Lesson 4: First Conjugation

Lesson 4 – First Conjugation


So far, we have covered nouns and adjectives, but our Latin sentences have been somewhat uninteresting because we have not yet learned how to use the backbone of the sentence – the verb. In this lesson, we will learn three tenses from the first conjugation; then we will finally be able to put together complete sentences!


Verb Refresher


Here are a few things about verbs to remember before we get started:

Verbs indicate the action of a sentence. With a few exceptions, sentences cannot be complete without a verb, because the point of a sentence is to make a statement about an action or a state of being.

Verbs use tenses to indicate what time the action is taking place in. Every action takes place in one of three possible time frames: past, present, future. There are a number of tenses which are used to nuance the meaning of the time and the frequency of the action.

Verbs have subjects. The subject is the one who performs the action or is a certain way. Most verbs also have objects; they affect another word in the sentence, establishing meaning in relation to that word.

Those are the basics.


Principal Parts

Every Latin verb is identified by four principle parts, which are essential to knowing how the verb works. You must memorize these, first to be able to identify different forms of a verb, second to be able to conjugate a verb properly.

The principal parts consist of the first person singular present indicative active, the present infinitive, the first person singular perfect indicative active, and the supine in –um. Here is an example:


To love:

Amō (first person singular present indicative active)             – I love/ I am loving/ I do love

Amāre (present infinitive)                                                      – To love

Amāvī (first person singular perfect indicative active)           – I loved/ I have loved

Amātum (supine in –um)                                                         – loved


Each of these principal parts gives you the stem necessary to conjugate the different tenses. For now we need only to focus on the first and second principle parts, because that is how we will get our stems.


First conjugation endings

The tenses we will cover today are the present tense, the imperfect tense, and the future tense. Here is a brief explanation of each one:


The present tense denotes action occurring now. It can be translated a few different ways; let’s use to love as an example. The present could be:

I love / I am loving / I do love



The imperfect is a past tense. It denotes action having occurred already, but which has some duration of time or continual aspect. It could be translated:

I was loving / I used to love / I kept on loving


The future denotes action that will occur. There are a few ways it can be translated:

I will love / I am going to love / I am about to love


We are also covering the present infinitive. It can simply be translated to love, as in I began to love.


Here finally, are the endings for each of the tenses we are learning in this lesson:




Singular                                                           Plural

1st Person        ō 1st Person        āmus

2nd Person       ās 2nd Person       ātis

3rd Person        -at 3rd Person        -ant



Singular                                                           Plural

1st Person        -bam 1st Person        -bāmus

2nd Person       -bās 2nd Person       -bātis

3rd Person        -bat 3rd Person        -bant


Singular                                                           Plural

1st Person        -bō 1st Person        -bimus

2nd Person       -bis 2nd Person       -bitis

3rd Person        -bit 3rd Person        -bunt

Present Infinitive



Now that we know the basics, we will look at a few examples. First, however, we will learn how to determine the stem on which to place the endings.

The best method is to look at the present infinitive and take off the –re. For example, amare becomes ama-. Another method is to remember that the ending basis of the first conjugation in –a-, as in am-a-re. Take the ending off the first principal part, add the –a– and you have your stem.


Now let’s look at a verb fully conjugated in the tenses we have learned. We’ll use amo again.



Singular                                                           Plural

1st Person        amō 1st Person        amāmus

2nd Person       amās 2nd Person       amātis

3rd Person        amat 3rd Person        amant



Singular                                                           Plural

1st Person        amābam 1st Person        amābāmus

2nd Person       amābās 2nd Person       amābātis

3rd Person        amābat 3rd Person        amābant


Singular                                                           Plural

1st Person        amābo 1st Person        amābimus

2nd Person       amābis 2nd Person       amābitis

3rd Person        amābit 3rd Person        amābunt

Present Infinitive





Here is a new set of words. Learning all the verbs will make studying Latin much more interesting:


aurum, –ī (n.) gold

amō, amāre, amāvī, amātum to love, to like

caecus, -a, -um blind

dea, –ae (f.) goddess

dō, dāre, dēdī, datum to give

gaudium, –ī (n.) joy

habitō, habitāre, habitāvī, habitātum to dwell, to live, to inhabit

labōrō, labōrāre, labōrāvī, labōrātum to work, to labor

laudō, laudāre, laudāvī, laudātum to praise

parō, parāre, parāvī, parātum to prepare

portō, portāre, portāvī, portātum to carry

pugnō, pugnāre, pugnāvī, pugnātum to fight

saxum, –ī (n.) stone, rock

silva, –ae (f.) forest

superō, superāre, superāvī, superātum to conquer, to overcome

terra, –ae (f.) earth, land

vocō, vocāre, vocāvī, vocātum to call


et (conjunction) and




  1. Conjugate the following verbs into the tenses given:
    1. dō, dāre, dēdī, datum       (present)
    2. pugnō, pugnāre, pugnāvī, pugnātum         (future)
    3. vocō, vocāre, vocāvī, vocātum                  (imperfect)


  1. Translate; give person, number, tense
    1. Laudant
    2. Pugnābātis
    3. Superābunt
    4. Dās
    5. Habitābam
    6. Laborāmus
    7. Portābat
    8. Amābis
    9. Vocātis

10.  Parābimus


  1. Latin to English: translate the following into English
    1. Caecī nautae pulchrīs fēminīs rosās et parva saxa dant.
    2. Gaudium literārum gladium superābit.
    3. Puerī magna saxa portabant. Labōrant et dabunt aurum deīs. Deae puerōs laudābunt.


  1. English to Latin: translate the following into Latin
    1. I am blind. You (pl.) will give gold to blind men. It will give joy to the gods.
    2. He was fighting the evil men.
    3. The goddesses love the forest and the earth.
    4. The poets are fighting and they will prepare (for) war.
    5. The good woman is calling (to) the goddess. She works for the girls.



Answer Key


A.        Conjugate the following verbs into the tenses given:

1.         dō, dāre, dēdī, datum (present)


Singular                                                           Plural

1st Person        dō 1st Person        dāmus

2nd Person       dās 2nd Person       dātis

3rd Person        dat 3rd Person        dant


2.         pugnō, pugnāre, pugnāvī, pugnātum   (future)


Singular                                                           Plural

1st Person        pugnābam 1st Person        pugnābāmus

2nd Person       pugnābās 2nd Person       pugnābātis

3rd Person        pugnābat 3rd Person        pugnābant


3.         vocō, vocāre, vocāvī, vocātum            (imperfect)


Singular                                                           Plural

1st Person        vocābo 1st Person        vocābimus

2nd Person       vocābis 2nd Person       vocābitis

3rd Person        vocābit 3rd Person        vocābunt




B.        Translate; give person, number, tense

1.         Laudant  – they praise: 3rd person, plural, present

2.         Pugnābātis – you (pl.) were fighting: 2nd person, plural, imperfect

3.         Superābunt – they will conquer: 3rd person, plural, future

4.         Dās – you (sing.) give: 2nd person, singular, present

5.         Habitābam – I was dwelling: 1st person, singular, present

6.         Laborāmus – We are working: 1st person, plural, present

7.         Portābat – He was carrying: 3rd person, singular, imperfect

8.         Amābis – You (sing.) will love: 2nd person, singular, future

9.         Vocātis – You (pl.) are calling: 2nd person, plural, present

10.       Parābimus – We will prepare: 1st person, plural, future


C.        Latin to English: translate the following into English

1.         The blind sailors are giving roses and small rocks to the pretty women.

2.         The joy of literature will overcome the sword.

3.         The boys were carrying large rocks. They are working and they will give gold to the gods/goddesses. The goddesses will praise the boys.


D.        English to Latin: translate the following into Latin

1.         Caecus sum. Dābitis aurum caecis. Dābit gaudium deīs.

2.         Pugnābat malōs.

3.         Deae silvam et terram amant.

4.         Poetae pugnant et bellum parābunt.

5.         Fēmina bona deae vocat. Puellīs labōrat.

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