The Future and Imperfect Active Indicative of Verbs

The table giving the paradigms for the future tense shows the importance of knowing to which conjugation a verb belongs. Consider, for example, the form mittet. This is the third person singular future indicative active of the verb mitto, mittere, misi, missum 3, “he (she/it) will send”. If we did not know its conjugation, we might be tempted to suppose that it is the third person singular of a second conjugation verb in the present tense, like monet.

Throughout the course, “will” is used for all three persons, since the use of “shall” in the first person seems now confined to a small part of England. “In the first person, shall has, from the early M(iddle)E(nglish) period, been the normal auxiliary for expressing mere futurity, without any adventitious notion ... To use will in these cases is now a mark of Scottish, Irish, provincial, or extra-British idiom” (OED 2nd ed. [1989]). (See also the Fetutinae to Chapter 18, on “that”/“which”.)

The notion of habitual, begun or attempted action can be expressed more emphatically by the use of verbs meaning specifically “be accustomed” (soleo, solere, solitus sum 2; see Chapter 15), “begin” (incipio, incipere, incepi, inceptum 3 i-stem, coepi, coepisse; see Chapter 19) and “attempt” (conor 1; see Chapter 15).

Beginning students are sometimes misled by the b in the stem of debeo and habeo into supposing that forms such as debemus and habetis are in the future tense.

Whereas the etymology of senatus (see Chapter 11) as a meeting place for old men (senes) is obvious, curia is more obscure. It is generally supposed nowadays to be derived from cum “with” and vir “man” i.e. a meeting place for men.

Although de came to be used to denote possession in the Romance languages (la plume de ma tante, Le Nozze di Figaro, Santiago de Compostela etc.), it was very rarely so used in classical Latin, and the idiom should not be imitated. The genitive case performs that function.