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> Subjective Noun (-or)
  Subjective Adjective (-ax)
  Objective Noun (-endus)
  Objective Adjective (-abilis)
  Present Participle (-ens)
  Perfect Participle
  Supine (-tum)
  An Example

Subjective Noun (-or)

A subjective noun (my made-up name) is a noun, derived from a verb, that indicates a thing that acts as the subject of the verb. For example, in English the subjective noun derived from “to sleep” is “sleeper”, meaning “one who sleeps”.

Subjective nouns in Latin are formed in basically the same way as in English; the only difference is that the suffix “-or” is used in place of “-er”. Actually, that's not quite right … the suffix “-or” is used in English as well, but only for words that were originally borrowed from Latin.

Thus, for example, the familiar word “terminator” is the same subjective noun in both Latin and English. It isn't always so clear what the corresponding verb is. The word “cursor”, for example, is derived from the Latin “curro”, “I run”, and so means “one who runs”. Because the borrowed Latin verb has been distorted into “to course”, we don't recognize the connection immediately; in fact, there is even another subjective noun for the same verb, “courser”.

By the way, I didn't have to look very far to find these interesting examples; the language abounds with them. This is why I have found the study of Latin so fascinating.

Since Latin often uses free-standing adjectives as nouns, the present participle could also be considered to be a subjective noun. The difference is that the present participle describes action in the present, while the subjective noun defined here describes action that is characteristic or habitual. One decent example is the pair “radiant” and “radiator”.

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I can't believe I didn't think to say this before: the subjective noun, like the perfect participle, is derived from the supine.


  See Also

  Example, An (Parts of Speech)
  List of Principles
  Objective Adjective (-abilis)
  Objective Noun (-endus)
  Subjective Adjective (-ax)
  Summary (Parts of Speech)

@ March (2000)
o October (2001)