I´m a native Spanish speaker and I´m reading the book "Método para aprender latín" by Hermann Schnitzler. Right now, I am doing the exercises of the lesson VI (gender of words from the third declension). In the subsection 5. it ask me to translate to Spanish the following sentence "Vírgines téneræ ab ímprobis príncipum fíliis minis terrentur". The problem is that, at the moment, the book has not taught me the word "téneræ". I just find in Internet as a verb but, I have just learned sentences with only one verb. I share with you the context about the book to see if anybody can share me resources to improve my learning.

1 Answer 1


This is not the verb tĕnērĕ but the adjective tĕnĕr. In fact, the verb has no form looking like tenerae. What you have is the feminine plural nominative tĕnĕrae, an attribute of vĭrgĭnēs. The subject of the clause you are to translate is thus "tender maids" or something along those lines.

The adjective behaves as if it was tĕnĕrŭs, but the masculine singular nominative (and vocative) lack the ending.

The two words do have forms that look similar. The adverb corresponding to tĕnĕr is tĕnĕrē, and is not to be confused with the infinitive tĕnērĕ. If you mark stress instead of vowel length, the adverb is ténere and the verb is tenére.

Pay attention to vowel length (=quantity). I have indicated here short vowels by a breve (ă) and long ones by a macron (ā). The material you use does not use these, but marks stress with an acute (á) instead. If your material does not indicate vowel length, I recommend finding supporting material that does.

Stress is related to vowel length but is not the same. The Latin stress rules are hopefully explained in the material you use. If not, see quantity of syllables and accents in Allen and Greenough.

  • fyi, at certain zoom levels firefox (on my ubuntu laptop at least) renders ă & ā identically (both represented with a horizontal overline, as if with a macron). For this reason, and to avoid clutter, I'd typically advocate marking only long vowels and leaving short vowels unmarked in the vast majority of cases
    – Tristan
    Commented Jun 27, 2022 at 16:15
  • @Tristan Thanks for pointing that out! They render properly to me. Do any of the methods for producing a breve on our meta render correctly to you? I can switch to something more universal if I know what it is. // In this specific case I felt I should mark both lengths explicitly, so I went to the trouble of including breves. In general marking long ones is enough, but not always.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jun 27, 2022 at 20:13
  • hmm, looks like it's more complicated than I'd thought. In a code block they all display correctly (so it seems to be font-related), but outside the code block capital letters and ў display correctly
    – Tristan
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 7:34
  • I really appreciate your answer, thank a lot!!. I´ve followed your advice about mark stress and vowel length. I have learned a lot, but now I have a new doubt. Some dictionaries use more marks stress that others, for example, in the "Diccionario Ilustrado de latín de VOX" the word "woman" is written as fēmina, but in others dictionaries is written as "fēmĭna". Even, there are words that in a dictionary have marks but in anothers don't. Why does this happen? In Spanish, if we ignore an accent mark, it could be considered as a grammatical error. (I hope you understand my basic English). Thanks! Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 19:34
  • 1
    @DiegoVelasco There are many conventions out there. In my answer I used the least ambiguous one where I marked the length of every vowel. A more common convention is to only mark the long ones, which means that unmarked vowels are all short. (This has some issues concerning diphthongs.) A third option is to mark no lengths at all, and a fourth one is to mark only the stress but not the length. This can be quite confusing, but it certainly helps to know that different sources write the same thing differently.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 19:47

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