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Latin Tips & Notes w/Macrons: Introduction

Hello everyone! I'm planning on starting to learn Latin soon and I've been going through the course piece by piece on the incubator, researching where to/to not put macrons by using Wiktionary.

I also want to make it clear that I am not making these posts out of spite to the team, as a fellow contributor I understand the ins and outs of making a course. This is simply something I'm going through with my notes using the incubator before I go onto doing the actual Duolingo course itself and I decided I might copy and paste adding in the macrons to help people like me. I am very proud of the work the team has done and I wish them all the best in the future!


Welcome to the Latin course!

No Articles

There are no articles in Latin! The sentence "Ego vir sum." could mean "I am a man." but also "I am the man." However, don't forget to use the correct articles when translating into English!

Personal Pronouns

Personal subject pronouns are used for emphasis and can be left out.

Example: Ego vir sum. = Vir sum

Latin English
ego I
you (sg)
is, ea* he, she
nōs we
vōs you (pl)
iī, eae* they
  • *Forms of the demonstrative pronoun is, ea, id

Word Order

Latin is very flexible. The most common structure is SOV (subject - object - verb), especially in prose, but there are many other possibilities, depending on what you want to emphasize.


Latin has three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. In this first skill you will only encounter masculine and feminine nouns.

First declension nouns are (generally) feminine nouns ending in -a in the nominative case. Examples are fēmina and puella.

Second declension nouns are (generally) masculine nouns ending in -us and (generally) neuter nouns ending in -um in the nominative case. Examples are the names Stephanus and Mārcus. Vir and puer are masculine nouns that follow the second declension as well.

To Be

In this skill you will learn the singular forms of the verb to be (esse, sum).

Latin English
sum I am
es you are
est he, she, it is


This course uses Classical Pronunciation. A few things worth noting:

  • V sounds like the English W
  • C always sounds like a K
  • G is always hard and never J
  • AE sounds like the English word "eye"
Quick note: Church/Ecclesiastical Latin uses Italian pronunciation


Latin uses grammatical cases: words change when they get a different function in a sentence.


The nominative case is the form of a noun you will find a dictionary. It is used for the subject of a sentences and for predicates following a form of "to be".

You can find a subject by asking the question "Who/What + verb?"


  • The man is sleeping. Who is sleeping? -> The man
  • I love you. Who loves you? -> I

The predicate is the second part of a sentence following the "X is Y" pattern.


  • I am a man. -> a man
  • These women are engineers. -> engineers
Declension Ending
1st -a
2nd (masc.) -us
2nd (neut.) -um

Translation of Names

A little convention: we will not accept translations of names as alternatives in this course. Marcus's name is Mārcus, not Mark, and Stephanus is not Stephen or Steven.

New Vocabulary

Latin English Additional Info (Declension, gender, etc.)
fēmina woman 1st, fem.
vir man 2nd, masc.
puer boy 2nd, masc.
puella girl 1st, fem.
pater father 3rd, masc.
māter mother 3rd, fem.
soror sister 3rd, fem.
frāter brother 3rd, masc.
nōn not
et and
sed but
quis who?
dormit he, she sleeps
studet he, she studies
scrībit he, she writes
in urbe in the city
domī at home


Next Skill

July 12, 2020



Thank you so much! I'm super grateful for the team, too, and I really appreciate this supplement:)


Yet another minor quibble: not sure why you're writing the name Marcus with a macron; can we tell the quantity of that -a- ? The following two consonants would make it scan as long in any case.


Yes I understand, just adding it for clarity and beginners. Totally see your point though!

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