Genitive

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The genitive case is the Latin grammatical case of possession that marks a noun as being the possessor of another noun, for example in English "Popillia's book" or in "board of directors", but it can also indicate various relationships other than possessions.

The genitive is the only grammatical case in Latin which is different in each of the five declensions, so the genitive case serves to distinguish the single declensions from each other.

Here are the basic and very general rules for making a genitive in singular:

  • If a word ends in "-us" or "-um", then the genitive ends in "-i". Tullius becomes Tullii; forum will be fori.
  • If a word ends in "-a", then the genitive ends in "-ae". Livia becomes Liviae.
  • If a word ends in "-o", then the genitive ends in "-onis". Cicero becomes Ciceronis.
  • Many other words change their ending to "-is" whose rules are more difficult and are not detailed here. Here are some just for example:
Audens in genitive becomes Audentis,
Venus in genitive is Veneris,
homo in genitive is hominis,
consul in genitive is consulis
praetor in genitive is praetoris and so on.
  • Some common nouns ending in "-us" change their ending to long "-ús" in genitive, for example:
Senatus in genitive is Senatús,
exercitus in genitive is exercitús and so on.


Usage in practice

Avarage Nova Roman citizen has to use genitive in some expressions like "pater patriae", "scriba censoris" but it is also useful when one connects people to offices, or wants to entitle a message in Latin, or especially when addressing magistrates' assistants.


Forming the genitive in all declensions

Attention: in the third declension, there are two subcategories: "consonant stem" and "i-stem". They are almost identical, but when it comes to the plural genitive form, nouns of the "consonant stem" get an ending "-um", while "i-stem" nouns get an "-ium" ending. How to differentiate between "consonant stem" and "i-stem"?

Nouns of "i-stem" are the following:

  1. nouns ending in -is, -es, and having a genitive form with a number of syllables equal to their nominative form. E. g.: civis, civis mf, or collis, collis m;
  2. nouns ending in consonant + s (-rs, -ns, -ps, -bs, -x), but only, and exclusively only, if before their genitive ending -is there are at least two consonants. E. g.: gens, gentis, f ("-nt-" is two consonants before the "-is"), or nox, noctis f ("-ct-" is two consonants before the "-is").
  3. neuter nouns ending in -e, -al, -ar. E. g.: mare, maris; n, animal, -alis, n; nectar, nectaris, n.
  4. almost all adjectives of the third declension

Nouns of "consonant stem" are all nouns of the third declension not matching the requirements listed above.


First declension Second declension
A-Stem O-Stem
mf
terra, -ae, f
land
mf
tribúnus, -í, m
tribune
n
auspicium, -í, n
auspice
Singular Singular Singular
Nominative terra —— tribúnus —— auspicium ——
Accusative terram –am tribúnum –um auspicium ——
Genitive terrae –ae tribúní –í auspicií –í
Dative terrae –ae tribúnó –ó auspició –ó
Ablative terrá –á tribúnó –ó auspició –ó
Plural Plural Plural
Nominative terrae –ae tribúní –í auspicia –a
Accusative terrás –ás tribúnós –ós auspicia –a
Genitive terrárum –árum tribúnórum –órum auspiciórum –órum
Dative-
Ablative
terrís –ís tribúnís –ís auspiciís –ís


Third declension Fourth declension
Consonant Stem I-Stem U-Stem
mf
léx, légis, f
law
n
iús, iúris, n
right
mf
cívis, -is, mf
citizen
n
mare, -is, n
sea
mf
senátus, -ús, m
senate
n
cornú, -ús, n
horn
Singular Singular Singular Singular Singular Singular
Nominative léx —— iús —— cívis —— mare —— senátus —— cornú ——
Accusative légem –em iús —— cívem –em mare —— senátum –um cornú ——
Genitive légis –is iúris –is cívis –is maris –is senátús –ús cornús –ús
Dative légí –í iúrí –í cíví –í marí –í senát –uí cornú –ú
Ablative lége –e iúre –e cíve –e marí –í senátú –ú cornú –ú
Plural Plural Plural Plural Plural Plural
Nominative-
Accusative
légés –és iúra –a cívés –és maria –ia senátús –ús cornua –ua
Genitive légum –um iúrum –um cívium –ium marium –ium senátuum –uum cornuum –uum
Dative-
Ablative
légibus –ibus iúribus –ibus cívibus –ibus maribus –ibus senátibus –ibus cornibus –ibus


Fifth declension
E-Stem
mf
diés, éí, m
day
Singular
Nominative diés ——
Accusative diem –em
Genitive-
Dative
diéí –éí
Ablative dié –é
Plural
Nominative-
Accusative
diés –és
Genitive diérum –érum
Dative-
Ablative
diébus –ébus
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