In English you can conjugate like so:

I eat
You eat
He/she/it eats
We eat
You all eat
They eat

But you can also conjugate with a variety of “indefinite” pronouns:

One eats
Everyone eats
No one eats
Few eat
Some eat
Many eat

I’m wondering what this would look like in Latin and how you would categorise it in terms of person and number? E.g., is “one eats” first, second or third person? Is it singular or plural?


The rules in Latin are somewhat the same as in English: use a separate word for the subject, then conjugate the verb to agree with it.

In English, you say "one eats" but "many eat" because the former is third person singular and the latter is third person plural; in Latin, the same applies: aliquis edit, multī edunt.

Direct translations of the words you ask for are aliquis "someone", omnis "every person", nemō "no one", paucī "a few", aliquī "some people", and multī "many". But you can really use any adjective or noun like this: ūnus "exactly one person", duō "two people", malī "the evil people", and so on.

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In addition to Draconis's suggestions, you can use the passive voice to express an indefinite 'agent':

Romam itur. "[indefinite subject / 'it'] is being gone to Rome" => "One goes to Rome", in context probably "We/I/they/etc. goes to Rome".

In horto esum est. "One ate in the garden".

Noctis pugnandum est. "One ought to fight at night".

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  • I think this is a more apposite answer than Draconis' – Colin Fine Mar 21 '19 at 10:20

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