GCSE Latin: Dative case


The dative case is used when something is being received, either literally or figuratively.

It is translated into English by using “to” or “for,” except with verbs which take a dative object.

At GCSE level, it is mostly used with verbs of speaking (especially dico) or the verb do (and its compounds, such as trado).

Literally receiving

e.g. pater filiae optima dona dedit.
The father gave excellent gifts to his daughter.
regi pro auxilio multam pecuniam duces tradiderunt.
The generals handed over a lot of money to the king in exchange for help.

Figuratively receiving

e.g. scelestus nauta consilium amicis ostendit.
The wicked sailor revealed the plan to his friends.
femina de iuvene marito nihil dixit.
The lady said nothing to her husband about the young man.


  1. The dative plural always ends in –bus or –is, and is identical to the ablative plural form.

  2. There is wide scope for confusing the dative with the other cases if the pattern (Declension) of the noun is not known.

  3. The dative case can be easily missed when it starts the sentence: puellae and regi, for instance, could be mistaken for nominative plurals.

  4. nomine, “called” or “by name” (technically an ablative of respect), is worth learning in isolation.


Identify the dative noun(s) in each sentence and what type of ablative is being used. Then translate.