Second declension nouns
- The largest group is masculine and ends in ‘-us’, ‘-er’ or ‘-ir’
- Some are neuter and end in ‘-um’
Masculine ‘-us’ ending
These are declined with these endings:
|Vocative||-e or -i||-i|
More second declension masculine nouns:
Men’s names often belong to the second declension:
Here are some sentences showing you how the new words are used:
|dominus terram legat||The lord bequeaths land|
|terra domini||The land of the lord|
|Deo et ecclesie lego||I leave to God and the Church|
|Henrico confirmo||I confirm to Henry|
|Willelmus terram Gregorii dat||William gives the land of Gregory|
|dominus et domina terram Deo et ecclesie confirmant||The lord and the lady confirm the land to God and the Church|
|anno domini||in the year of [our] Lord||anno is ablative and here means ‘in the year’; domini is genitive|
Vocative singular is the same as the nominative except in second declension nouns
- Ending ‘-us’ – when the vocative ends with an ‘-e’
- Ending ‘-ius’ in names like Gregorius – vocative ends with an ‘-i’
Often abbreviated to AD, anno domini is used in the Christian calendar to express dates after the birth of Jesus.
Masculine ‘-er’ ending
These take the same endings as masculine ‘-us’ ending nouns except
- Nominative singular ends in ‘-er’
- Vocative singular is the same as the nominative
You will only come across these four words. They are declined in the ‘Nouns’ resource.
They can be divided into two groups.
puer and armiger which always keep their ‘e’ when they are declined.
magister and faber. When they are declined, they only keep the ‘e’ of the ‘er’ in the nominative and vocative singular cases.
|faber terras legat||The smith bequeaths lands|
In this sentence, faber has an ‘e’ because it is in the nominative case.
|cartas magistro Stephano confirmo||I confirm charters to master Stephen|
Whereas in this sentence, magister has lost its ‘e’, because it is in the dative case.
Thinking of related English words may help you remember this: magistrate and fabricate do not have an ‘e’.
Masculine ‘-ir’ ending
The only second declension noun ending ‘ir’. It is fully declined in the grammar table.
Neuter ‘-um’ ending
These are declined with these endings:
Look at our example of regnum reign
These are more neuter nouns:
|regnum regine Marie||the reign of Queen Mary|
Some neuter nouns that end in ‘um’ have a stem that ends in ‘i’
They decline in the same way but keep the ‘i’.
|dominus manerii||The lord of the manor|
|Stephanus maneria carta confirmat||Stephen confirms the manors by charter|
Learn noun endings quickly by looking for patterns:
- Nominative and vocative endings are always the same except for second declension nouns ending in ‘-us’.
- Nominative and accusative cases of neuter nouns are always the same. The plural always ends in ‘-a’.
- Accusative singular for masculine and feminine nouns always ends in ‘-m’; accusative plural for masculine and feminine nouns always ends in ‘-s’.
- Genitive plural of all declensions ends in ‘-um’.
- Dative and ablative plurals are always the same. In the first and second declensions, the ending is usually ‘-is’.
esse – to be
This is an irregular verb, both in English and in Latin, as it does not follow the usual patterns of conjugation.
|Latin||Means in English|
|es||you are (singular)|
|estis||you are (plural)|
esse does not have an object. Words associated with it are in the nominative case. Don’t try to put them into the accusative.
|vir sum||I am a man|
|dominus est||He is the lord|
|testamentum est||It is the will|
|Isabella et Maria sumus||We are Isabella and Mary|
|agricole sumus||We are the farmers (nominative plural as there is more than one)|
|vidue sunt||They are the widows (nominative plural as there is more than one)|
|Isabella regina est.||Isabella is the queen|
Both Isabella and regina must be in the nominative
|domine regine sunt||The ladies are queens|
|Maria et Isabella regine sunt||Mary and Isabella are queens.|
In this example, Maria and Isabella are nominative singular, as there is one of each woman. regine is nominative plural as there are two queens.
Men’s names often include the phrase ‘son of’:
|Henricus filius Willelmi||Henry son of William|
|Willelmus filius Henrici||William son of Henry|
|cartas Willelmo filio Stephani do||I give charters to William son of Stephen|
Willelmo and filio are both in the dative case because the charters are given to him.
Stephani stays in the genitive, because William is the son of Stephen.
Are you confident with:
- how to decline a second declension noun like magister?
- how to decline a second declension noun like dominus?
- how to decline a second declension noun like testamentum?
- the handy hints for declining nouns?
- how to conjugate ‘to be’ in Latin?
- whether esse has an object?