Usor:Nickshanks/Idiot's Guide to Latin

Since I am an idiot I thought it would be useful to similarly feeble-minded folks if I were to write down a quick primer in Latin. So here it is.

Word orderRecensere

There is no defined word order in Latin, the various endings on words (cases) tell you who is doing what to whom. However, the following conventions tend to be the default order:

  • verbs come at the end of sentences: Ad tabernam cucurri → to shop i-ran → I ran to the shop.
  • people doing things come before people having things done to them: Marcus uxorem interfecit. → Marcus his-wife did-kill → Mark killed his wife.


Tenses are what tells you when an action occurred, and are basically in three flavours, past, present and future.

Past TenseRecensere

There are two main forms of the past tense, the perfect ('he did something') and the imperfect ('he was doing something'). In Latin you can recognise these thusly:

  • Perfect: verbs will usually have -vi- or at least a -v- towards the end. e.g. superavit → bettered; overpowered. This is not always the case however. Exceptions will have to be learned individually.
  • Imperfect: verbs will always have a -ba- near the end. e.g. cenabat → was eating.

Present TenseRecensere

The present tense is simply anything that isn't past or future. :-)

Future TenseRecensere