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Latin 101: Some basic grammatical terms and definitions
The Eight parts of speech
1. Noun: a name for a person place or thing.
earth, air, Rome, Virgil, poetry, books, colors, cities
2. Pronoun: a word used to stand in place of a noun.
I, she, we, it, they, you, he, us, them, me, her, him
3. Adjective: a word added or applied to a noun or pronoun in order to modify or describe
it . a fine orator, green onions
4. Verb: a word describing an action or a state of being
related terms:
finite verb: can function as the verb of a main clause
Romans build roads.
non-finite verb: cannot function as the verb of a main clause
Romans building roads ...; To build a road ...
subject: performs the action of the verb (Plautus wrote comedies.)
direct object: is acted upon by the subject (Plautus wrote comedies.)
transitive verb: a verb which describes the action a subject takes in reference to a
direct object. (Plautus wrote comedies. Romans enjoyed comedies)
intransitive verb: a verb which describes the state of being of the
(Cicero is an orator. Horace goes to Brundisium.)
5. Adverb: a word added to or applied to a verb in order to describe or modify it. Adverbs
can also modify adjectives and other adverbs.
The actor spoke clearly. The audience laughed especially loudly at the very funny scene.
6. Preposition: a word placed in front of a noun or pronoun that defines its relation to the
rest of the clause. The play was set in Athens. The young man stayed at home while his
father was away on business.
7. Conjunction: a word which links together units in a sentence.
co-ordinating conjunction: joins two units which are the same (two subjects, two verbs, two
phrases, two clauses, two adjectives, two adverbs)
Vergil wrote the Eclogues and the Georgics before he wrote the Aeneid.
subordinating conjunction: joins a dependent clause to a main clause.
Virgil wrote the Eclogues and the Georgics before he wrote the Aeneid.
related terms:
Clause: a group of words containing a subject and a verb.
2Independent clause: can function as a complete sentence (also called main clause)
Dependent clause: cannot function as a complete sentence (also called subordinate clause)
8. Interjection: an outburst which stands apart from the syntax of the sentence.
Aha! Now I see what syntax is! Oops! I made another mistake. Hey, learning Latin is fun.
A.Underline the --
Verbs --Legend says that Numa, the second king of Rome, organized the priestly colleges and
added two months to the former primitive ten month year.
Nouns--The Tiber river, which runs through Rome, frequently overflowed its banks when rain
Adjectives--The Roman festival featured many sacrifices and theatrical performances.
Adverbs --The slaves in the play cleverly helped their master hide his girlfriend in a rather
small trunk as his wife approached the house
B.Which of the following are not complete sentences? What would you have to add in order to
make the incomplete sentences complete?
1. Latin is a dead language
2. Learning Latin gives a student
3. Elite Romans were bilingual in Latin and Greek
4. Roman boys studied literary and rhetorical texts
5. Roman poets imitated
C.Identify the main clauses in the following sentences
1. The mythical founder of Roman civilization was Aeneas, who escaped from the fall of Troy in
1134 BCE.
2. After Aeneas spent some time in Carthage with Dido, he arrived in western Italy and sailed
up the Tiber.
3. Although Aeneas had some allies among the local inhabitants, he could not avoid war with
4. Some believe that Virgil wrote the Aeneid, his epic poem about Aeneas, so that he might
glorify the military success of the emperor Augustus.
D.Draw a circle around each conjunction and put brackets around the two similar units it is
1. Cato the Elder (234-149 BCE) strengthened his body through hard physical labor and trained
his powers of speech by pleading cases in court.
2. Cato not only taught his son himself but also wrote out his history of Rome in capital letters
for him.
3. Any evidence of luxurious living or conspicuous consumption was disapproved of by Cato.
4. By setting an example in his private life and by serving as censor, Cato fought against
Roman decadence.
E.Circle each subordinating conjunction and put brackets around each subordinate clause.
1. Although Cato deplored Greek influences in Roman society, he did study Greek history and
2. While he served as censor, Cato had the power to expel members of the senate for
inappropriate behavior.
3. Cato said that land should be bought for grazing and ploughing, not to make into gardens,
where the only object is to water the lawns and sweep the paths.
4. According to Cato, if the Romans became infected with the literature of Greece they would
lose their own empire.