Esse an non esse?

In this lesson, irregular verb sum and possum are learnt.
sum, esse,   fui,              futurum: be
I am, to be, have been, going to be

And pot- (can, be able).
possum, posse, potui: be able, can
pot- add some be yield can/be able to, the rules are simple: pot- or pos- if the be verb stats with "s".




Present tense active indicative mood: sum, es, est, sumus, estis, sunt
Present subjunctive of sum: sim, sis, sit, simus, sitis, sint
Imperatives: Es!/Potes! be/be able singular; Este!/Poteste! plural

Add pot-/pos- to be verb:
possum potes potest possums potestis possunt: can, be able to
possim possis possis possimus possistis possint: can, be able to (subjunctive mood)

Infinitives of possum/sum:
posse: to be able to
esse: to be

possum is a verb that means "I can" or "I am able", however, simply say "I am able" is not enough, an object is needed for complementary, this object is an infinitive of a verb.

e.g. I am able to read. to read is the object of verb I am able, in Latin:

Possum legere.

  • Sentence parsing
Possumus legere. We can read.
Possumus bibere. We are able to drink.
Possunt ineptire. They are able to be foolish.
Potest linguam Latinam legere. He/She can read Latin language.
Bibimus, ut possimus bene vivere. We drink so that we may be able to (can, would) live well.
Vita brevis. Life is short. (omit be here)
Ars longa. Art is long.
Vita est brevis, sed ars est longa. Life is short, but art is long. Or, simply, Vita brevis; ars longa. Omit the conjunctions (be and the but for contrast) is called asyndeton in rhetoric.
Sit vita longa! May life be long.
Ars brevis esse potest. Art can be long. (Art is able to be long) Predicate after the object. In better Latin, Vita est brevis -> Vita brevis est. So here is no Ars potest esse brevis.
Linguam Latinam legere possumus. We can read Latin language.
Potestis ineptire. Y'all cam be foolish.
Sumus. We are.
Simus. Let us be.
Est. It is.
Sit. Let it be.
Esse an non esse? To be or not to be?
Esse est posse. To be is to be able.
Pone metum; Valeo. Put away your fear, for I am well. (asyndeton of 'for, because')
Ponamus metum! Let us not fear!
Ponamus nimios gemitus! Let us put away our excessive sorrow!
Caesar populum Romanum decipit. Caesar deceives Roman people.
Caesar populum Romanum decipere potest. Caesar is able to deceive Roman people.
Fiat lux. Let light be made.
Si lux est, possumus bibere. If there is light, we can drink.
Si lux fiat, possimus bibere. If there should be light, we would be able to drink. (If you do sth, I'll do sth)
Si lux fiat, possimus bibere? If you do sth, would we ...?
  • Verba
bene (adverb): well
decipio, decipere, decepi, deceptum: deceive
lego, legere, legi, lectum: read
non: not
possum, posse, potui: be able
sed (conjunction): but
sum, esse, fui, futurum: be
nimios: excessive
gemitus: sorrow
metum: fear
Si: if
  • Translate
She is able: Potest.
She may be able: Possit.
They are: Sunt.
Let them be: Possint
We are able to read: Possumus legere.
We may able to read: Possimus legere.
The women can learn: Mulieres discere possunt.
Can the soldiers conquer? Milites vincere possunt?
Are the male and female students able to learn Latin language: Discipuli discipulaeque linguae Latinae discere possunt?

You are soldiers, but we are not soldiers: Milites estis, sed non milites sumus.


Are you a soldier? Miles es?
Let it be: Sit.
Caesar potest populum Romanum decipere. Caesar can deceive Roman people.
Curate, ut valeatis! Take care, so that you may be well.
Bibimus et edimus, ut possimus bene vivere. Eat and drink, so that we may live well.
Si lux est, possumus bibere. If there is light, we can drink.
Milites possunt vincere sed non vincunt. The soldiers are able to win but not decisive.
Vita brevis est. Life is short.
Ars longa esse potest. Art can be long.
Esse est posse. To be is to be able.
Bene legere potestis, discipulae. Y'all can read well, students.
Milites non sunt. They are not soldiers.

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