The Subjunctive 3


Now for the perfect and pluperfect subjunctive forms, both active and passive. These are similar in that they all use a verb’s perfect, not its present, stem. So that’s eg- not ag– for agere, amav- not am– for amare etc. When you’ve found the stem, you add the appropriate ending to form either the perfect or the pluperfect subjunctive.

The perfect endings are very similar to the endings of the future perfect: try to use this as a memory aid. The perfect subjunctive endings are -erim, -eris, -erit, –erimus, –eritis, -erint. A perfect subjunctive active looks like this: laudaverimlaudaveris, etc.

The pluperfect subjunctive endings have a characteristic double ‘s’, which you should use to help you identify them: -issem, -isses, -isset, -issemus, –issetis, –issent. So a pluperfect subjunctive active looks like this: laudavissem, laudavisses, etc.

Those are the active forms. The passive forms are very similar. In both cases you take the perfect passive participle (amatus, monitus etc.) and you add the verb esse. For the perfect, it’s esse in the present subjunctive (sim, sis, sit …); for the pluperfect it’s esse in the imperfect subjunctive (essem, esses, esset …). So you get forms like amatus sim and amatus essem.

That’s a lot of new forms. As always, don’t feel you have to memorise them now. Remember you’ll be translating mostly from Latin, so it’s more a case of recognising which subjunctive is which, not learning every single ending off by heart.

Another help is that you will rarely meet the imperfect, perfect, and pluperfect subjunctives on their own. They have different uses according to the type of clause they’re used in. For the moment, just aim to be able to distinguish the four types of subjunctive.