Find out how to Write in Latin

Whereas thought of a “lifeless” language, Latin remains to be taught in colleges. It is also very a lot attainable to learn to learn and write Latin by yourself. In truth, if you happen to’re contemplating a profession in regulation or drugs, some data of Latin provides you with a leg up since these professions nonetheless use a number of Latin terminology. Latin makes use of the identical alphabet as English, so if you happen to already know English, you will not should study any new letters.[1] Right here, we have compiled loads of suggestions that will help you get your begin whether or not you need to embrace Latin phrases in your common writing or draft a complete story within the language.



  1. Traditional Latin is written utilizing the identical alphabet as English. There are a lot of different languages that use this alphabet, together with Spanish, Italian, and French—though different languages use accent marks that are not used for English or Latin. In follow, some letters aren’t used to spell Latin phrases, reminiscent of “j” and “ok.”[2]
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    • The letter “u” is taken into account a variant of “v.” In classical Latin texts, the “u” vowel sound is written with the letter “v.” Whenever you’re writing in Latin, you should utilize both, however if you happen to’re writing one thing for a category, verify together with your teacher to search out out what they like.


  1. Use Roman numerals when together with numbers in Latin writing. The numerals utilized in English and different Western languages (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and many others.) are Arabic numerals. Should you’re writing utterly in Latin, together with Roman numerals slightly than Arabic numerals makes your writing extra genuine.[3]
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    • For instance, if you happen to have been writing the quantity 34, you’d use the Roman numerals “xxxiv.” X is the Roman numeral for 10, and also you’d repeat it 3 instances. You then’d put “iv,” the Roman numeral for 4, on the finish.
    • The Romans did not use any image for zero. For instance, the quantity 3002 is “cccii.” C is the Roman numeral for 1000, and you’ve got 3 hundreds in your quantity. Then you may have the two within the ones place.


  1. Point out the variety of days till “Kalendes,” “Ides,” or “Nones.” Begin with the phrase “ante diem,” then use the Roman numerals for the variety of days till the following special occasion. Add that day, then the month. Kalendes are all the time the primary of the month. Nones are the fifth of the month, besides in March, Might, July, and October, when they’re the seventh day. Ides are the thirteenth day of the month, besides in March, Might, July, and October, when they’re the fifteenth day.[4]
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    • For instance, if it is March 10, 2021, begin by determining when the following special occasion is. The ides of March is the fifteenth, and it is solely the tenth, so you already know the following special occasion is “Idus.” The Romans depend each the times main as much as the day and the day itself, so you’d write “ante diem vi Idus Martias MMXXI A.D.”
    • If the date you want is among the particular days of the month, simply use the title for that day with out “ante diem” or any Roman numerals.
    • All the time use capital Roman numerals for the yr and lower-case Roman numerals for the date. For instance, to jot down March 16, 2021, in Latin, you’d write “ante diem xvii Kalendas Apriles MMXXI A.D.”[5]


  1. Add the Latin suffix “-us” or “-a” to create a Latin model of a reputation. Some trendy names have particular Latin translations, however you can even create your personal Latin title to make use of when writing in Latin. Use “-us” for a masculine title or “-a” for a female title.[6]
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    • For instance, “Mark” would turn into “Markus.” A female title, reminiscent of “Karen,” would turn into “Karena.”
    • This places the title within the nominative or vocative case, so you’d use it if you’re addressing somebody or utilizing the title as the topic of the sentence. When the title is the thing of the sentence or utilized in one other approach, decline the endings the identical as you’d some other noun.[7]
    • For female names that finish in “y,” change the “y” to an “i” earlier than you add the “a.” For instance, “Mary” turns into “Maria.”


  1. Inflect nouns primarily based on quantity, gender, and case. The ending of a noun adjustments relying on what number of you are writing about (singular or plural) and whether or not the noun is classed as masculine, female, or neuter. Should you’re accustomed to European languages reminiscent of Italian, French, or Spanish, you may have some expertise with gendered nouns.[8]
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    • The ending additionally relies on how the noun is used within the sentence, with completely different endings relying on whether or not the noun is the topic, object, or oblique object—these are the instances. There are 2 further instances, one signifies possession whereas the opposite signifies separation (nouns which might be “by,” “with,” or “from” one thing else).
    • Should you’re simply getting began in Latin, discover the Latin phrases for belongings you check with on daily basis. Make a chart with the inflected kinds and research 5-10 phrases per week. Inside just some months, you may have a wholesome Latin vocabulary.


  1. Use easy connecting phrases to type primary sentences. Don’t be concerned about sophisticated sentence constructions, particularly if you happen to’re simply beginning to write in Latin. Primary connecting phrases reminiscent of “et” (and) and “sed” (however) will often do the trick. Listed below are some others you may strive:[9]
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    • “Nam” (for)
    • “Ergo” (due to this fact, accordingly)
    • “Igitur” (due to this fact)
    • “Cum” (when, since, as a result of)
    • “Si” (if)
    • “Nisi” (until)[10]

[Edit]Verb Tense

  1. Write Latin passages in current tense. In Latin, current tense is often used for telling tales, even when what you are writing about occurred up to now. Writing in current tense additionally retains your writing comparatively easy.[11]
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    • Use lively voice primarily, which may even make your writing easier and extra direct.[12]


  1. Latin adjectives agree with the noun they modify. Like nouns, the endings of adjectives additionally change relative to quantity, gender, and case. With adjectives, these endings mirror the ending of the noun they modify, so irrespective of the place the adjective seems within the sentence your reader will all the time know which phrase it applies to.[13]
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    • For instance, suppose you wrote: “unitam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant” (could defective logic undermine your complete philosophy).[14] On this slightly unkind assertion, it’s clear which adjective belongs with which phrase (“falsa” with “logica” and “totam” with “philosophiam”) as a result of they’ve the identical endings.


  1. Type adverbs frequently by altering the suffix of the adjective. Simply as in English you type most adverbs by including “-ly” to the adjective type, in Latin you additionally add a suffix to the adjective stem. Which suffix you add relies on the declension of the adjective:[15]
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    • 1st and 2nd declension adjectives: -ē, as in cārē (dearly), from cārus (pricey), stem cāro-
    • third declension adjectives: -ter, as in fortiter (bravely), from fortis (courageous), stem forti-

[Edit]Sentence Construction

  1. Historically the verb is final, however Latin has a comparatively free sentence construction. As a result of nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs are all inflected, anybody studying Latin can perceive what’s being stated with out taking clues from the order of the phrases within the sentence. This frees you as much as put the phrases in an order that sounds greatest and works greatest rhythmically.[16]
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    • For instance, you doubtless know the Latin sentence “cogito, ergo sum,” which suggests “I feel, due to this fact I’m.” In that case, the construction of the Latin sentence is strictly the identical because the English translation. However you possibly can additionally say “ergo sum cogito” and it could imply the identical factor.


  1. Learn your textual content out loud to verify it flows correctly. If you know the way to pronounce Latin, that is one of the simplest ways to revise your piece. By studying aloud, you may instantly discover something that sounds off.[17]
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    • Whenever you’re first making revisions, go sentence-by-sentence so it is simpler to deal with the Latin. Then, do one other read-through and think about how the sentences work collectively to type a whole passage. Add transitional phrases the place wanted to enhance the move of your writing.


  1. Should you’re writing primarily in one other language, use italics to set off the Latin. Quotes are usually marked with double citation marks. However if you happen to’re together with a Latin phrase or phrase in your writing, italics are usually applicable because it’s thought of a international language. This does not apply to abbreviations, reminiscent of “e.g.,” or Latin phrases and phrases which might be generally used, reminiscent of “quid professional quo.”[18]
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    • For instance, you may write, “It is uncommon for courts to overrule prior choices as a result of they observe the doctrine of stare decisis.”
    • Should you’re writing one thing for a category or for publication, all the time double-check the suitable model information to verify. Some model guides have particular guidelines for Latin in sure conditions, notably in drugs, science, and regulation, the place Latin terminology is usually used.[19]


  • Enhance your fluency by studying widespread books which were translated into Latin, such because the Harry Potter books.
  • Translating easy English passages into Latin is one other approach to enhance your Latin expertise. Begin with youngsters’s books, which are inclined to have easier sentences and extra primary vocabulary that will probably be simpler so that you can translate.


  • This text assumes you already know the fundamentals of Latin grammar. Should you’re simply getting began, think about taking a course on-line or shopping for a Latin grammar textbook to get a greater understanding earlier than you begin attempting to jot down in Latin.


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