LATIN PARTICIPLES

Find here charts, explanations and practice examples to help you master how these crucial parts of the verb are used.

Click on the links in the box below to take you quickly to the topics you want to practise.

 


Introduction

 Charts of Formation

General Tips for Translating Participles

Perfect/Past Participles

                      Practice Sentences

Present Participles 

                        Practice Sentences

 

 

 

 


 

INTRODUCTION 

 

Participles are actually ADJECTIVES formed from verbs: they usually agree with a noun in the sentence, and can also sometimes take a Direct Object.


Latin verbs regularly have 3 Participles:

 

 a)  PRESENT: 

         These have the meaning of the verb, ending "-------ing"

              e.g.  Let sleeping dogs lie
                      I saw the slaves carrying a table

 

 b)  PERFECT (or 'PAST'):  

         These are always PASSIVE (apart from Deponent verbs). They mean the verb, ending "(having-been) -------ed"

              e.g.  The soldiers burnt the captured city
                      I found a letter written by my father

 

 c)  FUTURE:

         Much less common than the other 2, these mean "about to…  (do the verb)"

              e.g.  He caught the boy about to steal his toga

 

 

     HERE ARE CHARTS SHOWING THE FORMATION OF THESE PARTICIPLES:

 

    PRESENT:

         Form these from the 1st Principal Part; they decline (mostly) like the 3rd decl. adjective 'INGENS'.

 

Present Participle

Meaning

1st conj.

AMANS,  amantis

Loving

2nd conj.

MONENS, monentis

Advising

3rd conj.

REGENS, regentis

Ruling

3½ conj.

CAPIENS, capientis

Capturing

4th conj.

AUDIENS, audientis

Listening

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

PERFECT/PAST:

            Form these from the 4th Principal Part (Supine): change '-UM' to 'US -A -UM'. They decline like BONUS (regular 1st/2nd decl adjectives).  

 

Perfect (Past) Participle

Meaning

(e.g. 1st)

PARATUS -A -UM

Prepared

(e.g. 2nd)

DELETUS  -A -UM

Destroyed

(e.g. 3rd)

MISSUS -A -UM

Sent

(e.g. 4th)

AUDITUS -A -UM

Heard

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

   FUTURE:
 
           Similar to Past Participles, but change '-UM' to  '-URUS -URA -URUM'. Also decline like BONUS.

 

Future Participle

Meaning

(e.g. 1st)

PUGNATURUS -A -UM

About to fight

(e.g. 2nd)

RISURUS - A -UM  

About to laugh

(e.g. 3rd)

CURSURUS -A -UM  

About to run

(e.g. 4th)

ADVENTURUS -A -UM  

About to arrive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

Translating Participles

      
         One method that can be useful to help translate any type of Participle is explained below. We will use the following sentence as an example:

            PUERI  PECUNIAM  IN  VIA  INVENTAM  MATRI  DEDERUNT.


     FOLLOW THESE STEPS:

  1.  Identify the participle AND the noun it agrees with (this will nearly always be somewhere in front of the participle). These words (and any others that come between them) form one related idea in the sentence: a 'participle block'. Here we have:

       PUERI  [PECUNIAM  IN  VIA  INVENTAM]  MATRI  DEDERUNT.

  2.  Decide when it is time to translate this block within the sentence. You may want to do this first if the noun is the subject (nom ending); but here in our example it is ACC case - the object - and we will need to do some of the other words first:

        "The boys gave……"


  3.  IF THERE ARE WORDS IN BETWEEN THE NOUN AND THE PARTICIPLE, it is generally best to translate the 'block' in the following order:
                  x)  the NOUN
                  y)  the PARTICIPLE
                  z)  the words in between
       i.e.:
                         x               z             y
            ………[PECUNIAM  IN  VIA  INVENTAM]……
           ……...the money (having-been-)found in the street…..

   If there are NO words in between, it doesn't much matter in which order you translate the noun & the participle. Use the order that sounds best in English.


  4.  Translate the remaining words and fit the whole sentence together:

          "The boys gave the money found in the street to their mother".

 

      PARTICULARLY WITH PAST PARTICIPLES, you may then want to improve the way you express it in English. Here are some suggestions:

     1. Try adding "Having ----ed":  'Having found some money….'

     2. Try re-writing the block using "who" or "which"; '…the money which they'd found….'

     3. Use "After ----ing": 'After finding some money….'

     4. Make a clause using "when" or "since": 'When/Since they'd found some money……'

     5. Turn the participle into an actual MAIN VERB and join it to the second verb with an "AND" (this is the so-called 5-star method, because it often results in the most natural English): 'The boys FOUND some money in the street AND gave it to their mum'.

      REMEMBER, this 'x - y - z' method works with Present and Future participles as well as with Past ones.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

     Practice with PERFECT/PAST PARTICIPLES

 

       To spot a PERFECT/PAST PARTICIPLE (I shall call them PAST Participles from now on!), remember to look for something that looks like the SUPINE of a verb you know, with the ending changed to look like a adjective.

         Here are a couple more examples of Past Participles in sentences - before you can have a go at some for yourself!


        e.g. #1
  

        MILITES  SERVOS  IN  FORUM  TRACTOS  OCCIDERUNT.

   STEP 1 (identify the 'block'): [SERVOS  IN  FORUM  TRACTOS]

   STEP 2 (x - y - z):  'the slaves (having-been-)dragged into the forum'

   STEP 3 (fit it into place):
           'The soldiers killed the slaves dragged into the forum'

             This obviously needs some improved English:

      The soldiers killed the slaves whom they'd dragged into……
or   After dragging the slaves into the forum, the soldiers killed them
or   The soldiers dragged the slaves into the forum and killed them
 

      e.g. #2 (sometimes not every English improvement works!)

                        MEDEA  IASONEM  VISUM  AMAVIT

    STEP 1:  [IASONEM VISUM]

    STEP 2:    'the (h-b-) seen Jason' or 'Jason (h-b-)seen' - neither of which sounds at all good so far… so you immediately need to think of an improvement when you fit it together for…

    STEP 3:   When she saw Jason, Medea fell in love with him
            Or:  'After seeing Jason, Medea fell in love with him'
    Or even: 'Medea fell in love with Jason as soon as she saw him'
    But definitely not: 'Medea fell in love with Jason whom she saw'
…and I'm not convinced by: 'Medea saw Jason and fell in love with him'

    Maybe you disagree? There's not necessarily any ONE CORRECT answer.   

 


 

 

  TRY SOME YOURSELF!

          Run your cursor over the 'Answer' lines: a literal version has been supplied followed by one in better English. Remember, there are likely to be plenty of possible ways of phrasing it!

 

 

    1.   SERVUS  PUERUM  A  CANE  VULNERATUM  AD  URBEM  PORTAVIT.

      Answer:  The slave carried the boy injured by the dog to the city.
          Or:  The slave carried the boy who had been injured by……


    2.   SOCII  NAVES  PARATAS  AD  MENELAUM  MISERUNT.

       Answer:  The allies sent the prepared ships to Menelaus.
          Or:  When they'd prepared their ships, the allies sent them…..


    3.   GRAECI EQUUM INGENTEM AEDIFICATUM PROPE MARE RELIQUERUNT.

      Answer:  The Greeks left the huge built horse near the sea.
          Or:  After building the huge horse, the Greeks left it….
          Or:  The Greeks built a huge horse and left it….


    4.   TROIANI EQUUM A GRAECIS AEDIFICATUM IN URBEM TRAXERUNT.

       Answer:  The Trojans dragged the horse built by the Greeks into the city.
         Or:  The Trojans dragged the horse which the Greeks had built …..

 

   5.   IUVENIS EPISTULAM LECTAM STATIM INCENDIT.

     Answer:  The young man immediately burnt the read letter.
          Or: After reading the letter, the young man immediately burnt it.

   6.  MURI DELETI HOSTES IMPEDIRE NON POTERANT.

     Answer:  The destroyed walls could not stop the enemy.
         Or:  Since the walls were destroyed, they could not stop….
 

   7.   POETA LIBRUM LONGUM SCRIPTUM AD OMNES AMICOS MISIT.

       Answer:  The poet sent the long written book to all his friends.
           Or: The poet sent the long book which he'd written to …..

 

   8.   FRATREM  IN TABERNA  INVENTUM  DOMUM  DUXI.

       Answer:  I took my brother found in the inn home.
            Or: I found my brother in the pub and took him home. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

      Practice with PRESENT PARTICIPLES


        
 A good way to recognise a Present Participle in a Latin sentence is to look for the letters '-----NT----' in the ending of the verb (rather similar to the word 'present' itself - no surprise perhaps that the English word is derived from a Latin Present Participle!). The word will then have a 3rd declension case ending (unless of course it's an actual Nom Sing ending in ---NS!)

         Once you have spotted one, follow the steps outlined above. You will generally find that the sense of the sentence becomes clear; you may wish to improve the English however:

          A particularly useful way to try to do this is as follows:

            Use 'who/which was doing the verb' - i.e. instead of a 'fleeing slave' you could say 'slave who was fleeing'.

 

Here are some examples, set out step by step using the method given above.

   e.g. #1

                      SENEX FILIAM IN ATRIO STANTEM VIDIT.

     Step 1: identify the participle 'block':

                     SENEX [FILIAM  IN ATRIO STANTEM] VIDIT.

     Step 2: using 'x - y - z', you have:

                   x              z             y
                [FILIAM  IN ATRIO  STANTEM]

           …which means 'daughter standing in the hall'


     Step 3: Fit it into place in the sentence with the rest of the words:

        'The old man saw his daughter standing in the hall'.

     This doesn't really need any improvement to the English.

 

    e.g. #2

              MILITES SERVOS PER FORUM CURRENTES CEPERUNT

    Step 1:    …..[SERVOS PER FORUM CURRENTES]

    Step 2:   'x - y - z' gives: 'slaves running through the forum'

    Step 3:  'The soldiers captured the slaves running through the forum'

     This time a bit of English improvement wouldn't hurt:

       'The soldiers captured the slaves WHO WERE running through……'

 

  e.g. #3 (one with no words in between)

              VOCES NAUTARUM CLAMANTIUM AUDIRE POTERAMUS

      Step 1:   ….[NAUTARUM CLAMANTIUM]

      Step 2: you don't need 'x - y - z'; it could be either 'shouting sailors' or 'sailors shouting'

      Step 3: "We could hear the voices of the shouting sailors / sailors shouting"

            If you wanted, you could say ".... of the sailors WHO WERE shouting".

 

    e.g. #4  - a nom case variation!

      PROPE RIPAM AMBULANTES, PUERI  CORPUS CONSPEXERUNT 

       Step 1:  There's no noun in front! In fact, the participle agrees with the subject 'PUERI' which comes later. One way to deal with this is to add the word 'WHILE …' before the participle. This only works in cases like this where the participle is nominative.

      So you actually get:

    'While walking near the river-bank, the boys caught sight of a body'.

 

      e.g. #5  - where's the noun??

               MULTOS  ANNOS  ERRABAT  PATRIAM  PETENS

       Step 1: Again, there's no noun in front - nor one later on either! The clue to translate is in the use of the Nom case again: if there's no separate Nom noun, it must 'agree' with the person-ending on the main verb. Here, that is the 'he' in 'He was wandering'.

          All that is necessary is to 'tack' the participle on after you've done the main verb, in much the same order as it is in the Latin:

     'He was wandering for many years, looking for his homeland'.

 


 

 

SOME FOR YOU TO TRY!

    Run your cursor over the 'answer' lines. Two versions may be suggested if the English needs improving.

 

      1.   ACHILLES  TROIANOS   FUGIENTES  OCCIDERE  CUPIEBAT.

           Answer:  Achilles wanted to kill the fleeing Trojans. 

 

      2.   MILITES  PUERUM   IN  FORO  SEDENTEM   INVENERUNT.

           Answer:  The soldiers found the boy sitting in the forum.

 

      3.    MARCUS  AMICOS  IN  SILVAM  FESTINANTES  VIDIT.

            Answer:  Marcus saw his friends hurrying into the wood.

 

      4.    SERVUS   CIBUM   DOMINO   EXSPECTANTI   PORTABAT.

       Answer:  The slave was carrying food for his waiting master.

 

      5.     QUIS  EST  MILES  ILLE  IN  ATRIO  STANS?

           Answer:  Who is that soldier standing in the hall?

                 Or:  Who is that soldier who is standing in the hall?

 

      6.     PATER   VOCEM  FILIAE  CLAMANTIS   AUDIVIT.

             Answer:  The father heard the voice of his daughter shouting.

 

      7.    SENEX   NUNTIOS   AD  VILLAM  APPROPINQUANTES  SPECTABAT.

           Answer:  The old man was watching the messengers approaching the house. 

          Or:  ….the messengers who were approaching the house. 

 

      8.    FRATER    FABULAM   TERRENTEM   MIHI   NARRAVIT.

            Answer:  My brother told me a terrifying story.

                  Or:  …… a story which was terrifying. 

 

      9.    PUERI  A  MAGISTRO  DORMIENTI  NON  AUDIEBANTUR.

           Answer: The boys weren't heard by the sleeping master.

                   Or:   …by the master who was sleeping.

 

     10.    MATER  IN  ATRIO  SEDET  LIBRUM  LEGENS

            Answer:  Mother is sitting in the hall reading a book.

 

 

 

    

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