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When to use certain declensions?

Hey guys! I've been doing Latin for a few weeks now, and I was wondering, when do I use certain declension? I've got many questions wrong because I say "mater" instead of "matrem" or vice versa. I've tried looking it up, but I always get some technical definition that I can't understand. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

April 15, 2020



Certain words in the third declension (which is the declension mater is in) take the accusative in the same way they take the nominative. These words are neuter. Mater is not neuter because it names a female person. So when mater is used as a direct object, matrem is used instead of mater. Flumen is in the same declension but is neuter, so if flumen is used as a direct object it would remain the same.


Thanks for the reply! This will help me!


Here's a tip for genders in the third declension: If it ends in -er, -or: Masculine If it ends in -s,-o,-x: Feminine If it ends in -l,-a,-n,-c,-e,-t: Neuter This applies to MOST nouns, but as always with Latin, there are exceptions.


Cases are different forms of a noun that show its function in a sentence. Compare English I/me/my, 'I' is when it's the subject of a sentence (nominative), 'me' is when it's the object of the verb or preposition (accusative), and 'my' is when it's the possessor (genitive). Latin just applies these and a few other cases to (almost) all nouns and pronouns, plus adjectives agree with the nouns they modify. Latin prepositions take specific cases (not always accusative like the English example), and lots of prepositions can take more than one case with different meanings.


Thanks for answering!


Back in 1999, science fiction author C.J. Cherryh wrote a short text document named "Latin: The Easy Way" ( https://www.cherryh.com/www/latin1.htm ). Unlike most Latin tutorials, right off the bat this one offers an easy introduction to cases and when to use them -- such as when to use "Brutus" versus "Brutum."

This should clarify your confusion of when to use "mater" versus "matrem."

Even if you know a lot of Latin, I still recommend reading C.J. Cherryh's pages, as they may fill in holes you may not have even known you had before.

Her pages are not meant to be comprehensive (that is, don't expect to be fluent when you finish reading through them), but they do give lots of useful information that Latin learners often wish they had earlier.

EDIT: These pages are also called "Learn an Alien Language," and their title page can be found here: https://www.cherryh.com/www/latin_language.htm


Thanks for the link!

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