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Verbs show action or state of being.  Verbs have three qualities, similar to nouns.

Person - tells us the specific relationship between the audience and the listeners
    1st person - refers to the person speaking (I, we)
    2nd person - refers to the person spoken to (you, y'all)
    3rd person - refers to the person(s) spoken about (he, she, it, they)

Number - tells us how many
    singular - refers to one
    plural - refers to more than one

Tense - tells us the time the action takes place.
    Past - refers to action that occurred before now
    Present - refers to action that is occurring now
    Future - refers to action that will occur 

In English, we show who is performing the action in a sentence by the use of personal pronouns (I, you, he, she, it, etc.) or nouns.  Latin uses endings to show the subject but not personal pronouns.  The endings correspond to pronouns, but the pronouns are not necessary.  The endings are as follows:  

  singular plural
1st person -o = I -mus = we
2nd person -s = you -tis = y'all (you pl.)
3rd person -t = he, she, it -nt = they

These must be memorized along with the corresponding personal pronoun.


An infinitive in English is a verb form with the word to, to eat, to sleep, to run, etc. 

In Latin, there is no word that corresponds to the English word to.  Instead, we use an ending, -re.  

e.g.   portare = to carry, amare = to love

Conjugating a verb 

To conjugate a verb, you have to follow three simple steps.  

1.  Find the infinitive (This is easy because it ends in -re).

2. Remove the -re (now you have the present stem).

3.  Add the endings (the personal endings) to the present stem.  If we try to conjugate the verb portare, it should look like this:

  singular plural
1st person portao* = I carry portamus = we carry
2nd person portas = you carry portatis = y'all carry
3rd person portat = he, she, it carries portant = they carry

There is only one small problem with what we have done.  When an -a- and and -o meet, the -a- falls out.  This is a linguistic problem, but I can explain it if you ask.  *So, the first person singular, portao, should actually be porto.

Nota Bene (Note Well)  When you are translating, you should look at the end of the word for the subject.  Then look to the front for the action of the verb.  Then put them together to form a complete verb in English.  For more help, see Lesson III in your text book (p.21-25)