Experience III, Lesson 19: The Sequence of Tenses

Learning how to use the different Subjunctive Verb times

What Time to use in the Subjunctive?

The system is called the Consecutio temporum - The Sequence of Tenses (the following of times). The system is divided into two parts or tracts: the primary sequence and the secondary or historical sequence.

Tract 1: Primary Sequence

Indicative TimesSubjunctive TimesConcept
T.1
T.3
T.4a
T.6
T.1scontemporaneous, incomplete, ongoing, perpetual, open-ended, or FUTURE
T.3santecedent, completed, previous, future completed

Tract 2: Secondary/Historical Sequence

Indicative TimesSubjunctive TimesConcept
T.2
T.4b
T.5
T.2scontemporaneous, incomplete, ongoing, perpetual, open-ended, or FUTURE
T.4santecedent, completed, previous, future completed (future perfect)
In sum: the subjunctive that is used will depend on the main indicative verb.
E.g. if my indicative is T.1, I'm in Tract 1, and my subjunctive must be T.1s or T.3s:
nescio (T.1) quid dicant (T.1s) - I don't know what they were saying/are saying/will say.
nescio (T.1) quid dixerint (T.3s) - I don't know what they said/had said/will have said.
If my indicative is T.2, I'm in Tract 2:
nesciebam (T.2) quid non facerent (T.2s) - I was not aware what they were doing/used to be doing.
nesciebam (T.2) quid non fecissent (T.4s) - I was not aware what they did/had done.
A simple chart of the two tracts for memorization:

Tract 1

Tract 2

IndicativeSubjunctiveIndicativeSubjunctive
T.1
T.3
T.4a
T.6
T.1sT.2
T.4b
T.5
T.2s
T.3sT.4s

This system will cover 97% of all Subjunctives which depend on Indicatives.

Now go on to Homework 17, Homework 18+19, Homework 20, and Homework 21.

Third Experience Latin - Fr. Reginald Foster

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