Latin Nouns: First Declension ā-stem

Endings for ā-stem Nouns

Case Singular Plural
Nominative -a -ae
Genitive -ae -arum
Dative -ae -īs
Accusative -am -ās
Vocative -a -ae
Ablative -īs

An ā-stem Example

puella, girl
Case Singular Plural
nom. puella the girl (subject) puellae the girls (subject)
gen. puellae of the girl puellarum of the girls
dat. puellae to/for the girl puellīs to/for the girls
acc. puellam the girl (direct object) puellās the girls (direct object)
voc. puella Oh girl! puellae Oh girls!
abl. puellā by/from the girl puellīs by/from the girls

Additional Notes


There is no distinction between "the" and "a/an" in this example.  These words could very easily refer to "a girl," or "girls" in general when using the plural.

Gender Exceptions

Despite most of the nouns in the first declension being feminine, some nouns denoting a traditionally masculine role are treated as masculine. Examples would be words like nauta (sailor) or pirata (pirate).

Odds and Ends

  • In poetry, you can find the genetive form -āīM in place of the regular -ae.
  • The Locative singular is the same as the dative, -ae. Example: Romae, at Rome.
  • Words like filia (daughter) and dea (goddess) have different dative and ablative plural inflections, which are -abus instead of -īs. This is done to avoid having similar inflections as their masculine counterparts, which would have the same inflections.

    Rule of thumb — If a first declension feminine noun has a masculine counterpart in the second declension (i.e. it has the same root), use the -abus ending for dative and ablative plural inflections.

Recommended Latin Grammar Reading