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. ).
(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
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.
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.