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Latin for Duolingo: Verbs, Pluperfect Tense, Lesson 2

Salvete omnes! Welcome back to Latin for Duolingo. This is an ongoing, unofficial course in Latin; if you would like to catch up with previous lessons, you can find a directory, a classified vocabulary list, and Memrise courses at these links:

Last lesson covered pluperfect forms of typical verbs, which are formed by adding the endings “eram, eras, erat, eramus, eratis, erant” to the stem from the 3rd principal part. This time, we will work with deponent verbs, which have a passive form, but an active meaning. For these verbs, we will use the same “eram, eras, erat, eramus, eratis, erant”, not as endings, but as helping verbs. They are the imperfect tense forms of the being verb “sum,” but in this case they are added to the 3rd principal part of the deponent verb (which looks a lot like the 4th principal part of a regular verb) as a separate word, to form the pluperfect tense. Just as with the perfect tense, the 3rd principal part of the deponent verb must agree in gender and number with the subject; therefore the endings can be –us/-a/-um//-i/-ae/-a, depending on whether the subject is masculine, feminine, or neuter; and singular or plural. Here are some examples:

typical verb: voco, vocare, vocavi, vocatus;
vocaverat = he had called (3rd person s. (m.) pluperfect active indicative)

deponent verb: loquor, loqui, locutus sum;
locutus erat = he had spoken (3rd person s. (m.) pluperfect indicative of a deponent verb)

Some “defective” verbs are used only in the perfect tenses (memini = remember; odi = hate). We also know some that have a different sense in the perfect tenses than they have in the present (cognosco/nosco = learn, find out, become acquainted with; but cognovi/novi = know (a person)). For these verbs, the perfect tense is translated as the present, and the pluperfect is translated as the simple past.

New Sentences
Paula librum sustulerat. = Paula had picked up the book.
Rex regnum diu rexerat. = The king had ruled the kingdom for a long time.
Duces cum militibus locuti erant. = The leaders had spoken with the soldiers.
Duae puellae natae erant. = Two girls had been born.
Sol ortus erat. = The sun had risen.
Oblitus eram. = I had forgotten.
Canes nos secuti erant. = The dogs had followed us.
Gaius iterum conatus erat. = Gaius had tried again.
Factum erat. = It had happened/ been done/ been made.
Milites facti eramus. = We had become soldiers.
Cultro usus eras. = You had used a knife.
Lucia senator facta erat. = Lucia had been elected (had become/ had been made) senator.
Marcus vidit feminam quae mortua erat. = Marcus saw the woman who had died.
Paula locuta erat, sed nemo eam audiverat. = Paula had spoken, but no one had heard her.
Luciam (Luciae) memini. = I remember Lucia. (not only is memini translated in present tense, it frequently takes an object in the genitive.)
Clavium mearum memineram. = I remembered my keys (with gen. object).
Recordatus erat. = He had remembered. (You can use the deponent verb if you need to express a real pluperfect)
Lucia eum odit. = Lucia hates him.
Lucia eum oderat. = Lucia hated him.
Marcum (cog)novi. = I know Marcus.
Marcum (cog)noveramus. = We knew Marcus.

Next lesson, we’ll finish the perfect tenses with a brief look at the future perfect. Thank you to all who follow this course here or on Memrise. If you have questions or comments, leave them below and I will try to answer them. Valete!

Next lesson Future Perfect Tense

September 22, 2017



Thanks as always! I'm getting near the end of the vocab Memrise course and am thinking I'll take up the complete sentence one more seriously soon.

The vocab course has been so useful to me: so cool to have more everyday language for Latin! But I hope a couple minor tweaks can be made. In the imperatives lesson (#30), specta! and ecce are both translated "look!" so when "look!" comes up, it's impossible to know which is wanted (and sometimes they even both show up as multiple choice options for "look!" but only one is right). And the same thing happens with age! and fac!, both translated "do!" I tend to think of "behold" as my go-to translation of ecce. Maybe that could be substituted?


Thanks for letting me know. I think I added the alternates... let me know if it is still a problem.


Thanks! Another few issues:

  • As opposed to the other adjectives in the course you actually have to type "minimus a um" as opposed to just "minimus" for the typing exercises.
  • When going back to review, it is hard to know when forms of fero vs. porto are expected or accepted. It looks like when they are introduced (seemingly in present tense verbs 2 and present tense verbs respectively) the translations given are "bear, carry" vs. "carry, bear, take." Forms of these verbs also appear in the infinitives, imperatives, imperfect, and future lessons, mostly with slightly different translations and mostly I think only accepting one verb or the other although the translations don't really distinguish which.


I think I have added in the necessary alternates. Thank you again, and let me know of any new ones that come up. If I can, I will fix them.


I think normally you put an indication of plural for vos conjugations, but that's missing for adveneratis in level 37. Thanks!


I simply love your lessons! However, I have a doubt.

There’s this sentence: Lucia eum odit.

And then this one: Luciae eum oderat.

Why is the subject Lucia different in the second sentence, since the verb is the same? Does the verbal tense influence the grammatical case?

Thanks in advance!


If you'll accept an unbidden English tip: since you're seemingly a Portuguese speaker, "dúvida" isn't really naturally translated "doubt" here. Normally we'd say "question."

Pardon the interruption. Now returning to regularly-scheduled Latin :)


No, it was a mistake on my part. It should be "Lucia." Thank you for calling it to my attention! Corrigendum est.

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