Workbook of Latin Grammar

Adjectival participles

Adjectival participles are those participles which perform functions typical of the adjective, including the attributive adjective, the substantive adjective, and the predicate adjective.

Like all participles, the adjectival participle expresses a time relative to the primary verb in the clause. Because they are verbal in nature, participles may also be accompanied by adverbs, objects, or prepositional phrases.

When a participle acts as an attributive adjective, it is generally translated into English using an English participle or a relative clause.

Exercitus fugiēns may be translated as “fleeing army” or “army which is/was fleeing”.

Sprēta pietās may be translated as “spurned piety" or “piety which was/had been spurned”.

Sometimes, however, an adjectival particle is best translated into English as an adjective (ie. albentia tempora “white temples”, etc.).

When a future active participles functions as an attributive adjective it is generally translated with with the phrases “about to”, “destined to”, or with a relative clause.

Nōmen mansūrum may be translated as “a name about to last”, “a name destined to last”, or “a name which will/would last”.

An adjectival participle performs an attributive function when it simply ascribes a quality to a noun in the sentence.

Mīsērunt lēgātōs minantēs Rōmam.

“They sent legates threatening Rome.”

Moenia fabricāta manū Neptūnī cecidērunt.

“The walls, which were built by the hand of Neptune, fell.”

Alexandrīnae nāvēs secutūrae classis adventum nūntiant.

“The Alexandrian ships announce the arrival of the fleet which will follow.”

Hīc Morbī pallentēs et trīstis Senectūs habitant.

“Here the pallid Diseases and sad Old age dwell.”

When a present participle functions as an attributive adjective in the ablative singular, the ending is usually -ī (ie. dūcentī, agentī), sharing a form with the dative singular.

trementī vōce exsulem appellāvit. “He called me an exile with his voice shaking.”

An adjectival participle can also function as a noun in a sentence. This substantive use of the participle modifies an unexpressed generic noun (a man, women, things, etc.). In translating, we must supply an unexpressed generic noun depending on form and context, for example: “those listening” (audientēs), “the women who were sought” (petītae), or “things heard” (audīta). A substantive participle appears without any noun or pronoun in agreement.

Sagittīs fugientēs persequī prohibentur.

“They are prevented from pursuing those who are fleeing by arrows.”

Lūx ultima vīctōs vocat.

“A final day summons those defeated.”

Inter peritūra vīvimus.

“We live amid things destined to perish.”

When a present participle functions as a substantive in the ablative singular, the ending is usually -e (ie. dūcente, agente).

Nēmō beneficium ā nesciente accipit.

“No one can receive a benefit from one who is unaware.”

An adjectival participle may also appear as a predicate adjective. In such cases, the participle accompanies a linking verb (primarily sum) and ascribes a state or quality to the subject of the verb.

Mundus est animāns et compōs ratiōnis.

“The universe is alive and in possession of reason.”

Ibi nunc Neāpolis sita est.

“Neapolis is now situated there.”

In some instances, predicate participles will look identical to the perfect or pluperfect passive verbs, and in these cases context must be used to differentiate between these two meanings. For example, taken as a predicate adjective locāta est means “it is situated” while taken as a perfect passive verb it means “it was placed”.

Some additional notes

An ablative paired with an adjectival participle often appears expressing means, manner, characteristic, etc. These examples differ from the ablative absolute (see Assignment 2) in that they perform functions of the ablative, rather than those of the adverbial participle.

Mīlitēs pilīs missīs hostium phalangem perfrēgērunt.

“Our soldiers broke phalanx of the enemy by means of thrown javalins.” (means)

Salmacis versō gradū discēdere simulat.

“Salmacis pretended to depart with a reversed step.” (manner)

frāctō animō esse loquēbantur.

“They were saying that I was of a broken mind.” (characteristic)

Many participles are so closely associated with their adjectival function that have essentially become adjectives. Some examples include: sapiēns, volēns, prōmissus, patiēns, doctus, futūrus.

When these same forms would have an object, they regularly take an objective genitive (see Assignment 4) rather than an accusative direct object (see Allen and Greenough §349b).

Alphēos longī labōris patiēns erat.

“Alpheus was suffering this long labor.”

Ille pāce factā numquam amāns cruōris erat.

“He was never desirous of slaughter after peace was made.”

The future passive participle is rarely found outside of set constructions (ie. gerundive, periphrastic conjugation, etc.). When it does appear as an adjectival participle, it is best translated as “suited to be”, “needing to be”, or “worth being”.

Brūtus librōs dē iūre legendōs scrīpsit.

“Brutus wrote books about law which are worth reading.” (literally, “worth being read”)

Sometimes adjectival participles may be made comparative, superlative, or adverbial according to the usual rules for adjectives.

Nōs parātiōrēs reperiet quam putābat.

“He will find us readier than he supposed.”

Eius sermō inquinātissimus et blanditiae flāgitiōsae valuērunt.

“His utterly tainted speech and blatant pandering prevailed.”

Multa minanter agat.

“He does many things in a threatening way.”

Activity 1

Identify the participle in each of the following sentences and determine if the participle most likely functions as an attributive adjective, a substantive adjective, or a predicate adjective.

Sample: Sub sōle ārdentī arbusta cicādīs resonant.

Answer: Sub sōle ārdentī arbusta cicādīs resonant. (Attributive)

Sample: Caesar manū quā vīcit vīctōs prōtegit.

Answer: Caesar manū quā vīcit vīctōs prōtegit. (Substantive)

Sample: Īra poenae adpetēns est.

Answer: Īra poenae adpetēns est. (Predicate)

Equitēs fugientibus occurrunt.

Cassandra ad caelum lūmina ārdentia tendit.

Āēr maximē cedēns est.

Venia petentibus datur.

Quadrirēmem fluctuantem in salō relīquerat.

Rēgna peritūra eum nōn flexērunt.

Exitus pugnantium est mors.

Sensūs nātūrā patientēs sunt.

Accessistis penitus sonantēs scopulōs.

Tempestās nāvigantēs vehementius terret.

Ō passī graviōra, deus hīs quoque fīnem dabit.

Crūra frācta sunt et vīvit.

Dīdō eī ostentat Sīdoniās opēs urbemque parātam.

Tunc moriēns haec verba addit.

Sortem ōrāculī congruentem respōnsō captīvī vātis attulērunt.

Activity 2

Supply the correct form of underlined participle (use the more regular form for any ablative singular active participles).

Sample: Lucius Furius incited the soldiers (m.) who were already agitated. (incitō)

Answer: incitātōs

Sample: This is not necessary for one who is willing. (volō)

Answer: volentī

Sample: This place (m.) is now enclosed. (saepiō)

Answer: saeptus

Because of the clamor of those (m.) demanding battle, the leader could not be heard. (poscō)

Gaul (f. s.) is divided into three parts. (dīvidō)

Echo who dwells in the mountains did not repeat their final words. (habitō)

Heat flattens curved timbers (f.). (curvō)

They avenged the treaties (n.) which were broken in the prior war. (rumpō)

Aeneas softened their grieving hearts (n.) with these words. (maereō)

There were no deaths of those fighting. (pugnō)

Set aside feigned words (n.). (simulō)

The serpents licked their mouths with vibrating lips. (vibrō)

No rest was granted to those sick or those wounded. (vulnerō)

He called back those fleeing. (fugiō)

Your god (m.) is doing nothing. (agō)

At that time the Etruscan camps (n. p.) were located near the banks of the Tiber. (locō)

They attacked the battle line (f. s.) which was fluctuating and unstable. (fluctuō)

You suppose Epicurus prescribes things leading to pleasures. (dūcō)

Simple Sentences

Translate the following sentences using grammar from this assignment.

Nūntiant ēventūra.

Nōs peritūra laudāmus.

Audit clāmōrem et strepitum pugnantium.

Ille fulgentem clipeum sūmpserat.

Potestās omnis in vōbīs sita est, ō iūdicēs.

Tēla vibrantia sapientem nōn territant.

Iter multitūdine fugientium impedītur.

Iuppiter volventem annum aequē dīvidit.

Fabius per effrāctam portam urbem ingreditur.

Nōn tantum ventūrae voluptātēs sed etiam voluptātēs praeteritae nōbīs nocent.

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) Perseus rejects Phineus’ pleas for forgiveness and instead turns him into stone.

Dābō monimenta mansūra per aevum.

2) Ovid summons those who are heartbroken to hear his teachings.

Ad mea praecepta, dēceptī iuvenēs, venīte.

3) Seneca offers a brief reflection on the wise person’s indifference to poverty.

Paupertās nūllī malum est nisī repugnantī.

4) Ovid begins the Metamorphoses.

Animus meus fert mē dīcere formās in nova corpora mūtātās.

[fert, here “drives” or “impels”; dīcere, here “relate”]

5) Neptune restores calm to the seas after they are disturbed by Aeolus’ storm.

Citius tumida aequora plācat, collēctāsque nūbēs fugat, sōlemque redūcit.

6) Vergil’s sad final reflection on the death of Priam.

Ingēns truncus in lītore iacet, āvulsumque ā umerīs caput et sine nōmine corpus.

7) Cicero remarks that his nephew has been reading letters sent to his father by Atticus.

Quīntus Cicerō puer legit epistulam īnscrīptam patrī suō.

[puer, used to distinguish him from his father]

8) Aeneas notes the late hour before recounting his previous adventures to the eager Carthaginians.

Iam nox ūmida praecipitat et cadentia sīdera somnōs suādent.

[praecipitat, here “draws to an end”]

9) Tanaquil addresses the crowd after an attack on her husband, the king Tarquinius Priscus.

Cum clāmor impetusque multitūdinis vix sustinērī posset, ex superiōre parte aedium per fenestrās versās in Novam viam Tanaquil populum adloquitur.

[Novam viam, one of the earliest streets attested in Rome]

10) As Cicero asks for a history of his deeds to be written, he acknowledges that Lucceius has many tasks before him.

Neque tamen, cum haec scrībēbam, eram nescius, quantīs oneribus susceptārum rērum premerēris.

[eram nescius, introduces an indirect question]

11) New religious rites become popular in Rome during the Second Punic War.

In forō Capitōliōque turba mulierum erat nec sacrificantium nec precantium deōs patriō mōre.

[Capitōliō, “Capitol” or “Capitoline hill”]

12) Curio and his cavalry meet with disaster at the hands of the Numidians during the Civil War.

Tum vērō nostrī mīlitēs ad summam dēspērātiōnem perveniunt et partim fugientēs ab equitātū interficiuntur, partim integrī prōcumbunt.

[partim… partim, “some… others”; integrī, as often “unharmed”; prōcumbunt, “fall forward” in supplication]

13) Caesar arranges the battle lines to meet the Helvetii who have returned to fight after their allies briefly repelled the Roman army.

Prima et secunda aciēs instructa est, ut victīs ac submōtīs resisteret, et tertia, ut venientēs sustinēret.

[aciēs, “battle line”; submōtīs, here “dislodged”]

14) Seneca explains how we can see rainbows produced in everyday life.

Vidēmus, cum fistula aliquō locō rupta est, aquam per tenue forāmen ēlīdī et faciem arcūs representāre.

[fistula, here “a water pipe”; faciem arcūs, here “appearance of a rainbow”]

15) Seneca likens the physical characteristics of madness to those of anger.

Ut certa indicia furentium sunt audāx et mināx vultus, trīstis frōns, torua faciēs, citātus gradus, inquiētae manūs, color uersus, crēbra et vehementius acta suspiria, ita īrāscentium eadem signa sunt.

[ut, here “as”; furientium, “be insane”; acta, here “drawn” modifying suspiria]