If I understood right the Locative is mostly to be formed in singular (e.g. domi, ruri, ...). Some websites say that we just use the same form as the genitive, some websites say that we use the genitive in 1st and 2nd declension and the ablative in 3rd declension.

That fits if we look at humus (humi, genitive), bellum (belli, genitive) and also cities like Carthago (Carthagine / Carthagini, ablative).

But then I was confused as I found locatives like ruri (dative), tempori (dative) and luci (dative).
What about them?

  • 2
    The general rule is that the locative is formed like the locative. It's a separate (if moribund) case, not a series of special uses of the more common cases.
    – Cairnarvon
    Jan 2, 2021 at 21:08
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    So there is no real regularity for those few Locatives that are left?
    – Cyb3rKo
    Jan 2, 2021 at 21:41
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    Sihler (276.6) says that ruri was made on analogy. I imagine a similar thing is going on with tempori, because tempore also works. Sometimes sound changes can be irregular.
    – cmw
    Jan 2, 2021 at 22:21
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    I don't know. So every locative of a city is regular?
    – Cyb3rKo
    Jan 2, 2021 at 22:43
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    @Cyb3rKo As far as I know, yes, but if there is an irregularity, it doesn't necessarily go back to a proto-language.
    – cmw
    Jan 2, 2021 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


I was never taught that the locative was formed using another case, but I am aware many grammar books refer to a genitive-locative (or other cases) that is just an artefact used maybe as help to memorise it (but they add confusion to me).

As the locative is a case, survived in classic Latin for some words or expressions or turned into adverbs, it had its own ending to add to the stem which was *-i for the locative singular of all declensions and for all those words for which the locative would have made sense.

That explains why in classic Latin for first (with some phonetic modifications) and second declensions it looks like a genitive ("Romai > Romae, Corinthi"), for the third like a dative ("ruri") or ablative for those names that have the ablative in -i ("Neapoli"), fourth like a dative (but "domi" lost the stem), fifth probably like the genitive and dative ("diei" that became like the ablative "die" with the falls of -i), but also a different form "diu" (now adverb) is considered an old locative due to phonetic changes and the etymology of "dies".

Asa matter of completeness, the ending was *-ou (see "duou") for locative dual, *-su and -oisu (-oysu) for locative plural. I believe none of them can be ever seen in classic Latin as already absorbed by the ablative.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locative_case

  2. https://www.corsi.univr.it/documenti/OccorrenzaIns/matdid/matdid114728.pdf

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