Latin IS English!

July 26, 2008

“What You See is What You Get!” —OR— “A Satellite View of Latin Verbs”

Based on my prior study of and longevity teaching another “inflected” language (Koiné Greek) that has many close structural parallels with Latin, it has long been my belief that students of beginning Latin grammar seek a systematic way to study and retain the structural elements of the various grammatical components of the language. Over many years as a New Testament Greek language instructor, and in more recent years Latin, my observation has been that many students have tried, in a sense, to “re-invent the wheel” when it comes to memory systems or paradigms for these ancient verbs, nouns, participles and the like.  Thanks to one of my former language instructors, I can offer you what I think works for almost any language to help promote memory work of structures via paradigms—in this case, Latin Indicative Verb formations in the “active” and “passive” voices.


Built upon a “numbering” system for verb endings, coupled with the “stem” (or “base” quality) of model verbs representative of all four Latin Indicative Mode (or Mood) verb conjugations, with the various tenses (other than the Present tense) governed by “tense signs” (e.g. “-ba-” for the Imperfect, or “-v-” for the Perfect, etc.), one can readily see the relationships, the constants and the variables that exist within the entire verbs formation paradigm, below.  Right-click on image to save to your desktop.

The above paradigm reflects the last screen of a multiple click-through PowerPoint presentation of all four Latin Verb Conjugations.  To download the PowerPoint, click here.  For a 7-page PDF of the same, click here or download either from the sidebar (opposite).

Interested in taking a “live, interactive” online Latin class?  Take the POLL here!



  1. What does the small “e” next to the numbers mean?

    Comment by ethan — October 2, 2013 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

  2. The small “e” next to the numbers represents the predominate thematic vowel that the endings begin with. The exceptions to that I have highlighted on the chart with a semi-transparent oval.

    Comment by Robert Wermuth — October 2, 2013 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

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