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Latin for Duolingo: Personal Pronouns, Lesson 4

Salvete omnes!

Welcome to all Latin learners! If you’re just joining us and want to catch up, here are the links you’ll need:
- Directory of Lessons
- Vocabulary List
- Memrise course for vocabulary
- Memrise course with complete sentences
- Previous lesson, Personal Pronouns 3

As always, if you want to skip grammar and jump to sample sentences, just skip down to the bottom section of this post. If you want to memorize vocabulary, the Memrise course might be your best option.
is, ea, id = he, she it
ei, eae, ea = they, those
--, sui = himself, herself, itself, themselves (no nominative case; reflexive, refers to subject of sentence)
suus, a, um = his, her/ hers, its, their/theirs (reflexive, refers to subject of sentence)

This lesson covers the plurals of 3rd person pronouns. As we saw last week, the most commonly used personal pronouns for the 3rd person also serve as demonstratives, and can also be translated as “that” or “those.” Now, there are more commonly used demonstratives which will be introduced later (hic/haec/hoc and ille/illa/illud) and those demonstratives sometimes do double duty as personal pronouns. Confusing, I know! The new forms in this lesson are below; the same reflexive and reflexive possessive forms are used in the plural as in the singular, so they are a repeat of last week’s lesson. And you may find that a graphic representation of the pronouns like the one here is more helpful to you.

(case): masculine, feminine, neuter; (use) (nominative): ei, eae, ea = they/those people or things; (subject)
(genitive): eorum, earum, eorum = their/of them/of those people or things; (possessive)
(dative): eis = to/for them/those people or things; (indirect object)
(accusative): eos, eas, ea = them/those people or things; (direct object, some objects of prep.)
(ablative): eis = them/those; (obj. of prepositions, esp. “in,by,with,from”)

Reflexives: when a 3rd person pronoun is used reflexively (one of the objective cases refers to the subject of the sentence), we must use a special set of reflexive pronouns. Only one form in each case works for all genders and both singular and plural:
(no nominative case is used: a reflexive pronoun by definition refers back to the subject)
(genitive): sui = of himself, of herself, of itself, of themselves
(dative): sibi = to/for himself, herself, itself, themselves
(accusative): se = himself, herself, itself, themselves
(ablative): se = (by/with/from) himself, herself, itself, themselves

Reflexive possessive adjective: used instead of “ejus” to refer to something belonging to the subject of the sentence:
suus, a, um = his (own), her (own), its (own), their (own)

In general, the masculine pronoun “ei” and masculine adjectives are used to refer to a mixed group of people including men and women. Gender equity in pronoun use was a non-issue for Romans. The masculine forms are used when in doubt, they are just considered “common” gender. One thing you will never see in Latin is using the neuter to refer to people (like girls or babies in German!). When you see a neuter plural pronoun or adjective used alone, it is referring to things, not people.

New Sentences
Ei terram novam vident. = They/ those men see a new land.
Eae liberos habent. = They(those women) have children.
Eos videmus. = We see them.
Multas filias habeo. Eas amo. = I have many daughters. I love them.
Prandium eis paras. = You prepare lunch for them.
Cum eis (eiscum) venitis. = You come with them.
Virtus eorum magna est. = Their courage is great.
Liberi earum sunt omnes pueri. = Their (those women’s) children are all boys.
Lucia ea in arcā invenit. = Lucia finds them (those things) in the chest.
Propter ea omnia, Romani cum eis (eiscum) pugnant. = Because of all of those things, the Romans are fighting with them.
Gaius et Marcus gladios suos secum habent. = Gaius and Marcus have their own swords with them.
Servum ad eos mitto. = I send a servant to them.
Patriam eorum amamus. = We love their country.
Romani patriam suam amant. = The Romans love their (own) country.
Et patriam eorum amant. = They also love their (those other people’s) country.
Sibi timent. = They fear for themselves.
Pater suos (liberos) amat. = A father loves his own children. Frequently the noun is omitted if context makes it clear.
Rex suos amat. = The king loves his people.
Imperator suos de periculo monet. = The commander warns his (soldiers) about the danger.
Sua omnia eis dat. = He gives all his (possessions, things) to them.
Ea video. = I see them/those things.

That concludes our introductory series on pronouns. If you have questions or comments, feel free to list them below. For our next lesson, I may gather a collection of Latin Christmas carols, and then start up with new material after New Year’s. Valete et habete bonam fortunam!

December 11, 2015



Why is eiscum not a thing when secum is? e.g. I noted "You come with them" doesn't translate to "Eiscum venis/venitis".

April 26, 2018


You know, this is a valid point. After researching it, I have seen it both ways, but eiscum should be accepted and I will add it as an alternative. I haven't seen a detailed explanation for why the pronoun-cum construction exists, but I suspect it has something to do with ease of pronunciation. Also, the 3rd person pronoun is a little bit like a demonstrative pronoun and so I suspect the rules were not as rigidly applied as they were for 1st and 2nd person pronouns.

April 27, 2018


I'm quite confused by these two sentences:

Patriam eorum amamus. = We love their country. Romani patriam suam amant. = The Romans love their (own) country.

Why does the pronoun change gender here?

January 2, 2019


This is a very confusing aspect of pronoun use. Basically, "eorum" in the first sentence is a gen. pl. m. of the third person pronoun, and would most literally be translated "of them: We love the country of them." Of course that would not be the best way to say it in English, which doesn't have that distinction, or at least not in the same way. Because it is referring to a person or persons NOT the subject, Latin requires the non-reflexive pronoun forms in the 3rd person.

"Suam" in the second sentence is not a pronoun, it is a reflexive possessive adjective, modifying "patriam." Reflexive adjectives and pronouns make it clear that the possessors of the country are the people named in the subject. Because it is an adjective it has to follow the adjective rules of agreement; same gender, number, and case as "patriam." It's not agreeing with Romani, it's agreeing with what the Romani own. If we said "Romani patriam eorum amant," that would mean the Romans love somebody else's country (and are probably making plans to conquer it next!) Hope that helps.

January 3, 2019
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