Latin phrase

From Teflpedia

A Latin phrase (/lætɪn freɪz/) is a phrase in Latin. These are frequently used in English, particularly in some fields, e.g. legal English, and some registers, e.g. academic English.

The three most common ones are abbreviated as follows:

  • "e.g." (/i:ʤi:/) which abbreviates exempli gratia (/egzempli: greɪʃɪə/) meaning "for example" and is used for exemplification.[1]
  • "etc" (/et setərə/) which abbreviates et cetera (/et setərə/) meaning "and so on" and is used for allusion.[2]
  • "i.e." (/aɪ(j)i:/) which abbreviates id est (/ɪd est/) meaning "that is" and is used for clarification.[3]

Speakers (including native speakers) often confuse "e.g." and "i.e."[4]

The phrases themselves usually follow Latin plural rules (which are irregular when applied in English) and are often italicised. Individual words conversely, such as "verbatim" and "impromptu" are often just loaned into English and used without italics.

Use of Latin phrases where an alternate English phrase could be used would be discouraged by advocates of plain English as would be sesquipedalia verba.

Wikipedia has a looong list of such phrases, though it includes many random mottos, and how many one really needs to know is debatable[5]

If one does not have knowledge of Latin vocabulary, knowledge of other Romance languages can help decode the unknown word, as can use of context or of course a dictionary.

Advocates of Latin teaching sometimes falsely claim that one needs to know Latin with its grammar and complicated declensions in order to understand or use these phrases. This is simply not true, as they can be treated like any other aspect of English vocabulary.

References[edit]