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Lesson 7: Adjectives (Part 3)

How to Determine an Adjective's Declension:

As mentioned before, Latin adjectives can be in one of two declensions, first/second declension or third declension. Much like nouns, you can determine a Latin adjective's declension by looking at its ending for each case.

Latin Adjective Declension Endings:

The endings for Latin adjectives for each declension will be shown below:

1st/2nd Declension Singular:

Nominative (M): -us

Nominative (F): -a

Nominative (N): -um

Genitive (M): -i

Genitive (F): -ae

Genitive (N): -i

Dative (M): -o

Dative (F): -ae

Dative (N): -o

Accusative (M): -um

Accusative (F): -am

Accusative (N): -um

Ablative (M): -o

Ablative (F): -ā

Ablative (N): -o

1st/2nd Declension Plural:

Nominative (M): -i

Nominative (F): -ae

Nominative (N): -a

Genitive (M): -orum

Genitive (F): -arum

Genitive (N): -orum

Dative (M): -is

Dative (F): -is

Dative (N): -is

Accusative (M): -os

Accusative (F): -as

Accusative (N): -a

Ablative (M): -is

Ablative (F): -is

Ablative (N): -is

3rd Declension Singular:

Nominative (M): -(-)

Nominative (F): -(-)*

Nominative (N): -(-)**

Genitive (M/F): -is

Genitive (N): -is

Dative (M/F): -i

Dative (N): -i

Accusative (M/F): -em

Accusative (N): -(-)**

Ablative (M/F): -i

Ablative (N): -i

3rd Declension Plural:

Nominative (M/F): -es

Nominative (N): -ia

Genitive (M/F): -ium

Genitive (N): -ium

Dative (M/F): -ibus

Dative (N): -ibus

Accusative (M/F): -es

Accusative (N): -ia

Ablative (M/F): -ibus

Ablative (N): -ibus

Looking at the Adjective Endings Chart:

To clarify and help you understand the endings chart above, it will be looked at and explained here. Much like nouns, you add these endings to the stem of the adjective (getting the stem of an adjectives will be explained in detail further down). The first/second declension will be explained first as it is more simple than the 3rd declension for adjectives.

Because adjectives agree with a noun's number, gender, and case, adjectives can be masculine, feminine, or neuter; be either singular or plural; and be in any of the cases. For the endings of adjectives, they are similar to those of nouns. All masculine endings for first/second declension adjectives are the 2nd declension masculine/feminine noun endings. All the feminine endings for first/second declension adjectives are the first declension noun endings. Finally, all the neuter endings for first/second declension adjectives are second declension neuter endings. To get the stem of a first/second declension noun, you take off the ending of the feminine singular form.

Now, third declension adjectives will be explained. Third declension adjective endings are the same of the third declension I-stem nouns for the corresponding gender, except that for the masculine and feminine ablative endings, it is an "i" rather than an "e". You may have noticed a "*" or "**" next to the feminine and neuter nominative singular endings. The reason for this is because third declension adjectives can be a three termination adjective, two termination adjective, or one termination adjective. This means that all the nominative endings for each gender are different (three termination), only the the neuter nominative singular ending is different from the others (two termination), or all the nominative singular endings are the same (one termination). Therefore, the marks (*) next to the endings in the chart were to note that those nominative singular endings could be different from the masculine nominative singular ending. Note that the terminations only affect the nominative singular endings, not the nominative plural endings. To get the ending of a three termination adjective, take the "is" off the feminine nominative singular. To get the ending of a two termination adjective, still take the "is" off the M/F nominative singular. To get the ending of a one termination adjective, take the "is" off the genitive singular ending. Determining whether an adjective is first/second declension or third declension, and, if it is third declension, whether it is one, two, or three termination will be explained further below.

How You Will Learn Latin Adjectives:

You will be presented with Latin adjectives differently depending on their declension. For first/second declension adjectives, they will be introduced as the masculine nominative singular plus the feminine nominative singular plus the neuter nominative singular (though, usually for the feminine nominative singular and neuter nominative singular, you will see them as a "-" plus the ending, which is either "a" or "um", unless the stem changes depending on the gender). To help clarify this, an example will be given. The first adjective you will learn is "good" or, in Latin, "bonus, bona, bonum". Looking at this adjective, you can see that the masculine nominative singular is just "bonus", the feminine nominative singular is "bona", and the neuter nominative singular is "bonum". Because the stem, which is "bon" (remember that you get the stem by removing the ending from the feminine nominative singular), is the same for each gender, this adjective would actually be presented as "bonus, -a, -um". Generally, when you see an adjective in the form shown earlier (like "bonus, -a, -um") you can get the stem by just taking ending off the masculine nominative singular form of the adjective (though of course there are exceptions to this, but it is a helpful trick). To get this adjective to the desired case, number, and gender, just add the necessary ending to the stem.

For third declension adjectives, an example will be given for one, two, and three termination adjectives. Starting with three termination adjectives, an example of this is "sharp" or, in Latin, "acer, acris, acre". In three termination adjectives, you are given its masculine, feminine, and neuter nominative singular endings (the reason for this is that they are all different from each other). In the example adjective, "acer" is the masculine nominative singular, "acris" is the feminine nominative singular, and "acre" is the neuter nominative singular. Just for clarification, you would learn the adjective just as you saw it before, as "acer, acris, acre". To get the form of this adjective in other all cases, for gender and number, you would find the stem (you do that by taking the "is" of the feminine nominative singular), which is "acr", and you add the necessary ending to that. An example of a two termination adjective is "all" or, in Latin, "omnis, omne" (this is how you would be presented with the adjective when learning it). In two terminations adjectives, you are given its masculine/feminine nominative singular (remember that they are the same), which for this adjective is "omnis", and the neuter nominative singular, which is "omne". To get the other forms of this adjective, find the stem (you do by taking the "is" off the M/F nominative singular), which is "omn", and you add the corresponding endings. Finally, for one termination adjectives, an example is "rich" or, in Latin, "dives, divitis". In this form, the nominative and genitive singular forms of the adjective are given (note that these forms are the same for all genders). To get more forms of the noun, get the stem (you do this by taking the "is" of the genitive singular ending), which is "divit", and you add the corresponding endings.

Implied Nouns:

Sometimes in Latin, you may see an adjective without a noun, which means you must imply the noun form the adjective (this is much like how you can imply an article or demonstrative adjective from a noun). You do this by looking at the gender and number of the adjective and implying the corresponding noun. For example, for a masculine singular adjective, you could imply "boy" or "man". If the noun were plural, you could imply "boys" or "men". This pattern follows for the other genders (for feminine it would be "girl/girls" or "woman/women", and for neuter it would be "thing/things"). Though it could also be that you could imply a more specific noun if the context of the sentence allows for that. Note you may get an adjective that could be both feminine singular and neuter plural (in both cases the adjective would end with "a"). In this case, you can determine which noun to imply by looking at the number of the verb (which will be explained how to do so in Latin when studying verbs) or by using the context of the sentence.


This may seem like a lot of stuff to learn; however, it isn't too hard once you get used to it. Just focus on learning how Latin adjectives agree with nouns, the adjective endings (which aren't that hard if you remember that they are just the noun first, second, and third I-stem endings), how to get the stem of a Latin adjective regardless of its declension, the differences between terminations, and remembering that you can imply nouns with adjectives (remember to look at the adjective's number and gender).


Now that you have learned how to form adjectives, they will no be included in your vocabulary (along with nouns)!

bonus, -a, -um: good

malus, -a, -um: bad

magnus, -a, -um: big

parvus, -a, -um: small

acer, acris, acre: sharp

omnis, omne: every, all

dives, divitis: rich

multus, -a, -um: much, many

facilis, facile: easy

difficilis, difficile: hard

sol, solis (M): sun

mons, montis (M): mountain

arbor, arboris (F): tree

lupus, -i (M): wolf

donum, -i (N): gift

frater, fratris (M): brother

soror, sororis (F): sister

res, -ei (F): thing, matter (this noun is fifth declension. It is a very important noun which means the general word "thing" or it can mean "matter" [though it also has many other meanings, "thing" or "matter" is usually what it means]. Note that it is feminine)


Modify the following nouns with the adjective "bonus, -a, -um" (Note that there may be more than one answer, if so, give all solutions):




Now use the adjective "omnis, omne":





Put the following underlined phrases into Latin:

I gave all the dogs my pizza

All the buildings of the rich town were made out of 100 dollar bills!

It was easy for the many small trees to get taller.

The sharp sword scared the bad wolf. ("Gladius, -i" means "sword")

Translate the following underlined words in context of the sentence (don't include all possible implied articles and demonstrative adjectives):

The teacher gives good students compliments but malis nothing

Omnia were done correctly!

Bona helps me all the time!


Boni (while this answer could be in multiple cases, it always looks the same)


Bonae or Bonas


Omnis, omni

Omne (while this answer could be in multiple cases, it always looks the same)


Omnibus canibus

Divitis oppidum

facile (this is neuter singular because it is modifying "it" in this sentence), multo parvo arbori

Acer gladius, malum lupum

"Bad students"

"All the things"

"The good girl/woman"

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