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Latin for Duolingo: 2nd Declension, Lesson 4

Salvete omnes discipuli!
This is the latest in the series of Latin lessons for those of us who are impatient to see Latin come to the incubator. For a guide to previous lessons and a classified vocabulary list, be sure to check out these links:
- Directory of Lessons
- Classified Vocabulary List
- Memrise course for vocabulary
- Memrise course with sentences
- Previous lesson: 2nd Declension, Lesson 3

New Grammar
In this lesson we’ll wrap up the overview of 2nd declension nouns with the dative case. The dative case is used for indirect objects or “to/for” phrases; the singular ending is -o and the plural ending, -is. (The endings are the same for both masculine or neuter gender nouns; only nom. and acc. cases show differences for gender in 2nd declension). We frequently use the verb “do” (give) with the dative case, but it can also be used with a few other verbs, including the being verb, as we’ll see today.

case name | sing. | pl. | typical use
nominative (m.) | -us/-r | -i | subject or predicate noun
nominative (n.) | -um | -a | “
genitive | -i | -orum | possession, the “of” case
dative | -o | -is | indirect object, the “to/for” case
accusative (m.) | -um | -os | direct object (also some objects of preps.)
accusative (n.) | -um | -a | “
ablative | -o | -is | objects of prepositions, etc. “by/with/from” case

New Vocabulary
gladius, i = sword
auxilium, i = help, aid
miser, misera, miserum = wretched, poor

New Sentences
Avus pecuniam pueris dat. = The grandfather gives the boys money.
Auxilium miseris damus. = We give help to the needy/ We give the needy help.
Fragum viro do. = I give the man a strawberry.
Fraga viris damus. = We give the men strawberries.
Gaius amicus est Marco. = Gaius is a friend to Marcus.
Gaius amicus Marci est. = Gaius is Marcus’ friend/ a friend of Marcus.
Marcus gladium Gaio dat. = Marcus gives a sword to Gaius.
Liber est donum medici amico. = The book is the doctor’s gift to the(his) friend.
Verba tua sunt auxilium puero. = Your words are a help to/for the boy.
Estne equus amico meo? = Is there a horse for my friend?
Gladios dominis, sed non servis, dant. = They give swords to the masters, but not to the slaves.
Agricola cibum equis in agro dat. = The farmer gives food to the horses in the field.
Dona pecuniae miseris das. = You give gifts of money to the poor.

As always, if you have a question or comment about this lesson write it in the comments section below and I will do my best to answer. Next time we will begin working on 3rd declension nouns.

Go to next lesson: 3rd Declension, Lesson 1

June 30, 2015



I took Latin back in school for 6 years and always regretted we weren't taught to actually speak it. It's such a beautiful language. Complex, but full of subtleties and nuances that often get lost in translation. It's nice to see such a beautiful contribution. Gratis tibi ago, magister!


Hi CarpeLanam, I keep noticing phrases like "Gaius amicus Marci est", and was wondering why 'amicus' isn't in the accusative - being the direct object of the verb 'is'. Is there just an irregularity for 'to be'?


Actually, "amicus" isn't a direct object, it's a predicate nominative, and "is" is a linking verb and incapable of taking a direct object. It's easier to think it through like this: Gaius = friend. The "is" functions as an equal sign, saying that the predicate is the same thing as the subject. Therefore the subject and predicate nominative/noun are both in the same case, the nominative. Predicate adjectives are the same way: "Gaius = happy." Contrast it to "Gaius sees a friend." We could put it in a logical form more like "Gaius --> friend," where the arrow represents a typical transitive verb and the subject performs an action upon the direct object, which receives that action. Logically, Gaius and the friend are not the same thing in that sentence, which is why different cases are used to express the relationship. In Latin, we could change the word order and still express the same grammar: "Gaius amicum videt/ Amicum Gaius videt/ Videt amicum Gaius." The "to be" verb is irregular in its form, but the case usage follows the thought expressed by the sentence and is not irregular.


Ah, ok. That makes a lot more sense - I didn't realise the distinction between transitive and linking verbs. Thanks so much!

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