Is there a semantic difference between "Etiam si omnes, ego non" and "Et si omnes ego non"?

I know Latin is loose when it comes to word order, and it seems to me the answer is no, but the way this sentence is worded in this Wikipedia article has me wondering if the uncommon "Et si omnes" changes the meaning in any way:

A variant is Et si omnes ego non, as written on the door of Philipp von Boeselager's home, highlighting the necessity of maintaining one's own opinion and moral judgment, even in the face of a differing view held by the majority (in particular, it refers to von Boeselager's dissent and resistance against Hitler during the Nazi dictatorship). 

The original, common "Etiam si omnes, ego non" also highlights the necessity of maintaining one's own opinion and moral judgment, even in the face of a differing view held by the majority. Any difference, or poor wording?

[Note: I am not asking if there is a big difference in the meanings, which there is not, but if there is a very fine, nuanced difference in the semantic stress of the sentence, created by the very fine, nuanced difference in the Latin]

  • 2
    My intuition would say there is little difference, possibly with some extra emphasis in etiam.
    – Cerberus
    May 21, 2019 at 14:05
  • 2
  • Dear @Cerberus I'm Alex, working at a Hong Kong Art and Design company. We're looking to build out own group of avid language enthusiasts to advise us. You are quite the knowledgeable, kind and helpful linguist, and I would like to ask if you'd like to join as a private adviser. We envisage an informal, unpaid advisory board (like StackExchange), except we can give credit on our (as of yet unmade) website, rather then Stack points. But if anyone can recommend a suitable payment system we're all ears. If you have any interest please let me know. All the very best, A. J. T. Whiteheart
    – Johan88
    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:04
  • @Johan88: Dear Alex, thank you for your kind words. I can only say that I am rather busy, and I'm not sure what exactly this entails, what you'd like me to do.
    – Cerberus
    Jan 5, 2020 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


The common phrase is etiam si (even if), but et can be used as a shorthand for etiam, which would be the only reasonable way of reading it in that sentence. So, there is no significant difference between the two.

  • Thanks. You're quite right, but I'm not looking for a "significant difference". If there is any difference I think it would be a highly nuanced one, a very fine stressing of one semantic over another.
    – Johan88
    May 22, 2019 at 2:29
  • Length is the only difference. May 22, 2019 at 15:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.