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  First steps in Latin Grammar  

1. Nouns and verbs

2. Subjects and objects

3. Word order

4. Practice

5. Declensions and cases

6. Nominative and

accusative cases

7. Genitive case

8. Dative case

9. Gender

10. Ablative case

11. Final practice

ANSWERS

 

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5 - Declensions and cases

Declensions

So far you have seen two patterns of nouns, those like agricola and those like taurus. Noun-groups are called declensions. The first declension includes all nouns like agricola. The second declension includes nouns like taurus.

The cases

Latin is an ‘inflected’ language – i.e. words have endings which change depending on their grammatical function in the sentence.

A noun’s word-ending for a particular function (i.e. subject, object, etc) is called a ‘case’. The subject ending (indicating the ‘doer’) is called the ‘nominative case’, and the object ending (showing the ‘done-to’) is called the ‘accusative case’. So dominus is in the nominative case, dominum in the accusative case, and so on.

English ‘cases’

A few English words change their shape in a similar way. They are leftovers from Old English, the language of Alfred the Great and others who lived in England before the Norman Conquest of 1066. In those days English had cases like Latin (and like modern German, which shares a common ancestor with English). English nouns no longer change to indicate subject or object; but pronouns do:

                                  I/me     he/him     she/her     we/us     they/them

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