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Lesson 6: Passive verbs - part 1 | 1 2 3 4 5 6

So far all the verbsView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window that we have encountered have been in what is calheard the active voice. This means that someone or something has carried out an action. We use this voice to say what the subjectView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window does.

For example:

Cartam confirmat
He confirms the charter.

The subject is ‘he’ and the objectView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window is ‘charter’.

However, we will also encounter verbs in the passive voice. This means that an action is done to the subject of the sentence. We use this voice to say what happens to the subject.

For example:

Carta confirmatur
The charter is confirmed.

The subject is ‘charter’.

The passive voice occurs in all the tensesView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window. Luckily, however, in most instances the passive endings are similar for all four conjugationsView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window.

Have a look at the summary below.

Present passive tense
Carta confirmatur
The charter is confirmed.
Imperfect passive tense
Carta confirmabatur
The charter was being confirmed.
Future passive tense
Carta confirmabitur
The charter will be confirmed.
Perfect passive tense
Carta confirmata est
The charter was / has been confirmed.
Pluperfect passive tense
Carta confirmata erat
The charter had been confirmed.
Future perfect passive tense
Carta confirmata erit
The charter will have been confirmed.

Forming the passive 1

Handy hint

The presentView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window, imperfectView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window and futureView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window tenses all share the endings below.

Latin English
-r I
-ris you (singular)
-tur he/she/it
-mur we
-mini you (plural)
-ntur they

Present passive tense

To form a present passive verb you need to add the relevant endings to the stemView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window of the verb.

Exception

To form the first person singular, add the relevant ending, ‘-r’ to the first person singular present active tense, rather than to the stem.

For example:

Latin English
voco I call
vocor I am called

First and second conjugations

To get the stem, remove ‘-re’ from the infinitiveView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window form of the verb.

For example:

The stem for voco, vocare, vocavi, vocatum (1) ‘to call’ would be ‘voca-’.
The stem for habeo, habere, habui, habitum (2) ‘to have’ would be ‘habe-’.

Then add the relevant endings.

For example:

Present passive of voco, vocare, vocavi, vocatum (1) to call

Latin English
vocor I am called, I am being called
vocaris you are called, you are being called
vocatur he/she/it is called, he/she/it is being called
vocamur we are called, we are being called
vocamini you are called, you are being called
vocantur they are called, they are being called

Third conjugation

To get the stem, remove ‘-ere’ from the infinitive form of the verb.

For example:

The stem for duco, ducere, duxi, ductum (3) ‘to lead’ would be ‘duc-’.

Add ‘-e’ to the stem for the second person singular, ‘-i’ for the third person singular, first person plural and second person plural, and ‘-u’ for the third person plural.

For example:

Present passive of duco, ducere, duxi, ductum (3) to lead

Latin English
ducor I am led, I am being led
duceris you are led, you are being led
ducitur he/she/it is led, he/she/it is being led
ducimur we are led, we are being led
ducimini you are led, you are being led
ducuntur they are led, they are being led

Fourth conjugation

To get the stem, remove ‘-re’ from the infinitive form of the verb.

For example:

The stem for audio, audire, audivi, auditum (4) ‘to hear’ would be ‘audi-’.

Then add the relevant endings.

Exception

For verbs of the fourth conjugation, you need to add a -u to the stem for the third person plural before adding the ending.

For example:

Present passive of audio, audire, audivi, auditum (4) to hear

Latin English
audior I am heard, I am being heard
audiris you are heard, you are being heard
auditur he/she/it is heard, he/she/it is being heard
audimur we are heard, we are being heard
audimini you are heard, you are being heard
audiuntur they are heard, they are being heard

Checklist

Are you confident with:

  • The meaning of a present passive tense?
  • The form of a present passive tense?
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