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1999 by C.J. Cherryh

Note; I just had a reader remind me of a scene in the film Life of Brian. Those of you who have gotten this far will appreciate the "Romans go home" sequence. I wish I could render it here.


We're getting close to basic fluency.

Today we learn that "is" is no ordinary action...in fact, it's not an action at all! So there's no actee! EVERYBODY'S an actor in an "is" sentence! And you have [actor/actor] "is"!

est.....[he, she it] is

">You put the words in the usual positions...."is" comes last.

Caesar Romanus est.

Caesar is Roman. Caesar is a Roman. Caesar is the Roman.....all those things are the same. One thing IS the other. There's no transaction. She IS Sally. "She" = "Sally."  No -ums!

Marcus Brutus Romanus. Femina Calpurnia est.

Non est! ....[He] isn't!

Nonn'est? ...or Nonne est? Isn't he?

>Nonne est Calpurnia? That's Calpurnia, isn't it? She's Calpurnia, isn't she? See how English has a lot of nuances for that question....but Latin's pretty straightforward, one plain question...Isn't she Calpurnia?

Femina Marcum Brutum videt. Marcus Brutus Romanus est. Calpurnia Romana est. [Note that Romanus is Romana for a Roman [female].]

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est is an intransitive verb. The "be" verb [am, is, are, was, were, be, been] is highly irregular in most European languages: it's one of those oddments you just have to memorize. You can see our own language is pretty irregular on this point, itself!