Latin Hacks: Verbs

third conjugation
I stumbled upon a “hack” while teaching my kids that I just have to share.  It may not continue to be useful, but it’s been super-helpful so far.

I tell them that every Latin verb has three parts:  what, when, and who.

It’s exactly backwards from how we would say it in English.

“He will eat.”   in Latin is Eat will he (ed e t).  So, we do our translations in reverse order.


Caesar was conquering.

1.  Conquer  = vincere.
We only need this guy for a second.

The “re” means  no one’s doing this, I just am, man. Cross him out.
That “e” in the stem means we’re in 3rd conjugation (chart above).
Now cross it out! “Bye, E!  Thank you for your information.”

2.  Caesar is a dude.  HE was conquering. = t

________    _____ _____ _t_

3.  WAS conquering is past tense. = eba

________    _____ _eba_ _t_

4.  What was he doing?  conquering – vinc

________    _vinc_ _eba_ _t_

5.  We have a noun.  He’s the boss in this sentence = first form

Caesar  vincebat.