There are two main ways to translate the perfect tense from Latin to English, for example:
|or||I have carried|
The first of these (“I carried”) refers to a completed action in the past, and is the way this tense should usually be translated.
The second of these (“I have carried”) refers to a completed action in the present. This translation can only be used in a section of direct speech.
The Latin perfect has a unique set of personal endings:
This tense also uses a verb’s perfect stem, which almost always differs from the present stem, in some cases considerably so. Knowledge of conjugations is of only limited help.
|The 1st Conjugation is the most predictable for perfect stems: all end in -av- (e.g. porto/portavi), except do/dedi and sto/steti.||Perfect stems in the 2nd Conjugation end in -u- roughly half the time (e.g. timeo/timui, terreo/terrui) but otherwise vary (e.g. sedeo/sedi, rideo/risi).||The 3rd Conjugation is the most unpredicatable. An “s” sound is common (e.g. misi, scripsi, discessi, dixi), but practically all need to be learned as though additional vocabulary.||The 4th Conjugation is either like audio/audivi or venio/veni (as in veni, vidi, vici), along with sentio/sensi||Perfect stems in the 5th Conjugation are various, but a change of vowel to an -e- is common (e.g. facio/feci, capio/cepi, iacio/ieci)|