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Q: Translation to Latin ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Translation to Latin
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: fulks-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 01 May 2006 12:32 PDT
Expires: 31 May 2006 12:32 PDT
Question ID: 724449
Man's existence is established logically by "Cogito ergo sum" - I
think or doubt, therefore I exist. Man's free will should be just as
fundamentally obvious, so I want to articulate it, like existance
above, by giving it a Latin phrase. Please provide a simple
translation to Latin of such a phrase, similar to "Cogito ergo sum", as:
"I can therefore I might" meaning: since I am able to do ... therefore
I am free to choose to do ... The logic is that man would not have the
capability to do things unless he had the free will to choose to do,
or not to do any or all of the things that I can do.

Request for Question Clarification by alanna-ga on 01 May 2006 20:22 PDT
Perhaps you might tell me the exact phrase you want translated.  Is it
"I can therefore I might" or "I can since I am able to do so" or "I am
able to do so because I am free to choose to do so?" It would be a
help.  Thanks.
Subject: Re: Translation to Latin
Answered By: alanna-ga on 02 May 2006 09:48 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi fulks-ga

You really gave me a great challenge.  I had to think hard about this
one, and here are five translations for you to choose from.  I have
given you the Latin first followed by a literal translation.

1.  volens potens   (to be willing [is] to be able)

2.  possum quiaa volo    (I can because I wish)

3.  nil difficile volenti    (to the one who wants it, nothing is difficult)

4.  possum ergo facerem    (I can therefore I might)

5.  volenti omne possibile   (everything is possible to the one who wills it)

The third item is an exisiting Latin proverb.  

You may be also be interested in the following web sites.

Latin phrases used in English

Latin proverbs and locutions

Thanks for using Google Answers.

All the best,


Request for Answer Clarification by fulks-ga on 17 May 2006 16:06 PDT
Thanks for the five choices. I failed to respond to your inquiry
because I was waiting for a direct email to I think
that I like "possum ergo facerem" except that your literal translation
contains two ambiguous words: can and might. Does "possum" mean
"allowed to" or "capable of" (I prefer capable of)? Does "facerem"
mean "may possibly" or "can choose to" (I prefer can choose to)? Or do
you need to change one of the words to fit better?

I looked over the other four choices. They are all nice and succinct.
Volens potens, possum quiaa [sic] volo, and nil difficile volenti do
not seem to express what I am after. Volenti omne possibile may be OK,
but I prefer possum ergo facerem if it, or a version of it, can
accommodate the questions I raised above.

I checked out both websites you offered. They are really interesting,
but do not appear to hold the thought that I am after, but will be
useful for other ideas. I did find DesCartes' Cogito, ergo sum = I
think, therefore I am.

Sorry it was such a great challenge. I thought it might be a rather
straightforward translation, but as I have forgotten most of my Latin,
it would seem easier to me.

I will most likely include the outcome of possum ergo facerem in my
book, tentatively entitled UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM where man's free will
is addressed.

Thanks, Tom

Clarification of Answer by alanna-ga on 18 May 2006 10:49 PDT
Sorry about the missed communication, but here is your clarification.

"Possum" means "I am capable of"

"facerem" means "I can choose to"

Latin uses a grammatical construct called the "subjunctive mood,
imperfect tense" to render the meaning.  In English we simplify this
by using an auxiliary verb. In the original answer I tried to be close
to the Latin and succinct. (Perhaps too much so!)

I'm sure your Latin is coming back to you now.  By the way I checked
with a Latin scholar  for your answer and clarification.  Good luck
with your book.

fulks-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
After some give and take, I believe that I got exactly what I wanted.

There are no comments at this time.

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