[Owl] Latin Nouns and Cases

Latin nouns enjoy the choice of
- 2 "numbers";: singular or plural,
- 3 "genders";: masculine, feminine, or neuter,
- 6 "cases";: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative and vocative.

There are five declensions for Latin nouns.
The endings of the singular genitive case of these declensions are:
1) "-ae", 2) "-i", 3) "-is", 4) "-us", 5) "-ei".

* * *


The different grammatical functions a word can have in a sentence is called "case".

"The girl saw the dog."

"I like him. He despises them."

The words "he" and "they" change their forms as their grammatical function in the sentence changes.
This change is called "inflection".

I / mine / me
we / ours / us
you / yours / you
he / his / him
she / hers / her
they / theirs / them

"It's nice to see you."
What would you answer? "Me too." or "You too."


A noun in the nominative case is often the subject of a verb.


The genitive case generally denotes the idea "belonging to" and origin.

1) Possession or origin:
Liber Vergili [a book of Virgil]
Stulti est haec dicere. [It is (the mark) of a fool to say this.]

2) Part of a whole:
Magna pars civium [a great part of the citizens]
Satis pecuniae [enough (of) money]
Nimis honoris [too much (of) respect]
Quid negotii est ?[What (of) trouble is there?]
Aliquid artifici [some (of) skill]
Multi nostrum [many of us]

3) Objective or subjective genitive:
Memor nostri [mindful of us, our remembering]
Amor tui [love of/for you]

4) Value:
Homo nihili [a man of nothing]

5) Description of content or material:
Filia eximiae pulchritudinis [a daughter of outstanding beauty]
Poculum aquae [a cup of water]

6) Description of quality or character:
Vir magnae sapientiae [a man of great wisdom]

7) Like:
Vir mei similis [a man like me]

8) Many verbs and adjectives require the genitive case:
Verborum obliviscor .[I forget the words.]
Me miseret tui .[I feel pity for you.]
Cibi egeo.[I need food.]
Plenus aquae [full of water]


The dative case shows that a noun is indirectly affected by the action of the sentence - the "indirect object". (English can indicate this function by putting the indirect object before the direct object. e.g.: George gave the girl the ball.)

In Latin, the word for "girl (puella)" would be in the dative case. So the form would be "puellae".

1) To indicate the indirect object:
Mihi librum dat.[He gives me a book.]

2) To indicate the person to whose advantage or disadvantage something is done:
Bene est mihi. [It is fine for me.]

3) To indicate possession with the verb 'to be':
Est mihi pecunia. [There is money to me.]

4) As agent:
Haec mihi dicta sunt. [These things have been said by me]
hoc mihi faciendum est [This is to be done by me.]

5) To indicate the person interested in the action:
Quid mihi Celsus agit? [What is Celsus doing? (It interests me.)]

6) To indicate the person judging:
Quintia formosa est multis. [Quintia is beautiful (in the eye of many).]

7) With certain verbs:
credo [believe]
faveo [favour]
fido [trust]
ignosco [pardon]
impero [order]
invideo [envy]
irascor [angry]
minor [threaten]
noceo [harm]
parco [spare]
pareo [obey]
persuadeo [persuade]
placeo [please]
resisto [resist]
subvenio [come to help]

8) With certain adjectives:
proximus ei [near (to) him]
Caesari similis [resembling Caesar]
Mihi utilis [useful to me]

9) Abstract nouns in the dative showing that which a thing serves for:
Odio sum Romanis. [I serve for a hatred to the Romans.]
Voluptati sum ei. [I serve for a pleasure to him/her.]
Milites auxilio misit. [He sent the soldiers to be a help.]


The noun which is directly affected by the action of a verb is put into the accusative case - the "direct object".


1) Separation - away from:
natus Jove [born from Jupiter]
dominatione liberatus [freed from tyranny]

2) Somparison:
quid mollius unda? [what is softer than water?]

3) Locative/temporal ablative:
terra marique [on land and sea]
dextra [on the right]
tribus horis [in three hours]

4) The accompanying ablative:
description: vir magna virtute [a man (with) of great bravery]
manner: Summa (cum) celeritate venit.[He came with very great speed.]
circumstance: te duce vincemus [With you as leader, we shall win.]

5) Instrumental ablative:
agent: Ab his laudatur .[He is praised by these people.]
means: Aaxis se defendunt. [They defend themselves with rocks.]
cause: Amore periit. [He died (because) of love.]
measure: Tu multo altior es. [ You are much taller.]
price: Multo auro hance aulam emi. [I bought this pot at a price of much gold.]
respect: Vir pietate gravis. [A man serious in respect of his piety.]

6) Verbs followed by ablative case:
fungor [perform]
fruor [enjoy]
utor [use]
potior [take possession of]
vescor [eat]
dono [present]
abundo [abound in]
opus est [there is need]

7) Adjectives followed by ablative case:
fretus voce [relying on the voice]
plena gratia [full of grace]
dignus poena [worthy of punishment]

Reference to 論語‧孟子


The vocative case calls someone or something by name to get some attention.

* * *