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Latin/Lacrimatus - Deponent and Non-deponent


In "et lacrimatus Jesus est" we have lactimatus which is a perfect passive participle.
Two question come up here:
1. Why is a participle used instead of perfect passive tense of the verb?
2. Can we make lacrimatus into present passive participle?

The verb "lacrimo" has a deponent analogue "lacrimor."  In your sentence the verb involved is the deponent form:  "lacrimor, lacrimari, lacrimatus".  Thus, "lacrimatus" is the perfect ACTIVE participle, because deponent verbs have perfect ACTIVE participles, not perfect PASSIVE participles.

When the perfect participle is used with a present-tense form of the verb "esse", as in your sentence, it forms the perfect tense.  Because "lacrimor" is a deponent verb, "lacrimatus est" forms the perfect ACTIVE, not PASSIVE, tense.  "Jesus wept."

This answers your first question.  A perfect tense of the verb is in fact being used:  "lacrimatus est", which is perfect ACTIVE tense because the verb "lacrimor" is deponent.

Your confusion may be that the "est" is separated here from the participle component "lacrimatus."  But this is not unusual in Latin.  Because Latin is an inflected language, and the endings of words indicate their syntactical relationships, word order can be varied for purpose of emphasis, meter, etc.  English has lost most of its inflectional endings, so word order is much more restricted ("dog bites man", and "man bites dog" are two entirely difference things, indicated only by the word order).  In your sentence great emphasis is being placed on the verb "lacrimatus" by bringing it to the first position in the clause and placing even the subject ("Jesus") after it.

To answer your second question, no Latin verb, whether deponent or not, has a present PASSIVE participle.  All present participles are active.  The present participle for either "lacrimo" (non-deponent) or "lacrimor" (deponent) is "lacrimans".

What adds to the confusion in the case of this particular verb is that it can function either as a deponent ("lacrimor, lacrimari, lacrimatus") or as a non-deponent ("lacrimo, lacrimare, lacrimatus").  There are a few such cases in Latin of verbs having both deponent and non-deponent forms.

For the definition of a deponent verb, see Allen & Greenough's New Latin Grammar, section 156.  For the forms of the deponents, see section 190.


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Ph.D. Cand. in Classical Languages. Conversant with all forms of the language: classical, mediaeval, and modern.


I have 50 years of teaching at all levels of Latin from high school through university postgraduate. I read, write, and speak Latin daily.

American Classical League, American Philological Association

A.B., M.A., Ph.D. Cand. in Classics.

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