(E2) Lesson 1.1 Esse

Verbs show action or being. The verb “to be” in Latin is esse. The action of “being” may not seem very active, so this is sometimes known as a helping verb or a linking verb – connecting a noun to an adjective or to another noun.

All verbs will change their endings to show who is doing the action, but esse is an irregular verb, so its forms will not follow a regular verb’s patterns. The verb is used very frequently, so it is important to memorize these forms!

The following chart shows the Latin verb esse in its present tense forms.

(I am)

(we are)

(you are)

(you are)

(he/she/it is)

(they are)

Notice that there are two different ways to say you are in Latin – es and estis. This is because one is used when a single person is being addressed, and the other is used for addressing more than one person (plural). Many languages have both a singular and plural form for you, like tu and vous in French or tu and vosotros in Spanish, but English only has one form used for both – you! For translating, you might show that the plural form is being used by saying “you all,” though this is not an exact translation.

Here are a few examples of sentences using different forms of esse:

Discipula sum. I am a student

Amphora nova est. The amphora is new. / It is a new jar.

Suntne multī discipulī? Are there many students?