edited by Meagan Ayer et al.

The Perfect System

Book Nav


169. The tenses of the Perfect System in the active voice are made from the Perfect stem as follows.

a. In the Perfect Indicative the endings , -istī, etc. are added directly to the Perfect stem.


b. In the Pluperfect Indicative the suffix -eram, -erās, etc. is added to the Perfect stem.


Note— This seems to represent an older †-is-ām, etc. formed on the analogy of the Future Perfect in -erō (older †-is-ō, see c below) and influenced by eram (imperfect of sum) in comparison with erō (future of sum).

c. In the Future Perfect the suffix -erō, -eris, etc. is added to the Perfect stem.


Note— This formation was originally a subjunctive of the -s- Aorist, ending probably in †-is-ō. The -is- is doubtless the same as that seen in the 2nd person singular of the Perfect Indicative (vīd-is-tī), in the Perfect Infinitive (vīd-is-se), and in the Pluperfect Subjunctive (vīd-is-sem), s being the aorist sign and i probably an old stem vowel.

d. In the Perfect Subjunctive the suffix -erim, -eris, etc. is added to the Perfect stem.


Note— This formation was originally an Optative of the -s- Aorist (-er- for older
-is-, as in the Future Perfect, see c above). The i after r is the Optative mood-sign ī shortened (see § 168.e, Note 2). Forms in -īs, -īt, -īmus, -ītis, are sometimes found. The shortening in -ĭs, -ĭmus, -ĭtis, is due to confusion with the Future Perfect.

e. In the Pluperfect Subjunctive the suffix -issem, -issēs, etc. is added to the Perfect stem.


Note— Apparently this tense was formed on the analogy of the Pluperfect Indicative in †-is-ām (later -er-am, see b.), and influenced by essem (earlier †essēm) in its relation to eram (earlier †esām).1



1. The signs of mood and tense are often said to be inserted between the root (or verb stem) and the personal ending. No such insertion is possible in a language developed like the Latin. All true verb forms are the result, as shown above, of composition; that is, of adding to the root or the stem either personal endings or fully developed auxiliaries (themselves containing the personal terminations), or of imitation of such processes. Thus vidēbāmus is made by adding to vidē-, originally a significant word or a form conceived as such, a full verbal form †bāmus, not by inserting -bā- between vidē- and -mus (§ 168.b).


The Perfect Tense

The Pluperfect Tense

The Future Perfect Tense

The Perfect Passive

The Pluperfect Passive

The Future Perfect Passive

The Perfect Active Subjunctive

The Perfect Passive Subjunctive

The Pluperfect Active Subjunctive

The Pluperfect Passive Subjunctive

XML Files: 

Suggested Citation

Meagan Ayer, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7. http://dcc.dickinson.edu/grammar/latin/perfect-system