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Latin Vocabulary: Yes No

by Konrad

Salve, Magister!

If I'm asked "Estne puella pulchra?", I can answer with "ita" or "nego", but don't these terms translate to "in this manner!" and "I deny"? How can I say Yes and No in Latin? Or there are no such things?

Thanks, Konrad

Dear Konrad,

The English words yes and no don't have exact translations into Latin. The Romans used ita or ita vero, which means thus indeed, for the affirmative. For the negative they used adverbs such as minime, which means hardly or in the least way.

Another common way to answer questions in Latin is to repeat the verb. For your question (estne puella pulchra?) the simplest answers might be est for yes and non est for no.

Other than repeating the verb, for variety and for degrees of emphasis in saying yes or no, Romans had recourse to dozens of adverbs.

Answers that basically mean yes: ita, vero, ita vero; etiam (even so); sane quidem (clearly indeed, no doubt); certe (certainly); recte dicis (you say rightly, you're right).

Answers that basically mean no: non + verb; nullo modo (in no way); minime (in the least way, not at all); haud (not at all!); non quidem (certainly not).

Hope this helps, and thanks for asking a Latin teacher.



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Latin and Other Foreign Languages
by: Barbara

You answered my question quite well even though I asked the wrong question. What I really need to know is "Does VE mean yes in any language?"

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