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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

THIRD DECLENSION/ Summary of i-Stems

77. The regular Nominative plural of i- stems is -ēs, 1 but -īs is occasionally found. The regular Accusative plural -īs is common, but not exclusively used in any word. An old form for both cases is - eis (diphthong).

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The Indo-European ending of the nominative plural, -ĕs (preserved in Greek in consonant stems, as ὄρτυξ, ὄρτυγ-ες ), contracts with a stem-vowel and gives -ēs in the Latin i-declension (cf, the Greek plural ὄεις ). This -ēs was extended to consonant stems in Latin.