Grammar check – are you using those Latin phrases correctly?

Have you ever used a Latin phrase and wondered if you were using it correctly? I have. This discussion came up at my dinner table over the weekend. I don’t think I’m the only one to be a little off with my usage.

We have many Latin words and phrases in the English language. I’m pretty good with some of them. I know when I’m in a state of status quo and that being on terra firma is a good thing.

Other common Latin words like veto and et cetera are so easy they need no explanation. I think even the phrases carpe diem (seize the day) and persona non grata (person not pleasing) are ones everyone knows.

And some Latin phrases are just fun to say even if you don’t know exactly what they mean:

ad hoc (to this; in the sense of improvised or only for a specific, immediate purpose)

de facto (by deed; the way things really are compared to what is officially presented)

ipso facto (by the fact itself; by that very fact)

per se (through itself; by itself or in itself, not referring to anything else)

pro forma (for form; prescribing a set form or procedure, or performed in a set manner)

At the risk of going on forever, or ad infinitum, I’ll stop here. But if you want more, please enjoy this lorem ipsum (a mangled fragment from Cicero’s De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum used by typographers for fillers.)

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus sollicitudin dolor et fringilla suscipit. Cras malesuada augue aliquam vulputate pharetra. Nam convallis hendrerit iaculis. Suspendisse suscipit ipsum ac congue ultrices. Etiam tincidunt dictum diam, ut volutpat quam. Ut sit amet vestibulum tellus. Integer neque quam, ultrices tristique venenatis at, imperdiet in nulla. Pellentesque sit amet viverra augue. Cras faucibus augue id lectus posuere sollicitudin.

And f you’re looking for a refresher, click here to check out Inklyo’s article, “24 Latin Phrases You Use Every Day (And What They Mean).”

Visit Wikipedia for a more comprehensive list.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

15 thoughts on “Grammar check – are you using those Latin phrases correctly?

    1. Yes, sometimes it’s a force to work one of the Latin phrases into a conversation (and we all know people who do that!), but some of them are so fun to say, it can be hard to resist. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Ally!

  1. It’s surprising how much latin we use without even realising. Similar to Shakespeare quotes – I had no idea I knew so many until I saw a list somewhere (can’t remember where though).
    Lynn 😀

  2. Great post, Barb. I think I’m using all these correctly, but then I had three years of Latin in high school! I personally like res ipsa loquitur – it’s a legal term but useful” the thing speaks for itself.

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