Deponent verbs are active in meaning and passive in form.
This means that if you see a deponent like conor, you must translate it as an active verb; here: "I try." In the dictionary, you will see the verb for "to try" listed as
- conor, -ari, -atus sum = try
- Conor is the present passive first person singular indicative, but because the verb is deponent, it is translated as if it were active.
- Conari is the present passive infinitive. Because of the "a." you can tell this is a first conjugation verb. Conari is translated as if it were an active infinitive: "to try."
- The third entry in a non-deponent verb is the third principal part, which gives you the perfect active stem. If the verb were laudo, you would seeRemove the "i" from "laud + avi" and you have the perfect stem. There is none in the case of conor, because in deponent verbs, the third principal part is skipped.
- laudo, -are, -avi, - atus = praise
- Conatus sum is the perfect passive participle plus the first person of the verb for "to be." In a non-deponent verb, this form would give you the "perfect passive," but here the form gives you the perfect active: "I tried." In a non-deponent verb, the sum would not be added. Except where the forms are missing, deponent verbs are conjugated just as other verbs in their conjugations.