Other people have asked how to translate other bits that make sense in English but just don't quite work the same in Latin. Most recently, I was asked what form I should use for magnus 'great' for a group. Most of what is said about 'fearless' or 'determined' applies to 'great.'
- The first is relevant to many translation-into-Latin questions
- and the second provides possible solutions to Mike180's problem.
AgreementIn English, we can say "fearless and determined" without knowing who is fearless and determined, but we can't do that in Latin. It would be like saying "are determined" in English without providing the subject. To say "are determined" meaningfully in English, we need to know the who. Possible sentences using are determined are
- We are determined to do well on our motto-generating assignment.
- You are determined to have the last word, aren't you?
In Latin, you have to know whether it is a 1st/2nd/3rd person singular or plural before you can translate an adjective like "determined". In addition to needing to know whether the person (people) is (are) singular or plural, you also need to know whether those involved are male or female. It is even possible that what is being described is neuter. Those options make a big difference in Latin. This is the general topic of "agreement," which I have written about on other pages.
TranslationsIn this example, Mike180 gave some indication of the gender and number of the people described as determined and fearless. He did this by providing potential translations. His example was Intrepidi et certi. While this could be a genitive singular masculine or neuter, the logical assumption is that this nominative -- subject case. If it is nominative, it is also masculine and plural. In fact, it is a fine translation, but it isn't the only possibility. It could also be translated
- intrepidi certique or
- intrepidi et constantes,
Of course, if Mike180 is referring to a group of women, exclusively, these translations would not work.
In the case of magnus, if the group is masculine (plural, of course, since it's a group) and modifying the subject of a sentence, it would be magni; otherwise, it is likely to be a different form for a different case.
Latin FAQ Index
- Is Latin easy?
- What do the Latin tenses mean?
- Do you have any tips on memorizing endings?
- Where can I find a Latin translation of...?
- In Latin, how do you say "I used to go"? "Fearless and determined"? "Thank you"?
- What is the correct Latin for "deus lo vult"?
- What is the plural of virus?
- Why does the neuter nominative and accusative plural match the nominative feminine singular?
- Are our borrowed words from French or Latin?