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Latin for Duolingo: 3rd Declension, Lesson 2

Salvete omnes!

Here we go with a second lesson exploring the 3rd declension of Latin nouns. 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: 3rd Declension, Lesson 1

New Grammar
Last lesson we looked at the basic grammatical divisions of 3rd declension nouns and some of the rules/guidelines for sorting them out; and we studied the nominative and accusative cases for these nouns. I highly recommend a lot of review for 3rd declension nouns since there are so many irregularities, so you may want to check over that lesson one more time, linked above.

This week’s lesson will focus on the ablative case. As we’ve seen before with the 1st and second declensions, the ablative case is used to express the object of certain prepositions. But it also is used for so many more functions, and I’m going to introduce one additional use today: the ablative of means. Compare the following sentences:

Milites (cum hominibus) pugnant. = The soldiers fight with the men. ”cum hominibus” is a prepositional phrase, with hominibus being the abl. pl object of the prep. “With the men” means in the same physical space as the men, but the men are not being picked up and used as weapons or instruments. “Cum” is the required preposition for ablative of accompaniment.

Milites (gladiis) pugnant. = The soldiers fight with the swords/by means of swords. This is an example of the ablative of means. Here “gladius” is also in the ablative plural and in English is expressed as a prepositional phrase; however in Latin no preposition is needed to show the non-living means or instrument; the ablative case alone does this.

(Cum virtute) pugnat. = He fights with courage/in a courageous manner. This is an example of the ablative of manner. Unlike the ablative of means which always uses concrete nouns/things, the ablative of manner always uses abstract/intangible nouns. To make things extra confusing, we have to use “cum” with this ablative use UNLESS there is a modifying adjective, in which case it’s optional. I’ll include a few of these but there will be a need for much more extensive ablative lessons later on.

Now, just to keep things interesting, we will also introduce a few new prepositions; and these are prepositions that take an accusative object. (I thought about introducing them last lesson but there was already so much content to include.) Most Latin prepositions take either accusative or ablative case, and it’s best to memorize which one when you study vocab. “In” is a special preposition because it can use either case as object, with a change of meaning.

Ablative singular ending for the 3rd declension is -e; ablative plural is -ibus. We’ll also be mixing in a few ablatives from previous declensions to keep those in practice.

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

New Vocabulary

caput, capitis (n.) = head
corpus, corporis (n.) = body
iter, itineris (n.) = journey, route, march
labor, laboris, (m.) = work, effort, toil
pes, pedis (m.) = foot
proelium, i (n.) (2) = battle
televisio, televisionis (f.) = television
timor, timoris (m.) = fear
virtus, virtutis (f.) = courage, virtue, manliness
in (prep. w. acc.) = into, onto, against
in (prep. w. abl.) = in, on
post (prep. w. acc.) = after, behind
propter (prep. w. acc.) = on account of, because of
pugno, 1 (intr.) = fight

New Sentences

Gaius vulnus in pede habet. = Gaius has a wound in the foot.
Milites post proelium multa vulnera habent. = The soldiers have many wounds after the battle.
Frater tuus vulnus in capite habet. = Your brother has a wound in his head.
Lucia et Paula vulnera in pedibus habent. = Lucia and Paula have wounds in their feet.
Pedes mei magni sunt. = My feet are big.
Miles gladio pugnat. = The soldier fights with a sword.
Miles cum nautā pugnat. = The soldier fights with the sailor.
Milites magnā cum virtute pugnant./ Milites magnā virtute pugnant. = The soldiers fight with great courage. ablative of manner, cum is optional
Marcus propter timorem non pugnat. = Marcus does not fight because of fear.
In flumine est. = He is in the river. With ablative, in shows position without reference to motion.
In flumen ambulat. = He walks into the river. With accusative, in shows motion toward something.
Caput sine corpore in televisione video. = I see a head without a body on television.
Milites longo itinere in Galliam ambulant. = The soldiers walk by the long route into Gaul.
Iter est longum. = The journey is long.
Milites in Galliam magnis itineribus ambulant. = The soldiers walk into Gaul by means of great journeys/ forced marches. (Idiomatic in classical Latin, especially Caesar).
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. = After this, therefore because of this (famous logical fallacy)

Thank you for following along with these lessons. I enjoy creating them and hope they are helpful. Comment below if you have a question and I will do my best to get back to you.

Habete bonam fortunam!

Go to the next lesson: 3rd Declension, Lesson 3

July 16, 2015



In 'Milites magnā cum virtute pugnant.' shouldn't 'magnā' come after 'cum'?


It seems to be actually more common this way, just like "magna cum laude" and "summa cum laude" with academic degrees. I don't know if there's a rule for it, it may just be the typical usage. Here is an explanation of some of the ablative uses, including the ablative of manner.


Oh, indeed! Thank you, I don't know why I didn't make that connection immediately with the degrees, now it does not sound half as weird as before :) (And also it's so good to finally actually understand commonly used phrases such as those one - learning Latin makes me feel smarter every day :D)


Illustration for today's lesson:



Not the only one. In Russian: "Бороться с кем-либо" vs "Бороться кем-либо" )))

[deactivated user]

    Esperanto does too!

    "Batali kun iu." - "Batali kontraŭ iu."

    [deactivated user]

      Should not « In flumen ambulat » be, « In flumeM ambulat »?

      Also, why does the adjective come before the preposition in «Milites magnā cum virtute pugnant »? Why can it not just be « Milites cum virtute magnā pugnat »?


      Flumen is a neuter noun, so accusative is the same as nominative. For all other endings, including nominative and accusative plural, you use the stem from the genitive singular: singular flumen, fluminis, flumini, flumen, flumine / plural flumina, fluminum, fluminibus, flumina, fluminibus.

      For the positioning of the adjective in "cum" phrases, see the link in my response to zsocipuszmak above to the "ablative of manner." I don't think your suggestion is grammatically wrong, it just is not the typical usage, but for reasons I have never fully understood. So in a theoretical Latin course, I would accept "Milites cum virtute magna pugnat" as an alternate answer, but not "In flumem ambulat."

      [deactivated user]

        Ok, Thank you.


        In the memrise course why does “milites itinere longo in galliam ambulant” get marked as an unacceptable answer?


        It's not incorrect, so now I've added as an acceptable alternative, but as far as I know 'longus', similarly to 'magnus' and 'altus', usually comes before the noun it belongs to.


        Oh, thank you!!! Have a lingot!


        I keep getting amor vincit omnia wrong, i guess because i know the caravaggio painting from my studies in Florence. Is that an acceptable order (i googled it and saw that omnia vincit amor is the actual quote from virgil.)

        Ditto labor vincit omia and pecunia mea est


        Thanks, I added these as acceptable solutions as well! When in doubt, try to go for the solution where the word order follows the subject-object-verb pattern. I usually added this version to every sentence as acceptable solution (exept for quotes) even if the original example was phrased in a different word order.

        Just a note: You can also report these kind of questions and missing alternative solutions in the Memrise forum discussion dedicated specifically to the sentences course: https://community.memrise.com/t/course-forum-carpelanams-duolingo-latin-sentences-by-zsocipuszmak/2512


        Thank you! Bookmarked! I'd noticed that Memrise didn't have the feature that Duo does of a "my answer was right" button; that link will do quite nicely, appreciate it!

        I don't envy those volunteering for the Latin now entering incubator phase on Duo; it seems they might have their work cut out of them just with alternative sentence orders....


        Yes, I bet it will be tremendous work, but maybe that's why they already added so many (16+) contributors. It gives me hope that Duo will take the Latin course seriously and it won't be just a PR stunt like the Navajo and Hawaiian courses.

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