I'm a beginner in Latin language studies, and I wanted to translate a sentence from English to Latin. I'm a self-taught student, and since it's for something important, I'd like it to be right.

The sentence could be either "It's hard following you, but it's impossible not to." or "It's hard to go with you but it's impossible to go without you.". Maybe something like: "The path with you is hard, but without you it's harder". The sentences have a clear religious motivation.

So I'd say: "Difficilis est tecum ire, sed impossiblis est sine tibi ire." Or "Difficilis est te sequire, sed impossiblis est te non sequire".

The sentences may be wrong, but even if right they are inelegant. I'd like some tips to make them more refined. Could anyone help me out?

  • 1
    Just two suggestions: In the phrase 'It is (adj.) to (verb),' the adjective will be neuter not masc. or fem. So, 'Difficile est...;' 'Impossibile est...' Also the infinitive or sequor has to adopt a passive form (deponent), which is sequi.
    – Hugh
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 23:23

1 Answer 1


Besides what Hugh pointed out in the comments, note that sine takes the ablative. Hence te, not tibi.

I would go with Tecum ire difficile est, sine te impossibile.

Judging from your sentences, it seems you want to emphasise a sense of "motion". Otherwise you could also go (pun intended) for Tecum difficile, sine te impossibile.

A formally similar construction is found e.g. in Quintilian's Institutio Oratoria:

Nocere facile est, prodesse difficile.

"It is easy to do harm, hard to be good."

It also reminds of Martial (Epigrams XII, 46):

Nec possum tecum vivere nec sine te.

"Neither can I live with you, nor without you."

  • Great! Thank you so much! :) Commented May 8, 2019 at 15:29
  • @M.Gonzalez: You're welcome! Commented May 8, 2019 at 15:52

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