First/Second Declension Adjectives

First/second declension adjectives take all their endings from … you guessed it, first and second declensions. They go to first declension for their feminine forms, and second declension for their masculine and neuter forms. A full declensional chart for a first/second declension adjective looks like this:

Table 6-2 The First/Second Declension Adjective bonus, -a, -um (good)

Adjectives must agree with the nouns they modify in gender, case, and number, but not in declension!

When first/second declension adjectives are paired with first or second declension nouns, they're usually a perfect fit in that they rhyme (e.g., ta longa, servīs bonī s). When first/second declension adjectives are mated with third, fourth, or fifth declension nouns, however, they usually don't rhyme.

Here are some examples in the nominative singular:

homī bonus (a good person)

domus bona (a good house)

mulier bona (a good woman)

rēs bona (a good thing)

tempus bonum (a good time)

When nouns appear in other cases than the nominative, their adjectives continue to agree in gender, case, and number. They also stay whatever declension they happen to be — that never changes. Here are the same noun/adjective combinations in the accusative plural:

hominēs bonīs (good people)

domūs bonā s (good houses)

mulierēs bonā s (good women)

rēs bonā s (good things)

tempora bona (good times)

In all these examples, the adjective and its noun agree in gender, case, and number. The adjective bonus, -a, -um happens to be a first/second declension adjective; s happens to be a fifth declension noun. That doesn't matter. They still can and do agree in gender, case, and number, so s bonā s may not look like a perfect match, but they're both feminine accusative plural, and that's all the matters.

Practice with First and Second Declension Adjectives

Translate the following adjective/noun pairs, then give their case and number. Example: canēs malō s bad dogs (acc. pl.)

  • ta longa

  • deās bonā s

  • rem aliam

  • domūs magnā s

  • hominēs malō s

  • manūs meā s

  • pater suus

  • servōs altō s

  • tempus bonum

  • tempora bona

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