How to Organize Verbs


How to Organize Verbs– by Ruth Breindel

I find that students need charts to hold on to, so that they can understand the structure of Latin in its entirely. No matter which book you use, whether grammar or reading method (or even an in-between approach), charts will help students see the similarities and differences both within and across conjugations. Filling them out as you go along works best, and students can reference them continually.

Here is the template that I use for the entire verb conjugation. Every conjugation is done on a separate sheet (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd io, 4th, sum and possum), so by the end of the first year, each student has 7 sheets. Under each tense there are 7 lines: 6 are for the people and the bottom one for the translation. I make a modified sheet for the subjunctive (you can make it from this one by just folding the future and future perfect under and copying it; however, change the principal part data).

Because the perfect tense “sits under” the present, I explain to the students that that’s why you use the present of sum in the perfect passive. In the same way, the pluperfect is under the imperfect, and uses the imperfect of sum attached to the perfect stem in the active, and separately in the passive (as in the perfect passive); likewise, the future perfect active has the perfect stem plus the future of sum, and the passive has the future of sum separately.

My students groan about copying the information into their charts, but it really helps them understand the structure of the verbs. I encourage them to use the charts while doing their homework. In addition, whenever we do a new chart, they take out the old ones to see the relationship among them. These charts have been a life saver for many students, especially those who need to have information organized for them.

Here are the charts:
ConjugationChartsLarge.pdf (They can be printed on one 11×17 sheet or on two 8.5×11 sheets)

(edited to fix title)


About Lydia Haile Fassett

Lydia is the Editor of CANEPress and is currently on maternity leave from teaching Latin and Classics at Academy Hill School in Springfield, MA. Her research interests include the use of technology in the classroom, Roman textiles, the Classical tradition, and Suetonius. Follow her on Twitter via @magistrahf.