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How to Create a Personal Latin Dictionary

There is really no better substitute for learning Latin declensions and conjugations than copying the forms over and over. Learning hard things can be tedious work! Anything that is tedious, I believe, needs to be jazzed up a bit with some fun colored pens, and it can become a game.

This year I'm helping my Foundations/Essentials kids prepare for learning Latin in Challenge by learning to decline nouns. At the same time, my Challenge B daughter is creating a resource for translating by declining and conjugating her vocabulary—nouns, adjectives, and verbs—into her personal Latin dictionary. She's realizing as she copies the forms over and over and the meanings over and over, that she's building muscle memory. It's starting to stick!

Making A Personal Latin Dictionary

Here's what you need to make your own Latin dictionary like ours:

  • Printables for building the dictionary - download them here for free!
  • Card stock - for printing the cover and divider pages (there's a choice between full color and black and white)

  • Laminating machine - (if you don't have one of these, one of your friends does...borrow it or go to an office supply store to get your cover laminated.) OR you could totally cut up a cardboard cereal box and make a funky Latin dictionary cover...bottom line, you need something sturdy for the cover and back.
  • Arc Hole Punch - This is my latest fun tool. This allows you to "spiral" your dictionary while still allowing the pages to be rearranged. I LOVE it. But you could totally use a small three ring binder and regular hole punch.
  • Arc Notebook Rings - to put it all together!

Building Your Latin Dictionary

Print the page for whichever part of speech you're working on, cut it in half and get going declining or conjugating!

Here are some videos demonstrating each declension:

1st Declension Nouns:

2nd Declension Nouns:

3rd Declension Nouns (Masculine or Feminine and i-Stems)

3rd Declension Neuter Nouns

4th Declension Nouns

5th Declension Nouns

1st and 2nd Declension Adjectives

3rd Declension Adjectives

Don't Be Afraid of Verbs!

1st Conjugation Verbs - Present Tense

1st Conjugation Verbs - Imperfect Tense

1st Conjugation Verbs - Future Tense

2nd Conjugation Verbs

3rd Conjugation Verbs - Present Tense

3rd Conjugation Verbs - Imperfect Tense

3rd Conjugation Verbs - Future Tense

4th Conjugation Verbs

Conjugating Sum

The Perfect Tense for All Conjugations


It can be intimidating to start filling out your Latin dictionary, but once you get going, it's kind of addicting!

26 Comments

  1. Pat Fenner on September 12, 2017 at 9:45 am

    This is a fanTAStic idea!! Shared, shared and shared πŸ˜‰
    Thanks for putting it togeter…AND I’m loving your membership site; I’M learning so much already…

    • Betsy on September 12, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      Wonderful! Thanks Pat!!

  2. Caryn on April 26, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Thank you for the templates. This was just what I was looking for!!

  3. Renee on May 21, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    This is a great resource. Thank you! About how many pages did you allot for each section? Your book looks pretty thick. Thanks.

    • Betsy on May 22, 2018 at 10:15 pm

      It really depends on which section you’re working on. The first and second declension have about 15-20 words in the lessons, and 3rd declension has more like 30 or 40. I just printed off a bunch and then we added them to each section as we needed them. That is one reason we really like the ring binding!

      • Renee on May 23, 2018 at 12:33 pm

        Thank you!

  4. Lori TenHaken on August 14, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Hi Betsy,
    Thanks for another great resource! For declining and conjugating sheets, did you print them on both sides of the paper?

    • Betsy on August 14, 2018 at 10:34 pm

      Just the verb sheets!

  5. Alexie Choberka on August 23, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you for posting this!
    Where did you find the white arc rings?

    Also, were you able to print everything to the edge of the card stock paper? if I trim it, it will not match up with the printed Declining sheets.

    • Betsy on August 23, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      I got them at Staples. I did print to the edge of the page πŸ™‚

  6. Lori TenHaken on September 5, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Hi Betsy,
    Just curious… As my boy and I are working through lesson three in Henle again and came across erat and erant in the vocabulary. Which divider would you add the conjugation of Sum into?
    Thanks again for all your inspiration, tips, resources, experience etc.

    • Betsy on September 6, 2018 at 10:58 am

      I would put it under the verb tab. It’s irregular so I would just put it behind the verb tab in front of the other conjugation tabs. You use the forms of SUM in so many ways!

    • Betsy on September 6, 2018 at 11:30 am

      Since sum is an irregular verb, we put it under the verb divider.

  7. Mer on September 9, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Thank you so much for providing this! I am wondering how many copies of each (verb, noun and adjective) to make?

    • Betsy on September 11, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      I just started with about 20 each of the nouns and verbs and then 10 of the adjectives. If you keep it up and need more, then you can make more copies!

  8. Lori TenHaken on October 25, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Hi Betsy,
    We are loving our Latin dictionary! However, we are quickly running out of room to fit all of the sheets. Have you run into that issue yet? If so, which route did you take to fix it? We came up with a couple of ideas but wanted to check in to see if you had any other suggestions that worked well for you guys. Did you simply order larger rings or did you make a whole new notebook?
    Thanks so much Betsy!

    • Betsy on October 25, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      With my first daughter, we did order bigger rings (you can also get them at Office Depot or Staples). With my second daughter, I just felt like the process of making the dictionary was more important than actually using it later to look up how to decline a word. So instead of including every word in the physical dictionary, she does a couple of sample words to put in her dictionary, and then declines the rest of her vocabulary in a spiral notebook. Hope this helps!

  9. Stephanie Lair on November 29, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Do you have a form for passive verbs?

    • Betsy on December 18, 2018 at 7:32 am

      I didn’t include that, but I could add one! I’ll let you know when I post it πŸ™‚

      • Lori TenHaken on January 17, 2019 at 9:22 am

        I was just getting ready to ask the same questions regarding the passive verbs. THANKS BETSY!

  10. Jill McAlister on July 10, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Hello, I will be directing Challenge II this year. I am scared to death about moving into Henle 2 Latin. I plan on subscribing to Latin with Andy, but I do have a question, which will help me decide to to one quarter or the entire year. Do you have lessons for the Henle 2 text, or do Andy’s lessons only go through Henle 1?

    Thank you! I have really enjoyed exploring your webiste!

    • Betsy on July 11, 2019 at 1:06 pm

      Latin with Andy has resources all the way through Henle 2, plus additional resources to help your blossoming challenge student be ready for the kind of translations done in Challenge 3!

  11. Brittany on August 12, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Hello- I want to use the ARC rings to make a latin dictionary, do I simply use a normal hole puncher to punch the pages? I wasn’t sure if I have to buy a special paper hole puncher.

    Thanks!

  12. Elizabeth on October 31, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Do you have any sheets for Pronouns?

    • Betsy on October 31, 2019 at 3:15 pm

      If you are a part of the Latin with Andy Resource membership, you can find it under the Declension Charts on the Printables page. If you aren’t a part of the Latin with Andy community, check it out! http://www.latinwithandy.com

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