site index sites of Greece | sites of Italy | other sites | Myth | Romans in...
lectures | texts | Latin | other materials (classics +) | Dr. J's Dossier
Dr J's Audio-Visual Resources for Classics

Back to Latin Instruction Home




Web Resources

How to Use the Tense Timeline to Form Perfect System Verb Tenses

Note the equivalent number of each tense on the number (time) line*:

present = 0
one step in the past =  -1
two steps in the past = -2
one step in the future = +1
two steps in the future = +2

pluperfect imperfect
present future perfect future

-2 -1 0 +1 +2


 (stem from the 4th principal part: laudatus, -a, -um (perfect passive participle)

PERFECT PASSIVE: perfect passive pple + present of SUM as auxiliary (-1 + 0 = -1)

perfect passive pple  present of SUM =   -1 perfect
laudatus + est = laudatus est "he was praised"
-1 + 0 = -1 (one step in the past)
"The child has been praised often."
explanation: this action occurred in the simple past, one step before the present.

PLUPERFECT PASSIVE:  perfect passive pple + imperfect of SUM as auxiliary (-1 + -1 = -2)

perfect passive pple  imperfect of sum = -2  pluperfect
laudatus + erat = laudatus erat "he had been praised"
-1 + -1 = -2 (two steps in the past)
"The child had been praised before evening came."
explanation: both actions are in the past, but one occurred two steps in the past; one action happened before the other, so you must account for two depths of the past, two steps removed from the present.

FUTURE PERFECT PASSIVE: perfect stem + future of sum as auxiliary (-1 + 2 = -1)

perfect passive pple  future of sum = +1  pluperfect
laudatus + erit = laudatus erit "he will have been praised"
-1 + +2 = +1 (in between future and past but after the present)
"The child will have been praised before evening comes."
explanation: both actions are in the future (future), but one will occur after the first one is completed (perfect). The action of the verb in the future perfect tense will occur at a midway point between two points on the line, between NOW (our present) and THEN (when evening comes, the end of the line, which hasn't happened yet, but will).

*Thanks to Peter Rohn, one of my Latin students, for suggesting that I give "future" the value of 2, thereby making it possible to assign a smaller positive integer to "future perfect." I had originally valued "future" at 1, and then was stuck with 1/2 for future perfect. back to top

See Grammar explanation sheet under Chapter 12 for the
Perfect System in Active Voice

copyright 2001 Janice Siegel, All Rights Reserved
send comments to: Janice Siegel (jfsiege@ilstu.edu)

date this page was edited last: 06/29/2005
the URL of this page