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The natural way of listing verbs in dictionaries is by infinitive, but this is not the case in many Latin dictionaries. Why? Were there some of the first Latin dictionaries using first person singular as the verb's base form?

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    Fwiw: A Hebrew verb is typically listed under its third-person masculine singular past (or perfect). An Hungarian verb is (I think) typically listed under its third-person singular present. A Welsh verb is (I think) typically listed under its participle (or whatever it's called). – msh210 Feb 23 '16 at 21:08
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    There is no compelling reason that infinitive should be chosen as the "representative form" of a verb to be used in a dictionary. The choice is somewhat arbitrary, although I admit that infinitive feels quite natural. – Joonas Ilmavirta Feb 23 '16 at 21:36
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First, not all dictionaries follow that convention.

Importantly, though, the infinitive cannot distinguish between 3rd and 3rd-IO verbs, which of the four principle parts, is only distinguishable in the first person present (cf. ago, agere, egi, actus v. facio, facere, feci, factus). Not having that there would lead students to miss that crucial information.

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    But then the first person present can't distinguish between III-io and IV! – jwodder Feb 23 '16 at 20:30
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    No, because dictionaries give four principle parts, so the difference between III-io and IV is immediately clear in the form following the first person present. – C. M. Weimer Feb 23 '16 at 20:36
  • By that logic, the difference between III and III-io would also be immediately clear with an infinitive lemma, as the first person present would be the next principal part. – Leif Willerts Apr 17 '16 at 10:26
  • @LeifWillerts The dictionaries I've seen where the infinitive is listed first do not then list the first-person present singular. – C. M. Weimer Apr 17 '16 at 12:59

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