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Third Declension - Consonant Base Nouns - Types and Gender


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Well, complicated it is, but still, with several subgroups, it can be simplified. When you have such a variety of nouns, as it happens to be in third declension, sometimes it is important to know the types. These types can tell you the gender of a noun just by looking at its suffix.

As a reminder, here's third declension once again, only this time, I won't use examples of victor and lex, but that of civitas, civitatis, f - state

              Sg                  Pl

N        civitas                civitates

G        civitat-is            civitatum

D        civitati              civitatibus

Acc    civitatem            civitates

V        civitas              civitates

Ab      civitate              civitatibus

As you see, the nominative form civitas is repeated only once - in Vocative case, and that is only because vocative and nominative happen to have the same form. For the rest of the declension, you use the GENITIVE base, which has, in this case, an aditional t which isn't the case in nominative!

Masculine Nouns

They usually have these endings:

  N    G            e.g.

-or, -oris        victor, victoris    -  winner

-os, -oris        mos, moris        - mores

-o, -onis          leo, leonis          - lion

-er, -eris        passer, passeris  - sparrow

-es, -itis          miles, militis      - soldier

-ex, icis          iudex, iudicis    - judge

Remember victor? They follow the same pattern.

Feminine nouns

They usually have these endings:

-as, atis          civitas, civitatis        - state

-aus, audis      laus, laudis              - praise

-us, -utis        virtus, virtutis          - virtue

-us, -udis        palus, paludis          - pond

-io, -ionis        oratio, orationis        - speech

-do, -dinis      fortitudo, fortitudinis  - fortitude

-go, -ginis      imago, imaginis        - image, picture

-x, -cis          pax, pacis                - peace

-x, -gis          lex, legis                - law

You can use civitas and lex as examples, but the pattern is usually the same as that of victor.

Neuter Nouns

They usually have these endings:

-us, -oris        corpus, corporis      - body

-us, -eris        genus, generis        - race, kind

-ur, -uris        fulgur, fulguris        - lightning

-ur, -oris        robur, roboris          - strength (Eng. adjective robust stems from this noun)

-c, -ctis          lac, lactis                - milk

-l, -llis          mel, mellis              - honey

-n, -inis        nomen, nominis        - name

-t, -itis          caput, capitis            - head

The rules are the same as before: follow the pattern of victor.

The only difference is the rule of the neuter!! Remember?


Neuter nouns have same form for Nominative, Accusative and Vocative. So, for corpus, N=Acc=V = corpus; for mel = mel and so on.

Neuter nouns have -a ending in plural of these same cases! So, instead of capites, which would be victor analogy, you have corpora! for mel, it's mella, for nomen, nomina... The rest is the same.

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