Concentrate on learning words marked with an asterisk* first.
An adjective is a word used to describe a noun.
|magna carta||the great charter|
|novum testamentum||the new will|
|bonus dominus||a good lord|
|predicta regina Isabella||the aforesaid Queen Isabella|
|sancta Maria||Saint Mary|
- is normally in front of the noun it describes; sometimes it is behind
- agrees with the noun in
- belongs to one of two groups depending on whether it declines
- like first and second declension nouns
- like third declension nouns
This lesson covers adjectives that decline like first and second declension nouns.
Look at our example of novus, –a, –um, ‘new’
Most first and second declension adjectives take these endings.
|novam ecclesiam video||I see the new church.|
Noun and adjective are feminine accusative singular.
|parsona pueros novos vocat||The parson calls the new boys.|
Noun and adjective are masculine accusative plural.
Don’t assume that the ending of the noun and the adjective are always exactly the same. Sometimes they are different, for example
|novus agricola est||He is the new farmer.|
This noun and adjective are both masculine nominative singular.
In our Latin word list, first and second declension adjectives are written ‘novus, -a, -um’
This shows the three nominative singular forms:
- novus is masculine and declines like dominus from the second declension
- nova is feminine and declines like carta from the first declension
- novum is neuter and declines like testamentum from the second declension
When you see an adjective written like this, you will know that it is first or second declension. You will be able to decline it using the same endings as novus.
|antiquus , –a, –um||old|
|bonus , –a, –um||good|
|dimidius , –a, –um||half|
|dominicus , –a, –um||demesne|
|magnus , –a, –um||great, big|
|predictus , –a, –um||aforesaid|
|quietus , –a, –um||free, quiet|
|sanctus , –a, –um||Saint, holy|
|ecclesia sancte Marie||church of Saint Mary|
|ecclesia sancti Edwardi||church of Saint Edward||Edwardus, -i
|ego dimidium manerium filiabus predictis domini do||I give a half manor to the aforesaid daughters of the lord.|
|predicta domina tenet dimidium mercatum nova carta||The aforesaid lady holds half a market by a new charter.|
|dominice terre domini sunt||They are the demesne lands of the lord.|
|dimidiam marcam predicto agricole damus||We give half a mark to the aforesaid farmer.|
Look out for adjectives that end ‘-er’ in the masculine nominative singular.
Most lose the ‘e’ when declined, for example pulcher, pulchra, pulchrum, ‘beautiful’.
A few keep the ‘e’, for example liber, -era, -erum, ‘free’.
These are fully declined in our Latin grammar resource.
There are nine irregular adjectives. These decline like novus, -a, -um but
- Genitive singular ends ‘-ius’
- Dative singular ends ‘-i’ for all genders
You are most likely to find unus, totus and alius, so remember these three.
|alius , alia, aliud||the other [genitive singular is sometimes alterius]*|
|alter , altera, alterum||the other (of two things)|
|neuter , neutra, neutrum||neither (of two things)|
|nullus , –a, –um||no, none|
|solus , –a, –um||alone, only|
|totus , –a, –um||all, whole*|
|ullus , –a, –um||any|
|unus , –a, –um||one*|
|uter , utra, utrum||which (of two things)|
|et debent unam marcam alii domino||And they owe one mark to the other lord.|
|totum manerium dimidium mercatum terras alias et octo marcas filiis Henrici do||I give the whole manor, half the market, other lands and eight marks to the sons of Henry.|
Numbers two and three also decline. Obviously, they only have plural forms.
You will learn the endings with practice.
|totam terram duabus filiabus Gregorii legamus||We leave all the land to the two daughters of Gregory.|
|duo maneria et duas marcas Willelmo filio Edwardi carta do et confirmo||I give and confirm by charter to William son of Edward two manors and two marks.|
|Case||Masculine and Feminine||Neuter|
|parsone trium parochiarum sunt||They are the parsons of three parishes.|
Handy hints – patterns in word endings
Keep looking for these. For example, when you read through tres, note that
- genitive plural ends in ‘–um’
- dative and ablative plurals are the same
What other patterns can you see?
ego and nos
Usually, Latin verbs do not need separate words for ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, ‘we’ or ‘they’. However, they are sometimes used to add emphasis, particularly at the beginning of grants.
Ego and nos are called personal pronouns since they stand in the place of a person.
Latin document points
The only personal pronouns you are only likely to come across are ego ‘I’ and nos ‘we’.
|ego Maria regina predictum manerium ecclesie sancti Gregorii do et confirmo||I, Queen Mary, give and confirm the aforesaid manor to the church of saint Gregory.|
|nos Willelmus et Isabella terras et maneria filiis et filiabus Henrici damus et confirmamus||We, William and Isabella, give and confirm the lands and manors to the sons and daughters of Henry.|
|ego Stephanus terras totas Deo et ecclesie sancte Marie lego||I, Stephen, leave all the lands to God and to the church of Saint Mary|
Note that ego or nos will be at the opposite end of the sentence from the verb.
Are you confident with
- the three ways that an adjective agrees with a noun?
- what predictus, -a, -um tells you?
- the connection between unus, totus and alius?
- where you might see ego or nos in a document?