the Indo-European dual number, otherwise defunct in Latin, rather than the plural.

duo, duae, duo
Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative duo duae duo
Accusative duōs
Genitive duōrum duārum duōrum
Dative duōbus duābus duōbus
ambō, ambae, ambō
Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative ambō ambae ambō
Accusative ambōs
Genitive ambōrum ambārum ambōrum
Dative ambōbus ambābus ambōbus
trēs, tria
Masculine &
Nominative trēs tria
Accusative trēs
Genitive trium
Dative tribus

The numeral centum ('one hundred') is indeclinable, but all the other hundred numerals are declinable.

ducentī, ducentae, ducenta
two hundred
Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative ducentī ducentae ducenta
Accusative ducentōs ducentās
Genitive ducentōrum ducentārum ducentōrum
Dative ducentīs

The word mīlle 'thousand' is a singular indeclinable adjective. However, its plural, mīlia, is a plural third-declension i-stem neuter noun. To write the phrase "four thousand horses" in Latin, the genitive is used: quattuor mīlia equōrum, literally, "four thousands of horses".

(one) thousand
mīlia, mīlium
x thousand,
Nominative mīlle mīlia
Genitive mīlium
Dative mīlibus

The rest of the numbers are indeclinable whether used as adjectives or as nouns.

For further information on the different sets of Latin numerals, see Latin numerals (linguistics).

Adverbs and their comparatives and superlativesEdit

Adverbs are not declined. However, adverbs must be formed if one wants to make an adjective into an adverb.

Adverbs from first- and second-declension adjectivesEdit

First and second declension adjectives' adverbs are formed by adding onto their stems.

Adjective Adverb
clārus, clāra, clārum ('clear, famous') clārē ('clearly, famously')
validus, valida, validum ('strong, robust') validē ('strongly, robustly')
īnfīrmus, īnfīrma, īnfīrmum ('weak') īnfīrmē ('weakly')
solidus, solida, solidum ('complete, firm') solidē ('completely, firmly')
integer, integra, integrum ('whole, fresh') integrē ('wholly, freshly')
līber, lībera, līberum ('free') līberē ('freely')

Adverbs from third declension adjectivesEdit

Typically, third declension adjectives' adverbs are formed by adding -iter to the stem. However, most third declension adjectives with one ending simply add -er to the stem.

Adjective Adverb
prūdēns, prūdēns (prūdentis) ('prudent') prūdenter ('prudently')
audāx, audāx (audācis) ('bold') audācter ('boldly')
virilis, virile ('courageous, spirited') viriliter ('courageously, spiritedly')
salūbris, salūbre ('wholesome') salūbriter ('wholesomely')

Comparative and superlative of adverbsEdit

Adverbs' comparative forms are identical to the nominative neuter singular of the corresponding comparative adjective. Adverbs' superlative forms are simply formed by attaching the regular ending to the corresponding superlative adjective. As with their corresponding adjectival forms, first and second declensions adjectives ending in -eus or -ius use magis and maximē as opposed to distinct endings.

Positive Comparative Superlative
clārē ('clearly, famously') clārius clārissimē
solidē ('completely, firmly') solidius solidissimē
idōneē ('suitably, properly') magis idōneē maximē idōneē
prudenter ('prudently') prudentius prudentissimē
salūbriter ('wholesomely') salūbrius salūbrissimē

Irregular adverbs and their comparative and superlative formsEdit

As with adjectives, there are irregular adverbs with peculiar comparative and superlative forms.

Positive Comparative Superlative
bene ('well') melius ('better') optimē ('best')
male ('badly, ill') peius ('worse') pessimē ('worst')
magnopere ('greatly') magis ('more') maximē ('most')
multum ('much, a lot') plūs ('more') plūrimum ('most')
parvum ('little') minus ('less') minimē ('least')
nēquiter ('worthlessly') nēquius ('more worthlessly') nēquissimē ('most worthlessly')
saepe ('often') saepius ('more often') saepissimē ('most often')
mātūrē ('seasonably, betimes') mātūrius ('more seasonably') māturrimē ('most seasonably')
prope ('near') propius ('nearer') proximē ('nearest, next')
nūper ('recently') nūperrimē ('most recently, previously')
potis ('possible') potius ('rather') potissimē ('especially')
prius ('before, previously') prīmō ('first')
secus ('otherwise') sētius
sequius ('less')

Peculiarities within declensionEdit

Irregularity in numberEdit

Some nouns are only used in the singular (singulare tantum) such as:

  • materials, such as aurum ('gold') and aes ('copper, bronze')
  • abstract nouns, such as celeritās ('speed') and scientia ('knowledge)

Some nouns are only used in the plural (plurale tantum) such as:

Indeclinable nounsEdit

Indeclinable nouns are nouns which only have one form in all cases (of the singular).

Heterogeneous nounsEdit

Heterogeneous nouns are nouns which vary in respect to gender.

  • A few nouns in the second declension occur in both the neuter and masculine. However, their meanings remain the same.
  • Some nouns are one gender in the singular, but become another gender in the plural. They may also change in meaning.
Singular Plural
balneum n. ('bath') balneae f. or balnea n. ('bathhouse')
epulum n. ('feast, banquet') epulae f. ('feast, banquet')
frēnum n. ('bridle, curb') frēnī m. bridle, curb
iocus m. ('joke, jest') ioca n. or ioci m. ('jokes, fun')
locus m. ('place, location') loca n. ('region'); locī m. ('places in books, arguments')
rāstrum n. ('hoe, rake') rāstrī m. ('hoes, rakes')

Plurals with alternative meaningsEdit

Singular Plural
aedēs, aedis f. ('building, temple') aedēs, aedium ('rooms, house')
auxilium, auxiliī n. ('help, aid') auxilia, auxiliōrum ('auxiliary troops')
carcer, carceris m. ('prison, cell') carcerēs, carcerum ('starting traps')
castrum, castrī n. ('fort, castle, fortress') castra, castrōrum ('military camp, encampment')
cōpia, copiae f. ('plenty, much, abundance') cōpiae, copiārum ('troops')
fortūna, fortūnae f. ('luck, chance') fortūnae, fortūnārum ('wealth, fortune')
grātia, grātiae f. ('charm, favor') grātiae, grātiārum ('thanks')
impedīmentum, impedīmentī m. ('impediment, hindrance') impedīmenta, impedīmentōrum ('baggage, baggage train')
littera, litterae f. ('letter [alphabet]') litterae, litterārum ('letter [message], epistle, scholarship, literature')
mōs, mōris m. ('habit, inclination') mōrēs, mōrum m. ('morals, character')
opera, operae f. ('trouble, pains') operae, operārum m. ('workmen')
*ops, opis f.[i] ('help') opēs, opium ('resources, wealth')
pars, partis f. ('part, piece') partēs, partium ('office, function')
  1. ^ Nominative and dative are not attested except as the name of the goddess Ops.

Order of the casesEdit

In modern textbooks of Latin, there is no single international standard for the sequence of cases.


This order reflects the syncretic trends of different cases to share similar endings. Usually the vocative and locative cases are omitted because they appear in the paradigm of only a few word classes and are dealt with separately. This makes the paradigm appear normally in the format NomAccGenDatAbl, which is also roughly the order of how frequently the cases appear in Latin text, meaning that the cases are introduced in teaching in this order. This paradigm has been the usual order in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries since the publication of Benjamin Hall Kennedy's Latin Primer (1866). It is the only method nowadays used in Hungary and Finland.[citation needed] It is also usual in France, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal.


This alternative sequence arose from Byzantine grammarians who were originally writing about Greek. It is standard in the United States, although modern texts increasingly move the vocative at the end to minimize disruption to the declensions in which it is identical to the nominative; some introductory texts such as Wheelock's Latin almost entirely ignore the vocative and locative except for a few brief notes, giving the format NomGenDatAccAbl–(Voc). This paradigm is also used in Poland, as it closely corresponds to the conventional case order in the Polish language, except for the latter's use of an instrumental case instead of an ablative. The same sequence is predominant in the Netherlands, although the modern Dutch language has largely lost its case system; instead, the rationale is that this general order is convenient for the consistent teaching of three different commonly studied declensional languages: Latin, Ancient Greek, and modern German. The order NomGenDatAcc–(Voc)–Abl is also used in Germany itself to echo the conventional order of German cases (NomGenDatAcc), and also in Lithuania because the conventional order of Lithuanian noun cases is the same. The locative is dealt with separately as it is seldom used in Latin and might be considered to be on the verge of extinction in Classical Latin.

The order NomGenDatAccVocAbl is the standard order used in Greece (both for the teaching of Ancient and Modern Greek as well as Latin) and Italy (with the vocative case before the ablative). Here again, the locative is dealt with separately.


Brazilian grammarian Napoleão Mendes used the unusual sequence NomVocGenDatAccAbl. The Latinum podcast uses NomVocAccAblDatGen, as this facilitates memorisation. Latinum deals with the locative separately.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mongan, James Roscoe (1861). The School and University Eton Latin Grammar, Explanatory and Critical. London 1861.
  2. ^ Lowe, Cheryl (2003). Latina Christiana: Introduction to Christian Latin. USA: Memoria Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-930953-01-7.
  3. ^
  4. ^ List of prepositions using the accusative case: Giralt, Sebastià. "Gramàtica llatina: preposicions". Labyrinthus. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  5. ^ Angelo Altieri Megale (1988). Gramática Latina. Puebla (México): Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. ISBN 968-863-084-5.
  6. ^ Said Circe to Odysseus in Ovid's book Remedium amoris.
  7. ^ "Sintaxis de los casos". La lengua latina. Ministerio de Educación de España. Retrieved 16 July 2009.
  8. ^ Julius Caesar. Comentarii de bello gallico. VII. Archived from the original on 18 August 2009.
  9. ^ Cicero, Philippicae 7.15
  10. ^
  11. ^ Allen and Greenough. §43 c.
  12. ^ Allen and Greenough. §49 a.
  13. ^ Gildersleeve & Lodge §15, Allen & Greenough §12, §49c
  14. ^ Chambers's Etymological Dictionary Enlarged Edition 1931
  15. ^ June 1999 issue of ASM News by the American Society for Microbiology
  16. ^ Nuntii Latini: Finnish Broadcasting Company (Radiophonia Finnica Generalis). Archiv I. 19.5.2000 – 6.12.2002: "NOVUM VIRUS COMPUTATORIUM
    Novum viri computatorii genus nomine Code Red in praesenti in Interreti grassatur, ut nuntiavit institutum SANS, cuius est securitati retis informatici providere. Code Red II, quod per cursum electronicum diffunditur, priore viro acerbius est et, postquam in servitoria penetravit, in systema lacunam facit. Ita fieri potest, ut alia vira eaque etiam periculosiora in machinas computatorias irrepant. Iam vermis Code Red I molestissimus fuit, cum biduo in trecenta milia computatrorum in omni orbe terrarum invasit."
  17. ^ Pons: virus
  18. ^ William T. Stearn: Botanical Latin. History, Grammar, Syntax, Terminology and Vocabulary. David & Charles, third edition, 1983. Quote: "Virus: virus (s.n. II), gen. sing. viri, nom. pl. vira, gen. pl. vīrorum (to be distinguished from virorum, of men)."
  19. ^ Allen and Greenough. §80.
  20. ^
  21. ^ Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum 6.1.20 etc.
  22. ^ Cicero, Pro Rabirio Postumo 4
  23. ^ Cicero, Pro Milone 29
  24. ^ Cornelius Nepos, Hannibal 12.2
  25. ^ Allen and Greenough. §152: correlatives.
  26. ^ Gibbs, Laura (Spring 2003). "Medieval Latin Online: Correlatives". ONLINE TEXTBOOK for Medieval Latin (online textbook). University of Oklahoma. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  27. ^ Gildersleeve & Lodge (1903), Gildersleeve's Latin Grammar, p. 39.
  28. ^
  29. ^