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Lesson 6: Adjectives (Part 2)

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

Characteristics of Latin Adjectives:


Latin adjectives, much like Latin nouns, have a case, gender, number, and declension. However, because adjectives modify nouns, they will match the modified noun's case, gender, and number. Though, the adjective's declension depends on the adjective itself (much like a noun, an adjective in inherently placed in a declension).


Case, Number, and Gender of a Latin Adjective:


Adjectives are modifiers, so they will always be paired with some noun. Because adjectives are used to modify words, their form in Latin depends on the form of the modified word. Latin adjectives will match nouns in their case, number, and gender (this means that adjectives can be one of the following genders: masculine, feminine, or neuter). For example, if you were modifying the word "puer" with the adjective "big" (examples of Latin adjectives will be discussed later), the form of "big" in Latin would be in the nominative, masculine, and singular. If you were modifying the word "feminas" with the adjective "tall", the form of "tall" in Latin would be in the accusative, feminine, and plural.


Declensions of Latin Adjectives:


Adjectives, much like nouns, are inherently placed in a declension. Unlike the case, gender, and number of Latin adjectives, the declension of a Latin adjective will never change, regardless of the noun it describes or how it is used in a sentence. Unlike nouns, there are (thankfully!) only 2 Latin adjective declensions: first/second declension and third declension. These declensions will be explained in further detail later. However, it is important to note, just like nouns, an adjective's declension will determine what endings it has for each case.


Implied Adjectives:


In Latin, there are many cases where an adjective will just be implied. However, usually the only kind of adjectives that are implied are articles and demonstrative adjectives. For example, when you see "puer" in a sentence, sometimes you will have to imply the word "the", or "a", or "this", or "that" (so the possible translations you could get would be: "the boy", "a boy", "this boy", or "that boy"). While there are Latin words for the demonstrative adjectives, you will also have to imply it at times. Note that there are noun Latin words for the articles, you will always have to imply them. You may be wondering how then you will know which adjective to imply when you see a word. In those cases, you will just have to go off the sentence and imply whatever makes the most sense.


Conclusion:


Now that you know the components of Latin adjectives, you will learn their endings and how to form them in the next lesson.


Vocabulary:


You won't be learning any adjectives yet because you have not yet learned their endings, so you will still only be learning nouns. Also, before going any further with adjectives, here is a reminder to look at a noun's gender when studying it. A helpful pattern when studying nouns' genders is that most 1st declension nouns are feminine and most 2nd declension nouns (that aren't neuter) are masculine (though, of course there are always exceptions to this, but it is a helpful pattern for the vast majority of Latin nouns)


oppidum, -i (N): town

canis, canis (M): dog (Note: this is a third declension noun and both its nominative and genitive forms are the same, which happens frequently in Latin)

equus, -i (M): horse

pecunia, -ae (F): money

domus, -i (F): home (this is one of the exceptions to the gender of 2nd declension Latin nouns because it is actually feminine)

villa, -ae (F): country house

hortus, -i (M): garden

aqua, -ae (F): water

terra, -ae (F): earth

cubiculum, -i (N): bed room


Exercises:


What are the components of a Latin adjective?


How do you determine each of these components?


What are all the declensions of Latin nouns?


What adjectives can be implied in Latin? Can they also be written out in Latin?


Give all the possible meanings (with the implied word) of the underlined words below:

Canis

Oppida

He wants more pecuniam


Solutions:


Latin adjectives have a case, number, gender, and declension


A Latin adjective's case, number, and gender match the noun it is modifying. A Latin adjective comes in a declension inherently and must be memorized when learning the adjective.


Latin adjectives can be first/second declension or third declension.


Articles ("a", "an", and "the") and demonstrative adjectives ("this", "that", "these", and "those") can be implied in Latin. Articles can never be written out, since there are no words for them in Latin. Demonstrative adjectives can be written out using the Latin word for them.


"A dog", "The dog", "This dog", "That dog"


"The towns", "These towns", "Those towns"


He wants more money. (For this sentence, it wouldn't make sense to imply any words with money)


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