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Understanding Participles in Latin. MarshLatin.wordpress.com. In order to understand participles, remember the following:. Participles are verbal adjectives. They have some features of verbs and some of adjectives. But they are most basically a type of adjective.

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understanding participles in latin

Understanding Participles in Latin


in order to understand participles remember the following
In order to understand participles, remember the following:
  • Participles are verbal adjectives.
  • They have some features of verbs and some of adjectives. But they are most basically a type of adjective.
  • As adjectives, participles can modify nouns or pronouns.
  • As adjectives, participles can sometimes stand alone (as "substantives"), with the modified noun or pronoun implied.
  • As verbals, participles can take objects.
  • As verbals, participles can have tense (i.e., refer to past, present, or future) and voice (i.e., indicate that an agent is "actively" doing something or "passively" receiving
1 participles are verbal adjectives
1. Participles are verbal adjectives.

Here are some participles with the nouns and pronouns that they modify:

* The shining sun.

* The waning moon.

* The crying child.

* The running water.

* Those qualifying for a rebate.

* The book loved by millions.

Notice that a verb stands behind each participle: to shine, to wane, to cry, to run, to qualify, to love.

2 ordinary adjectives can be used alone as things or substantives
2. Ordinary adjectives can be used alone as "things" or "substantives":

* The poor need help.

* The rich have an opportunity.

* How can we achieve the greater good?

Attending to what these phrases really mean shows their adjectival nature: the poor [people], the rich [people], the good [reality]. A noun (people or reality) is implied but not stated.

substantive participles
Substantive Participles

Participles can be used the same way. The following participles are used substantively; that is to say that they stand for persons, places, or things just as nouns do:

examples of substantice participles
Examples of Substantice Participles
  • Find the dispossessed.
  • Care for the dying and the wounded.
  • Join the blessed.

What the participles really mean is something like the following [items]

  • the dispossessed [people]
  • the dying [persons] and the wounded[persons]
  • the blessed [ones].
3 as verbals participles can do something that ordinary adjectives cannot do
3. As verbals, participles can do something that ordinary adjectives cannot do

Participles can have objects:

  • * Catching the ball, the receiver fell to his knees.
  • * Reading the Latin poem, the lady swooned.
  • * Studying participles, the students sat in silent amazement.

To find the object of a participle, ask Who? or What? after it:

  • Catching what? The ball.
  • Reading what? The poem.
  • Studying what? Participles.

Here is a famous Latin example of a participle taking an object:

TimeôDanaôs et donaferentês. = I fear the Greeks even [when they are] bearing gifts.

participial phrases
Participial Phrases

Notice that the participial phrases, which happen to be marked off here by a comma from the rest of the sentence, modify some substantive:

* Which receiver? The catching receiver, the receiver catching the ball.

* Which lady? The reading lady, the lady reading the poem.

* What students? The studying students, the students studying participles.

Participial phrases do not include the words that they modify (e.g., receiver, lady, students), only the words that closely depend upon the participle itself.


Another example:

ipse equocircumiensunumquemquenominansappellat, hortatur...

He himself circling on his horse, naming each one, calls them, encourages them...

5 participles can have tense and voice
5. Participles can have tense and voice.

TENSE indicates a reference to past, present, or future.

VOICE indicates an agency's direct action (active voice) or an agency's receiving of an action ("suffering", passive voice).

N.B.: Not all languages use all the possible combinations of tenses and voices.

present active participle
Present Active Participle:

amâns- loving; the loving one (= lover)

sequêns - following

sapiêns - wisely knowing, the knowing one, the sage

oriêns - rising

past passive participle
Past Passive Participle:

amâta - loved; having been loved, the beloved

parâtus - prepared

captî - [those] having been captured; taken

armâtî - armed

past active participle only for deponent verbs
Past Active Participle (only for deponent verbs):

secûtus- having followed

locûta - having spoken

future active participle
Future Active Participle:

moritûrî- about to die, going to die

futûra - about to be

future passive participle the gerundive
Future Passive Participle (= the "Gerundive"):

dêlenda - about to be destroyed, to be destroyed

agenda - [things] to be done

corrigenda - [things] to be corrected

memoranda - [things] to be remembered