Color Coded Latin: A Teaching Method

by Kathleen Canning

© 2011

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  1. Preface
  2. Color Chart
  3. First Declension
  4. Second Declension
  5. Third Declension
  6. Fourth Declension
  7. Fifth Declension
  8. First Conjugation
  9. Second Conjugation
  10. Third Conjugation
  11. Fourth Conjugation
  12. Irregular Verbs
  13. Latin Sentences Using Declensions and Conjugations
  14. The Genitive Case
  15. The Dative Case
  16. Prepositional Phrases
  17. Pronouns
  18. Interrogative Pronouns
  19. Demonstrative Pronouns
  20. Subjunctive ARE Verbs
  21. Subjunctive Long ERE 2nd Conjugation Verbs
  22. Subjunctive ERE 3rd Conjugation Verbs
  23. Subjunctive I-Stem 3rd Conjugation Verbs
  24. Subjunctive IRE 4th Conjugation Verbs

Prepositional Phrases:

What is the difference between a clause and a phrase?

A clause will have a subject and a verb and may or may not make sense when standing on its own. If it makes sense we call it a sentence. If it has to depend on some other part of the sentence for its sense we call it a dependent clause.

A prepositional phrase will have a preposition and its object or objects. There will not be a verb.

Pre-pono Pre = before and pono = put/ place. Ergo, a preposition is a word placed before another word (noun, a pronoun and sometimes a gerund.) For our purposes, Latin used the preposition to break up the strings of objects both direct and indirect. It became an object or accusative/ ablative form. That might be why we learn that a preposition must take an object (pronoun) like me, us and them.

How often do you hear people say ,between you and I ? It makes my teeth chatter. Between you and me would be correct. The older English grammar books sometimes mention informal grammar and they allow for clauses like (It is me) instead of the formal It is I. However, do not say between you and myself, or between you and I. They are just plain wrong.

Later in these lessons we will study pronouns and that will be a good place to do an in depth study of correct usage. For now let it suffice to say that prepositions take object forms.

In Latin we will start with the two simplest forms of phrases {Ablative} and [Accusative.]

Here is how that will work. I will list a group of common prepositions and then separate them into those which take an ablative object and which ones take an accusative object or sometimes both. With that much information one can easily begin to put together some rather lengthy sentences. Unfortunately, it won't stay that easy, as in later lessons the actual prepositions might start disappearing, and labels like ablative absolute will start showing up to complicate matters.

To keep this simple I will use square and rounded brackets to distinguish the accusative from the ablative.

As stated earlier it will not stay this simple as we advance, but it is a good place to start your mastery. The ablative phrases have many more structures than the accusative phrases. For that reason alone, I suggest memorizing the accusative phrases, and then run on the assumption that if it is not one of those assume that it is an ablative form. Although that also will change a little, as the lessons get more advanced and begin to rear their ugly heads. If you want to hear fractured phrases tune into the show The Kardashians. They murder prepositional phrases with pronoun objects, and to make it worse they emphasize I when it should be me.

Before I set up this simple little structure it might be wise to review the gerund. Remember (ing). It was a simple little ending if you learned gerunds before participles. Rule one was a gerund ALWAYS ends in ING. If you can change it to an infinitive it is a gerund or verbal noun. It has the qualities of both a noun and a verb and it ends in ING. Skiing is fun. Skiing is a gerund. To ski is fun; now it is an infinitive. Gerunds can be used alone or with a noun. (Upon answering the phone), I realized it was a bill collector and quickly hung up the phone.

Unfortuanately, participles came along and ruined the simplicity of the gerund. Participles are verbal adjectives. They have the qualities of a verb and adjective the same as the gerund has the qualities of a noun and a verb. The present participles end in ING and that immediately complicated matters. However, this little idea to separate the two works fairly well. Write out the sentence; the boiling pot is on the stove. You cannot say the to boil pot is on the stove. Okay, it must be a present participle. But Skiing is fun/to ski is fun. Obviously this ( ing) word is a gerund.

{} the preposition introduces an ablative phrase.

[] the preposition introduces an accusative phrase.

{[]} the preposition can introduce both ablative and accusative phrases.

in/on{[ in ]}
out of(ex)
under{[ sub ]}

The brave soldiers hastened into battle against the enemies of the king.

Fortes milites [in proelium] [contra hostes] regum contenderunt. [ ] = accusative

The beautiful girls ran in the fields.

Pulchrae puellae (in agris) cucurrerunt. ( ) = ablative

The men came (out of the forest).

Viri (ex silva) venerunt. ( ) = ablative

The master was with the wretched slaves.

Dominus erat (cum servis miseris). ( ) = ablative

He stood on the bridge.

Stetit (in ponte). {[ ]} both ablative / accusative

He walked into the road.

Ambulavit [in viam]. {[ ]} both ablative / accusative

If you need lists of prepositions they are all over the internet. That and a Latin dictionary should be all that you need for now.

Remember: In both Latin and English use object pronouns after prepositions. It is a secret between you & me.

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