Perfect and Passive Two-Step

Latin Verbs with Two Parts

Grammar Helps Index


To help you quickly get a feel for verb forms, remember this rule:

If a verb is in any of the PERFECT tenses and is PASSIVE, then it will take TWO PARTS. One part will be the fourth principal part of the verb, and the other will be derived from the verb to be.


Study this table carefully:






Present Perfect Indicative:

x has loved


x has been loved

amâtus est

Past Perfect (=Pluperfect) Indicative:

x had loved


x had been loved

amâtus erat

Future Perfect Indicative:

x will have loved


x will have been loved

amâtus erit

Perfect Subjunctive:

[I ask what] x has loved


[I ask who/what] has been loved

amâtus sit

Past Perfect (=Pluperfect) Subjunctive:

x would have loved


x would have been loved

amâtus esset

Perfect Infinitive:

to have loved


to have been loved

amâtus esse



Therefore, when you need the passive form of any verb that you know to be in one of the perfect tenses, you can start immediately with the fourth principal part of that verb and then attach the correct form of the verb to be (e.g., est, erat, erit, sit, esset, esse). Be sure to make the necessary adjustments for number, person, and gender.

NOTE: This rule does not work in the reverse direction; that is, if you have a verb with two parts, you do not necessarily have a form that is perfect and passive:

amâtûrus esse

to be about to love

future active infinitive

amâtum îrî

to be about to be loved

future passive infinitive

amandum est

x must be loved

future passive periphrasitic


Of course, if you need a form that you know is perfect and active, you should go immediately to the stem taken from the third principal part, e.g, amâv- .






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Latin Teaching Materials at Saint Louis University: © Claude Pavur 1997 - 2010.  This material is being made freely available for non-commercial educational use.