The participle is a verbal adjective: a form of the verb that acts like an adjective. There are four participles in Latin: the present active, the perfect passive, the future active, and the future passive. (The future passive participle is not a true participle, but actually the gerundive used as a future passive participle.)
The present active participle translates into English as the verb ending in "-ing": "love" becomes "loving."
Almost all verbs have a present active participle. A notable exception is sum: Latin has no word for "being."
In Latin, the present active participle is formed by taking the present stem, the usual vowels, and -ns, and it is declined as a regular third declension adjective. am-a-ns, amantis vid-e-ns, videntis reg-e-ns, regentis cap-ie-ns, capientis aud-ie-ns, audientis
Even deponents have present active participles. moror, morari, moratus sum, to delay; morans, morantis, delaying
The perfect passive participle is most literally translated into English as "having been verbed." Ex.) amatus = "having been loved." When the perfect passive participle has more adjectival force than verbal force, it can be translated simply as the English past participle "verbed." Ex.) amatus= "loved" or "beloved."
The perfect passive participle is formed from the fourth principal part of the verb. There is some disagreement over what the fourth principal part of the verb really is: some Latin texts assert that it is the supine, and these give it ending in -um. Other Latin texts assert that the fourth principal part is the perfect passive participle and accordingly give it ending in -us. The perfect passive participle is declined like a regular adjective ending in -us, -a, -um.
Not all verbs have a perfect passive participle, usually because the meaning of the verb itself does not allow it to become passive. Sum, for example, cannot be made passive: "having been been" does not make sense. Texts which give the fourth principal part as the perfect passive participle supply the future active participle instead. sum, esse, fui, futurus
The perfect passive participle is used to form all of the perfect passive tenses and moods:
perfect passive indicative: amatus est he has been loved
perfect pass. subjunctive: amatus sit may he have been loved
pluperfect pass. indic.: amatus erat he had been loved
pluperfect pass. subj.: amatus esset he had been loved
future perfect pass. indic.: amatus erit he will have been loved
perfect pass. infinitive: amatus esse to have been loved
future perf. pass. infin.: amatus fore to be about to have been loved
See the conjugations page for a full conjugation with the perfect passive participle.
The perfect passive participle commonly takes a dative of agent. Amatus est filiae. He was loved by his daughter.
The perfect passive participle can be used to form an impersonal passive which removes all responsibility for the action. This is commonly used to describe the action of mobs, which have no distinguishable agent to be the subject of an active construction. Ventum est ad Forum turbae. (The mob came to the Forum. (It was come to the Forum by the mob.)
Some verbs which do not have passive forms because it violates there sense, especially verbs of motion, have a perfect passive participle participle only when used as impersonal passives. Example: curro, currere, cucurri, cursurus, to run cursus "having been run" doesn't make any sense. However, cursum est "it has been run" occurs with the sense that some agentless entity, a mob for example, ran. Cursum est ad Forum turbae. The mob ran to the Forum. (It was run by the mob to the Forum.)
Deponent verbs, which are passive in form but active in meaning, have perfect participles which are passive in form but active in meaning. Only with deponent verbs does Latin manage of "perfect active participle" "having verbed." Example: moror, morari, moratus sum, to delay moratushaving delayed
The perfect passive participle is the verb form most commonly used in the ablative absolute.
The future active participle literally translates into English as "about to verb." Amaturus = "about to love." It can also be translated as "destined to verb," "intending to verb," "going to verb, "fixin' to verb," or similarly. The future active participle can be used in its sense of "destined to verb" or "intending to verb" to indicate purpose.
The future active participle is formed from the fourth principal part by changing the ending form -us to -urus, and it is declined like a regular -us, -a, -um adjective.
All verbs with a fourth principal part have a future active participle, though not all of them have a perfect passive participle, and some verbs like volo, velle, volui have no fourth principle part at all.
The future active participle is used to form the future active infinitive amaturus esse "to be about to love;" and the active periphrastic indicative amaturus est "he is about to love" and the active periphrastic subjunctive amaturus sit "may he be about to love."
Deponent verbs, though passive in form, yet retain a future active participle. Example: moror, morari, moratus sum, to delay moraturusto be about to delay, destined to delay, intending to delay
The future passive participle, while not a true participle, is supplied by the gerundive. It is most literally translated "about to be verbed." Amandus "about to be loved" ("he who is about to be loved").
The future passive participle is formed from the present stem of the verb by adding the usual vowels and -ndus. am-a-ndus vid-e-ndus reg-e-ndus cap-ie-ndus aud-ie-ndus
The future passive participle is declined like a regular -us, -a, -um adjective.
Deponent verbs, while passive in form and active in meaning, yet retain a future passive participle with a passive meaning. Example: moror, morari, moratus sum, to delay morandusabout to be delayed
The future passive participle is used to form the passive periphrastic indicative amandus est "he is about to be/is destined to be loved", and the passive periphrastic subjunctive amandus sit "may he be about to be/destined to be loved." When the future passive participle is the gerundive, the passive periphrastic takes on a sense of necessity and becomes the gerundive of obligation. See the gerundives page for explanation.
The future passive participle can also take a dative of agent. Amandus est illi feminae. He is destined to be loved by that woman.
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