Alternate verb forms
This assignment covers many of the alternate and contracted verb forms which may be encountered while reading Latin. Some of these alternate forms may be even more common than so-called regular forms.
The 2nd person singular ending -re is frequently found in place of -ris in the present system passive and deponent forms. This ending is found in all tenses of the present system (present, future, and imperfect) and in both the indicative and subjunctive moods.
Nīl meī miserēre? “Do you not pity me at all?”
Quid vōciferābāre? “Why did you cry out?”
Nē ventōs sequerēre rogābam.
“I asked you not to chase the winds.”
(literally, “I asked that you not chase the winds”)
A short i becomes e before the alternate ending -re.
Deōs sērīs vōtīs venerābere. “You will revere the gods with tardy prayers.”
When the 2nd person ending -re is used in the present tense, the form is identical to the present active infinitive. In these instances, only context can determine if the 2nd person or infinitive is meant.
Quī vocāre? “What is your name?” (literally, “Who are you called?”)
In the perfect tense active, the 3rd person plural ending -ērunt is often appears with the alternate ending -ēre.
Dēbilitātem nōbīs indīxēre dēliciae. “Pleasures have inflicted weakness upon us.”
Vēnēre ad faucēs olentis Avernī. “They reached the jaws of fetid Avernus.”
Vīdēre virum fulgentiaque arma per umbrās.
“They saw the man and his gleaming panoply amid the shades.
The verb form fore is often used in place of futūrum esse, the future infinitive of sum. The infinitive form fore also appears in the compounds of sum (ie. adfore, dēfore, etc.).
Dīcēbās mē sēcūrum fore etiam sī incendia circā mē flagrārent.
“You used to say I would be safe even if fires were blazing around me.”
Frequently, fore is used in place of esse in the formation of both the imperfect subjunctive and the pluperfect passive subjunctive. Hence we get the forms: forem (in addition to essem), āctae forent (in addition to āctae essent), adforet (in addition to adesset), etc.
Sī mihi vīs in amōre foret, nōn hoc mihi negārēs.
“If there were this power to me in love, you would not deny this to me.”
Aut fōrmōsa forēs minus aut minus inproba vellem.
“I wish you were either less beautiful or less shameless.”
The passive and deponent infinitive endings -ārier, -ērier, -ier, and -īrier are sometimes used in place of -ārī, -ērī, -ī, and -īrī.
Nōlim mē sīc laudārier. “I would rather not be praised in this way.”
Graecia fortūnā aequā in vitium lābier coepit.
“Greece, once fortune was in their favor, began to slip into vice.”
Aglauros nōmen deī scītārier ausa est. “Aglauros dared to inquire the god’s name.”
In certain verbs in the perfect system active, a contraction often occurs between the stem and ending. These contractions occur in all tenses and moods of the perfect system active.
There are two patterns of contraction. The first pattern occurs with verbs in which the perfect tense stem ends -āv-, -ēv-, or -ōv-.
Verbs of this pattern contract with perfect endings beginning -is- (ie. -isse, -issent, -istis, etc.) or -er-/-ēr- (ie. -ērunt, -erat, -erāmus, etc.). When the contraction occurs, the letters -vi-, -ve-, or -vē- are lost to contraction.
Verbs with a perfect stem ending -āv- include iūdicāvī, locāvī, vocāvī, putāvī and many others. Hence, we find the forms: iūdicāstis (in addition to iūdicāvistis), locārat (in addition to locāverat), vocāssent (in addition to of vocāvissent), putārīs (in addition to putāverīs), etc.
Tuus adventus mē levārat. “Your arrival has consoled me.”
Omnia turbāstī. “You have thrown everything into confusion.”
Verbs with a perfect stem ending -ēv- include flēvī, consuēvī, implēvī, quiēvī and some others. Hence, we find the forms: flēsse (in addition to flēvisse), cōnsuēstis (in addition to cōnsuēvistis), implērunt (in addition to implēvērunt), quiērit (in addition to quiēverit), etc.
Cōnsuēstis cum eīs prō imperiō certāre.”
"You have been accustomed to fight over power with them.”
Postquam alta aequora quiērunt, Aenēās iter vēlīs tendit.
“After the deep seas rested, Aeneas directed the course with his sails.
The perfect active verb nōvī (from nōscō and its compounds) also contracts. Hence, we find the forms: nōstī (in addition to nōvistī), nōrim (in addition to nōverim), cognōstis (in addition to cognōvistis), etc.
Sīc mātribus haedōs esse similēs nōram.
“In such a way, I knew young goats to be similar to their mothers.”
Verbs with a perfect active stem ending in -īv- follow a second pattern of contraction. This includes a variety of 4th conjugation verbs as well as the verbs petō, queō, and eō.
Verbs with a perfect stem ending in -īv- may have the -v- omitted and the long i in the stem is shortened. Hence, we get the forms: nesciī (in addition to nescīvī), serviit (in addition to servīvit), perierat (in addition to petīverat) audierit (in addition to audīverit), etc.
Additionally, before the consonant -s-, -īvi- is often contracted to either -ii- or -ī-. Hence, we find the forms: audīsse or audiisse (in addition to audīvisse), petīsset or petiisset (in addition to petīvisset), etc.
Tarquinius prīmus petīsse ambitiōsē rēgnum dīcitur.
“Tarquin is said to have been first to have sought rule ambitiously.”
Mārcum Catōnem, quem ibi esse nescieram, vīdī in bibliothēcā sedentem.
“I saw Marcus Cato, whom I hadn’t known was there, sitting in the library.”
The verb eō and its compounds usually contract and are only rarely found uncontracted.
Triumphantēs Rōmam rediērunt. “They returned to Rome in triumph.”
Trānsīstī sine adversāriō vītam. “You have passed through life without a rival.”
Some additional notes
The ending -re is also the regular ending used to express the passive and deponent imperative in the present tense singular.
Sequere mē intrō. “Follow me inside.”
Nec preme nec mōlīre currum per summum aethēra.
“Don’t sink low or propel the chariot through the uppermost air.”
There are four shortened imperative forms in the 2nd person singular: dīc (from dīcō), dūc (from dūcō), fac (from faciō), and fer (from ferō).
For the use of fore ut in the place of the future passive infinitive, see the additional notes in Assignment 13.
The perfect tense verb mōvī (from moveō) and its compounds also contract, despite -ōv- being part of the root of the verb. Hence, we occasionally find forms such as: ēmōstis, commōrat, etc.
Magnī ventī aequora commōrunt. “Great winds disturbed the seas.”
Perfect tense verbs which end in the consonant -x- or -s- sometimes contract with endings beginning -is- and -iss-. These verbs include dīxī, scrīpsī, trāxī, cōnsūmpsī, prōcessī, etc. When the contraction occurs, -is-, -iss-, or sometimes -sis- is omitted. For example, we get the forms dīxtī (in addition to dīxistī), trāxe (in addition to trāxisse), cōnsūmpstī (in addition to cōnsūmpsistī), prōcesse (in additon to prōcessisse), accestis (in addition to accessistis), etc.
Exstīnxtī tē mēque, soror. “Sister, you have destroyed yourself and me.”
Some additional alternate verb forms, many of which are largely archaic, can be found in Allen and Greenough §183.
Translate the following verb forms. Assume all verbs demonstrate an alternate verb form included in this assignment (excluding the additional notes).
Sample: sequēre Answer: “you will follow”
Sample: ēgēre Answer: “they drove”
Sample: vidērier Answer: “to be seen” or “to appear”
Provide a correct contracted form for each of the following perfect system verbs.
Sample: vocāvistis Answer: vocāstis
Sample: flēvistī Answer: flēstī
Sample: nōverit Answer: nōrit
Sample: quaesīvit Answer: quaesiit
Sample: petīvisse Answer: petiisse or petīsse
Provide the uncontracted form for each of the following perfect system verbs.
Sample: rogārō Answer: rogāverō
Sample: quiēsse Answer: quiēvisse
Sample: nōrim Answer: nōverim
Sample: audīstis Answer: audīvistis
Sample: cupiērunt Answer: cupīvērunt
Translate the following sentences using grammar from this assignment.
Mē ipsum semper amāstī.
Arma procul sonum dedēre.
Hoc pulchrē dīcere vidēbāre.
Aliquot equitēs Rōmanī cecidēre.
Ille ignōrābat partem exercitūs abīsse.
Tū auctoritātem patriae nōn verēbere?
Omnēs mortālēs sē laudārier optant.
Nōstis īnsolentiam eius, nōstis amīcōs, et nōstis tōtam domum.
Spērō memoriam amīcitiae nostrae sempiternam fore.
Glomerāvit terram in speciem orbis nē inaequālis ab omnī parte foret.
Examples in Context
Translate the following modified examples.
n) Context for the sentence(s)
Modified example sentence(s)
[grammatical and contextual notes, if any]
1) Caesar highlights the ambitions of Lentulus who opposed him during the outbreak of the civil war.
Lentulus sē fore alterum Sullam glōriātur.
[Sullam, Sulla was vilified for using the political office of dictator to have many of his political opponents executed]
2) Aeneas describes how the Trojans awoke to see the Greek troops gone from the Trojan beaches.
Nōs Graecōs abiisse rātī sumus et ventō Mycēnās petiisse.
[rātī sumus, from reor; Mycēnās, acc. “Mycenae” direct object of petiisse]
3) Seneca exclaims that, in old age, he has outgrown the need for many pleasures.
Quam dulce est cupiditātēs fatigāsse ac relīquisse!
[fatigāsse, here “wear out” or “overcome”]
4) Jupiter silences the gods before recalling the mistreatment he suffered from Lycaon.
Juppiter vōce manūque murmura conpressit et cūnctī silentia tenuēre.
[cūnctī, nom. referring to the other gods on Olympus]
5) Cicero attempts to forestall a false rumor.
Crēdō tē audīsse aliquid. Falsum est, mihi crede, sī quid audīstī.
6) Cicero praises Brutus for raising an army to rival Octavian and Antony.
Exercitum, cōpiās legiōnēsque idōneās per tē brevī tempore comparāstī.
[comparāstī, here, “obtain”; brevī tempore, abl. time within which, “within”]
7) Deianira sends the shirt of Nessus to Heracles, not knowing that it has been soaked in fatal poison, and attaches a letter in which she compares herself to his past lovers.
Mē cum multīs sed mē sine crīmine amāstī.
[multīs, refers to Hercules previous lovers]
8) Livy recounts the birth of Ascanius, whom he identifies as the son of Aeneas and Lavinia.
Brevī tempore stirps virīlis ex novō mātrimōniō fuit, cui parentēs nōmen Ascanium dīxēre.
[Brevī tempore, abl. time within which, “within”; Ascanium, in apposition to nōmen]
9) Winter prevents the immediate outbreak of war between the Romans and Carthaginians.
Armaque extemplō mōta forent, nisi hiemps, quae Rōmānōs quoque et Carthāginiēnsēs concēdere in tēcta coēgit, intervēnisset.
[Arma… mōta forent, moveō + arma means to “make war”; concēdere, “withdraw”]
10) Rutilia joins her son, the orator Gaius Aurelius Cotta, in exile.
Rutilia Cottam filium secūta est in exilium nec ante in patriam quam cum filiō rediit.
[ante… quam, “earlier… than” or “before”]
11) After hiding in a cave from a passing lioness, Thysbe emerges to search for her lover Pyramus at their prearranged meeting point.
Illa redit iuvenemque oculīs animōque requīrit et quanta perīcula vītārit nārrāre gestit.
[oculīs animōque, abl. means; quanta perīcula vītārit, indirect question; gestit, w/ inf. “desires eagerly”]
12) Caesar’s army traverses rough terrain in hopes of cutting off the enemy.
Sed nēmō hunc laborem recūsābat, quod eum omnium labōrum fīnem fore exīstimābant.
[quod, “because”; eum, refers to laborem]
13) After he has killed Mars’ sacred dragon, Cadmus hears a mysterious voice which announces to him his eventual fate.
Quid, Agēnore nāte, perēmptum serpentem spectās? et tū spectābere serpēns.
[Quid, “why?”; Agēnore nāte, voc. “born from Agenor”; spectās… spectābere, here meaning “gaze upon” or similar; et, adverbial “also”; serpens, in apposition to tū, “as a snake”]
14) Nisus and Euryalus come to Ascanius after hatching a plan to raid the enemy camps.
Nīsus et unā Euryālus cōnfestim alacrēs admittier ōrant: rem magnam pretiumque morae fore.
[unā, together; alacrēs, adj. modifying the subject with adverbial force, “eagerly”; rem magnam… fore, indirect statement, the subject of fore is their plan and rem magnam pretiumque are acc. predicates; pretium… morae, “worth the delay”]
15) The 4th Roman king Ancus institutes a ritual declaration of war, here asking Jupiter to punish him if the demands made in war are unjust.
Sī ego iniūstē impiēque illōs hominēs illāsque rēs dēdier mihi exposcō, tum mē esse patriae compotem numquam sīrīs.
[dedier, not from dō but from dēdō, “hand over” or “surrender”; compotem, “in possession of” with an objective genitive (see Assignment 4); sīrīs, from sinō, perfect subjunctive in a prohibition (see Assignment 6)]