Tip 5: Adjectives, Numbers, Participles, Demonstratives and Pronouns

A276 – Learning Latin – Targeting Grammar – Tip 05


Good news! If you know your nouns then these are (mostly!) easy. The Language Reference Book sets them all out: adjectives (pp.21-26), numbers (p.27), participles (pp.28-30), demonstratives (pp.31-34) and pronouns (pp.35-38).

Let me a give you a timetable for working your way through them:

Wk 1     Wk 2    
Mon magnus 21 noster 21 Mon portans 28 portatus 29
Tue totus 22 omnis 23 Tue is, ea, id 31 ille, illa, illud 32
Wed audax 24 catch-up Wed hic, haec, hoc 33 catch-up
Thu comp’s+sup’s 25 declining c+s 26 Thu ipse, ipsa, ipsum 34 pers. pronouns 35
Fri numbers 27 catch-up Fri quis, quis, quid 37 qui,quae,quod 37
Sat catch-up catch-up Sat catch-up catch-up
Sun catch-up catch-up Sun catch-up catch-up

D o   b e   a w a r e   t h a t   t h i s   is   o n l y   a   r o u g h   g u i d e !!!   (see ‘Time’ below)

Where I’ve noted a word (e.g. ‘magnus’) there’s a table setting out that word with all its possible endings for each case, number, and gender. But do read any other related information on the page.

Where I’ve noted a topic (e.g. ‘pers. pronouns’) there’s usually a number of short tables, or a few examples, to be considered together. But, again, do read any other related information on the page.


Pattern spotting

The idea is to compare an adjective, number, participle, demonstrative or pronoun with all the nouns which you (hopefully now) already know. What are the similarities and what are the differences? Do they follow the pattern of endings of one type of noun? Or are their endings those of a mixture of two or more types of noun? What stands out as being like nothing that you recognise at all? Pay particular attention to such irregularities, inconsistencies and anomalies.



This depends on what works best for you. You might want to write a list of the similarities and a list of the differences. You might want to print off a table, cut it out, stick it on a card and then highlight the similarities in one colour and the differences in another colour. Then you could print off the corresponding noun(s), cut them out, stick them on the back of the card, and similarly highlight the similarities in the same single colour. You can do much the same by hand; writing everything in first before highlighting it will help consolidate your learning. You can, if you’re digitally minded, do the same sort of thing by copying and pasting cropped screen shots from the pdf of the Language Reference Guide into a document [Editor’s Note: try these grammar flashcards]; or playing with the pdf on a tablet or smart phone where you can two-finger zoom the pdf pages to focus on a table, screen shot it, crop it and mark it up in the photo edit mode and collect the images in a folder which you can then swipe through on the bus!      



It’s better to spend five minutes half a dozen times each day on this; rather than sitting down to ‘concentrate’ for 30 minutes at once. Some items are fairly easy to get the hang of relatively quickly. Others take a bit of grappling with to get a grip of. So, if you have an ‘easy’ day where you don’t have to spend much time on it, do get ahead with the next day’s item because there will come a day when you have to tackle something which is much trickier and may well take a lot longer.



KEEP GOING!!! Anyone’s capacity to absorb all this will be different from everyone else’s. No one could possibly soak it all up perfectly (unless, perhaps, you have a photographic memory). Some people will never retain very much at all for very long (not without ‘topping up’ regularly). And there’ll be others at all points in between.

IT IS A HUGE MISTAKE to hammer away at one thing and one thing only until you’ve mastered it perfectly before moving onto the next. THINK about this: would you rather know 10% of everything perfectly and 90% only roughly (and some of it not at all – even though it would have been easy, if you had planned your time to allow yourself to give it at least some attention!); or would you rather be fairly evenly familiar with 90% of everything and ignore entirely the 10% that you know is beyond you? What do you think will get you a better score in the exam? Exactly!

REMEMBER you are trying to cram a lot of Latin language learning into an intensive part-time short course.


Next time

 Sticking on this topic with some more learning ideas and a few pitfall pointers.


Steven Havelin (11.02.18)