This tag is for Latin words and phrases that appear in English, and Latin's influence on English language and pedagogy.

The majority of English words come from Latin, and their spellings usually reflect their Latin derivation. This is why, among many other examples, “regent” and “radiant” are spelled as they are, even though there’s no difference in pronunciation between the two bold-faced syllables.

For hundreds of years, grammarians tried to characterize English grammar in terms of Latin grammar. This led to a variety of misunderstandings of English grammar, especially regarding its use of phrasal verbs like “pick up”, which have no counterpart in Latin.

Latin phrases appear occasionally inside English sentences. They’re normally italicized to show that they’re from a foreign language.

The three most common phrases nearly always appear as abbreviations:

Be sure to pack your toothbrush, shampoo, floss, etc. [Pronounced et cetera. Latin for “and the rest”. Usually not italicized when abbreviated.]

You must memorize at least one classic poem, e.g., Kubla Khan. [Abbreviation of exempli gratia, meaning “for example’s sake”. Often not italicized. Pronounced by saying the names of the letters: “e.g.” but usually not spoken aloud.]

My garden has been invaded by gastropods, i.e., snails and slugs. [Abbreviation of id est, meaning “that is”. Often not italicized. Pronounced by saying the names of the letters: “i.e.” but usually not spoken aloud.]

Here are a few other well-known Latin phrases that occur in English:

Having run out of facts, David could only reply with an ad hominem. [Latin for “at the person”. In English, used to mean the logical fallacy of criticizing an advocate of an idea as if that were a criticism of the idea itself.]

We received no bona fide offer to buy the company. [Latin for “in good faith”. In English, often used to mean authentic or genuine, as well as credible or honest.]

We don’t object to a dress code per se, only to an unfair one. [Latin for “by itself”. In English, usually means “considering only the thing itself without regard to other factors”.]

There was no quid pro quo. [Latin for “something for something,” meaning an agreed-upon trade. Famous example here.]

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