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The Three Stems

164. The forms of the verb may be referred to three stems, called (1) the Present, (2) the Perfect, and (3) the Supine stem.

  1. On the Present stem are formed— The Present, Imperfect, and Future Indicative, Active and Passive.

    The Present and Imperfect Subjunctive, Active and Passive.

    The Imperative, Active and Passive.

    The Present Infinitive, Active and Passive.

    The Present Participle, the Gerundive, and the Gerund.

  2. On the Perfect stem are formed— The Perfect, Pluperfect, and Future Perfect Indicative Active.

    The Perfect and Pluperfect Subjunctive Active.

    The Perfect Infinitive Active.

  3. On the Supine stem are formed1
a. The Perfect Passive Participle, which combines with the forms of the verb sum, be, to make—

The Perfect, Pluperfect, and Future Perfect Indicative Passive.

The Perfect and Pluperfect Subjunctive Passive.

The Perfect Infinitive Passive.

b. The Future Active Participle, which combines with esse to make the Future Active Infinitive.

c. The Supine in -um and -ū. The Supine in -um combines with īrī to make the Future Passive Infinitive (§ 203. a).

Note.--The Perfect Participle with fore also makes a Future Passive Infinitive (as, amātus fore ). For fore (futūrum esseut with the subjunctive, see § 569. 3. a.


165. Every form of the finite verb is made up of two parts:

  1. The STEM (see § 24). This is either the root or a modification or development of it.
  2. The ENDING, consisting of—
  1. the Signs of Mood and Tense (see §§ 168, 169).
  2. the Personal Ending (see § 163).
Thus in the verb vocā--s, you were calling, the root is VOC, modified into the verb-stem vocā-, which by the addition of the ending -bās becomes the imperfect tense vocābās; and this ending consists of the tense-sign - and the personal ending (-s) of the second person singular.

166. The Verb-endings, as they are formed by the signs for mood and tense combined with personal endings, are—

SING. 1. -ō Vowel-Change: I,1 to ē; II, to ; III, to ā; IV, to . -m -or Vowel-Change: as inActive. -r
2. -s -s -ris (-re -ris (-re
3. -t -t -tur -tur
PLUR. 1. -mus -mus -mur -mur
2. -tis -tis -minī -minī
3. -nt -nt -ntur -ntur
SING. 1. -ba-m -re-m -ba-r -re-r
2. -bā-s -rē-s -bā-ris (-re -rē-ris (-re
3. -ba-t -re-t -bā-tur -rē-tur
PLUR. 1. -bā-mus -rē-mus -bā-mur -rē-mur
2. -bā-tis -rē-tis -bā-minī -rē-minī
3. -ba-nt -re-nt -ba-ntur -re-ntur
SING. 1. -b-ō Vowel-Change: as indicated in italics; verbs in - retainingi before these vowels. -a -m -bo-r Vowel-Change: asin Active. -a -r
2. -bi-s -ē -s -be-ris (-re -ē -ris (-re
3. -bi-t -e -t -bi-tur -ē -tur
PLUR. 1. -bi-mus -ē -mus -bi-mur -mur
2. -bi-tis -ē -tis -bi-minī -ē -minī
3. -bu-nt -e -nt -bu-ntur -e -ntur

Active Passive
SING. 1. -ī -eri-m -tus (-ta, -tum sum sim
2. -is-tī -eri-s es sīs
3. -i-t -eri-t est sit
PLUR. 1. -i-mus -eri-mus - (-tae, -ta sumus sīmus
2. -is-tis -eri-tis estis sītis
3. -ēru-nt (-ēre -eri-nt sunt sint
SING. 1. -era-m -isse-m -tus-ta, -tum eram essem
2. -erā-s -issē-s erās essēs
3. -era-t -isse-t erat esset
PLUR. 1. -erā-mus -issē-mus - (-tae, -ta erāmus essēmus
2. -erā-tis -issē-tis erātis essētis
3. -era-nt -isse-nt erant essent
SING. 1. -er-ō -tus (-ta, -tum erō
2. -eri-s eris
3. -eri-t erit
PLUR. 1. -eri-mus - (-tae, -ta erimus
2. -eri-tis eritis
3. -eri-nt erunt

SING. 2. ---- PLUR. 2. -te SING. 2. -re PLUR. 2. -minī
2. - 2. -tōte 2. -tor
3. - 3. -ntō 3. -tor 3. -ntor

For convenience a table of the Noun and Adjective forms of the verb is here added.

PRES. -re (Pres. stem) I, II, IV. -; III. -ī
PERF. -isse (Perf. stem) -tus (-ta, -tum) esse
FUT. -tūrus (-a, -um esse -tum īrī
PRES. -ns, -ntis PERF. -tus, -ta, -tum
FUT. -tūrus, -a, -um GER. -ndus, -nda, -ndum

-ndī, -ndō, -ndum, -ndō -tum, -

167. A long vowel is shortened before the personal endings -m (-r), -t, -nt (-ntur): as, ame-t (for older amē-t ), habe-t (for habē-t ), mone-nt , mone-ntur .

168. The tenses of the Present System are made from the Present Stem as follows:—3

a. In the Present Indicative the personal endings are added directly to the present stem. Thus,—present stem arā-: arā-s , arā-mus, arā-tis.

b. In the Imperfect Indicative the suffix -bam, -bās, etc. (originally a complete verb) is added to the present stem: as, arā-bam, arā-bās, arā-bāmus.

Note.--The form †bam was apparently an aorist of the Indo-European root BHU (cf. fuī , futūrus , φύω, English be, been), and meant I was. This was added to a complete word, originally a case of a verbal noun, as in I was a-seeing; hence vidē-bam . The form probably began in the Second or Third Conjugation and was extended to the others. The a was at first long, but was shortened in certain forms (§ 167).

c. In the Future Indicative of the First and Second Conjugations a similar suffix, -, -bis, etc., is added to the present stem: as, arā-bō, arā-bis, monē- .

Note.--The form † was probably a present tense of the root BHU, with a future meaning, and was affixed to a noun-form as described in b. N.

d. In the Future Indicative of the Third and Fourth Conjugations the terminations -am, -ēs, etc. (as, teg-am, teg-ēs, audi-am, audi-ēs) are really subjunctive endings used in a future sense (see e). The vowel was originally long throughout. For shortening, see § 167.

e. In the Present Subjunctive the personal endings were added to a form of the present stem ending in ē- or ā-, which was shortened in certain forms (§ 167). Thus, ame-m , amē-s , tegā-mus , tega-nt .

Note 1.--The vowel ē (seen in the First Conjugation: as, am-ë-s ) is an inherited subjunctive mood-sign. It appears to be the thematic vowel e (§ 174. 1) lengthened. The ā of the other conjugations (mone-ā-s, reg-ā-s, audi-ā-s) is of uncertain origin.

Note 2.--In a few irregular verbs a Present Subjunctive in -im, -īs, etc. occurs: as, sim , sīs , sīmus , velim , velīs , etc. This is an old optative, ī being a form of the IndoEuropean optative mood-sign - (cf. siem, siēs, siet, § 170. b. N.). The vowel has been shortened in the first and third persons singular and the third person plural.

f. In the Imperfect Subjunctive the suffix -rem, -rēs, etc. is added to the present stem: as, amā-rem , amā-rēs , monē-rem , tege-rem , audī-rem .

Note.--The stem element -- is of uncertain origin and is not found outside of Italic. The r is doubtless the aorist sign s (cf. es-se-m, es--s) changed to r between two vowels (§ 15. 4). The ē is probably the subjunctive mood-sign (see e).

169. The tenses of the Perfect System in the active voice are made from the Perfect Stem as follows:—

a. In the Perfect Indicative the endings -ī, -istī, etc. are added directly to the perfect stem: as, amāv-istī , tēx-istis .

b. In the Pluperfect Indicative the suffix -eram, -erās, etc. is added to the perfect stem: as, amāv-eram , monu-erās , tēx-erat .

Note.--This seems to represent an older †-is-ām etc. formed on the analogy of the Future Perfect in -erō (older †-is-ō: see c below) and influenced by eram (imperfect of sum ) in comparison with erō (future of sum ).

c. In the Future Perfect the suffix -erō, -eris, etc. is added to the perfect stem: as, amāv-erō , monu-eris , tēx-erit .

Note.--This formation was originally a subjunctive of the s-aorist, ending probably in †-is-ō. The -is- is doubtless the same as that seen in the second person singular of the perfect indicative ( vīd-is- ), in the perfect infinitive ( vīd-is-se ), and in the pluperfect subjunctive ( vīd-is-sem ), s being the aorist sign and i probably an old stem vowel.

d. In the Perfect Subjunctive the suffix -erim, -eris, etc. is added to the perfect stem: as, amāv-erim , monu-eris , tēx-erit .

Note.--This formation was originally an optative of the s-aorist (-er- for older -is-, as in the future perfect, see c above). The i after r is the optative mood-sign ī shortened (see § 168. e. N.2). Forms in -īs, -īt, -īmus, -ītis, are sometimes found. The shortening in -ĭs, -ĭmus, -ĭtis, is due to confusion with the future perfect.

e. In the Pluperfect Subjunctive the suffix -issem, -issēs, etc. is added to the perfect stem: as, amāv-issem , monu-issēs , tēx-isset .

Note.--Apparently this tense was formed on the analogy of the pluperfect indicative in †-is-ām (later -er-am, see b), and influenced by essem (earlier † essēm ) in its relation to eram (earlier † esām ).


The Verb Sum

170. The verb sum, be, is both irregular and defective, having no gerund or supine, and no participle but the future.

Its conjugation is given at the outset, on account of its importance for the inflection of other verbs.

PRINCIPAL PARTS: Present Indicative sum , Present Infinitive esse , Perfect Indicative fuī , Future Participle futūrus .

SING. 1. sum, I am sim 5
2. ĕs, thou art (you are sīs
3. es t, he (she, it) is sit
PLUR. 1. sumus, we are sīmus
2. es tis, you are sītis
3. sunt, they are sint
SING. 1. er am, I was essem
2. er ās, you were essēs
3. er at, he (she, it) was esset
PLUR. 1. er āmus, we were essēmus
2. er ātis, you were essētis
3. er ant, they were essent
SING. 1. er ō, I shall be
2. er is, you will be
3. er it, he will be
PLUR. 1. er imus, we shall be
2. er itis, you will be
3. er unt, they will be
SING. 1. fuī, I was (have been fuerim
2. fuistī, you were fueris
3. fuit, he was fuerit
PLUR. 1. fuimus, we were fuerimus
2. fuistis, you were fueritis
3. fuērunt, fuēre, they were fuerint
SING. 1. fueram, I had been fuissem
2. fuerās, you had been fuissēs
3. fuerat, he had been fuisset

PLUR. 1. fuerāmus, we had been fuissēmus
2. fuerātis, you had been fuissētis
3. fuerant, they had been fuissent

SING. 1. fuerō, I shall have been PLUR. 1. fuerimus, we shall have been
2. fueris, you will have been 2. fueritis, you will have been
3. fuerit, he will have been 3. fuerint, they will have been

PRESENT SING. 2. ĕs, be thou PLUR. 2. este, be ye
FUTURE 2. es , thou shalt be 2. es tōte, ye shall be
3. es , he shall be 3. suntō, they shall be

PRESENT esse, to be
PERFECT fuisse, to have been
FUTURE futūrus esse or fore, to be about to be
FUTURE futūrus, -a, -um, about to be

a. For essem , essēs , etc., forem , forēs, foret , forent , are often used; so fore for futūrus esse .

b. The Present Participle, which would regularly be †sōns,6 appears in the adjective īn-sōns, innocent, and in a modified form in ab-sēns, prae-sēns . The simple form ēns is sometimes found in late or philosophical Latin as a participle or abstract noun, in the forms ēns, being; entia, things which are.

Note.--Old forms are:—Indicative: Future, escit , escunt (strictly an inchoative present, see § 263. 1).

Subjunctive: Present, siem, siēs, siet, sient; fuam, fuās, fuat, fuant; Perfect, fūvimus; Pluperfect, fūvisset.

The root of the verb sum is ES, which in the imperfect is changed to ER (see § 15. 4), and in many forms is shortened to S. Some of its modifications, as found in several languages more or less closely related to Latin, may be seen in the following table,— the Sanskrit syām corresponding to the Latin sim ( siem ):—

as-mi syām (optative) ἔμμι (old form) s-um sim (siem es-mi
as-i syās ἐσσί (old form) es sīs (siēs es-i
as-ti syāt ἐστί es-t sit (siet es-ti
s-mas syāma ἐσμέν s-umus sīmus es-me
s-tha syāta ἐστέ es-tis sītis es-te
s-anti syus ἐντί (old form) s-unt sint (sient es-ti

The Perfect and Supine stems, fu-, fut-, are kindred with the Greek ἔφυ, and with Nhe English be.

1 The Perfect Passive and Future Active Participles and the Supine, though strictly noun-forms, each with its own suffix, agree in having the first letter of the suffix (t) the same and in suffering the same phonetic change (tto s, see § 15. 5). Hence these forms, along with several sets of derivatives (in -tor, -tūra, etc., see § 238. b.N.1), were felt by the Romans as belonging to one system, and are conveniently associated with the Supine Stem. Thus, from pingō , we have pictum , pictus , pictūrus , pictor , pictūra; from rīdeō , rīsum (for † rīd-tum ), rīsus (part.), rīsus (noun), rīsūrus , rīsiō , rīsor , rīsibilis .

2 These numerals refer to the four conjugations given later (see § 171).

3 The conjugation of a verb consists of separate formations from a root, gradually grouped together, systematized, and supplemented by new formations made on old lines to supply deficiencies. Some of the forms were inherited from the parent speech; others were developed in the course of the history of the Italic dialects or of the Latin language itself.

4 The signs of mood and tense are often said to be inserted between the root (or verb-stem) and the personal ending. No such insertion is possible in a language developed like the Latin. All true verb-forms are the result, as shown above, of composition; that is, of adding to the root or the stem either personal endings or fully developed auxiliaries (themselves containing the personal terminations), or of imitation of such processes. Thus vidēbāmus is made by adding to vidē-, originally a significant word or a form conceived as such, a full verbal form †bāmus, not by inserting -- between vidē- and -mus (§ 168. b).

5 All translations of the Subjunctive are misleading, and hence none is given; see § 157. b.

6 Compare Sankrit sant, Greek ὤν.

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