I've seen this meme circulating lately, pointing out one of the many valid reasons to learn to speak dead languages properly:


My first thought was, "this is why we need to mark long vowels!" But I realized, to my shame, I don't know how to express this extremely important sentiment in Latin.

What is the idiomatic equivalent of the English "this is why…"? All I can think of is a roundabout construction, "it is because of this reason that…", and that just feels awkward.

  • 2
    I'm novice in Latin, but I encountered the phrase "Hac ratione" at least in one place to signify "this is why".
    – d_e
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 22:20

5 Answers 5


The first word that comes to my mind is quapropter. Lewis & Short gives it the clunky translation of "wherefore" or "on which account," but it can be much less stuffy than that. Here's a good example from Terence:

ridiculumst istuc me admonere, Clitipho,
quasi ĭstic minor mea res agatur quam tua.
hic siquid nobis forte advorsi evenerit,
tibi erunt parata verba, huic homini verbera:
quapropter haec res ne utiquam neglectust mihi. (Clitophon, Act II)

My (loose) translation:

It's ridiculous for you to tell me this, Clitiphon,
as if this didn't concern both of us!
If anything happened to go wrong for us,
You'll get words--I'll get wounds!
This is why I won't ever be negligent in this matter.


Where English uses relative constructions such as 'It is for this reason that...', 'This is (the reason) why...', and so on, to add emphasis, Latin tends to dispense with the relative clause and rely on word placement instead.*

Therefore, I would just use a word like propterea – or a phrase such as hac(ce) ex causa, hanc ob causam, or the like –, emphatically placed at the beginning of the sentence. In initial position, all of these could, by themselves, have the force of, 'It's for this reason that....' or 'This is (the reason) why....'

* See, for example J. Mountford, 'Bradley's Arnold Latin prose composition §82 (cf. §156):

An emphatic order of words often expresses in Latin what English can express only by a relative clause following a main sentence which begins with the impersonal it.

Agricolam laudat iuris legumque peritus. It is the farmer whom the lawyer praises.


I wouldn't disagree with the answers of either brianpck or cnread, but what is wrong with hoc est, cur …? It's simple, short, easily understood and, if you google the three words, you will find plenty of attestations.

  • 2
    Huh. I don't remember ever coming across this and wouldn't have guessed that such a one-to-one equivalent works; but you're exactly right: I see examples from Seneca, Ovid, and even Cicero. And now that you've mentioned it, I've seen quid est cur many times, and hoc est cur is simply the declarative equivalent of that. +1
    – cnread
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 17:18

Quare can be translated as "This is why"

in https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/quare#Latin, they translated:

"Inveniuntur enim praeter amnem mirae villae et horti, qui a regibus Franciae in XVI° saeculo structi sunt: quare Liger hodie saepe regale flumen vocatur"

as "However, besides rivers/streams are found marvelous estates and gardens, which were constructed by kings of France during the 16th century: which is why the Loire today is often called a royal river"


This is why we need to mark long vowels!

can also be expressed as

For this reason, we need to mark long vowels!

In my opinion, “this is why” is lower register English. In archaic English, we would find the word “wherefore.” In Koine Greek, we would find διό. In Latin, propter hoc. (This is not to say that there is only one way of expressing that English phrase in Greek or Latin.)

Consider the following passage in Matt. 27:6–8:

6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. NIV, ©2011

The Greek text has διὸ and the Vulgate propter hoc. According to Lewis & Short,1

B. Trop., in stating a cause.
1. On account of, by reason of, from, for, because of (syn. ob; “the predom. signif. of the word): parere legibus propter metum,” Cic. Par. 5, 1, 34; cf.: “propter metum poenae,” id. Sest. 46, 99: “propter eam ipsam causam,” id. de Or. 1, 16, 72: “propter frigora frumenta in agris matura non erant,” Caes. B. G. 1, 16: “propter humanitatem,” Cic. Att. 7, 5, 2: “is propter morbum exire non potuit,” Auct. Her. 1, 11, 19: “excusato languore faucium propter quem non adesset,” Suet. Ner. 41; id. Aug. 8; Sall. J. 23, 1: bidentes propter viam facere, to sacrifice on account of a journey, Laber, ap. Non. 53, 26; cf.: “propter viam fit sacrificium quod est proficiscendi gratiā, Herculi aut Sanco,” Fest. p. 229 Müll.; Plaut. Rud. 1, 2, 62: “propter injuriam,” to avoid injury, Pall. 12, 13: “propter hoc, propter quod,” on that account, for which reason, Varr. R. R. 3, 16, 14;


1 p. 1472, propter


Lewis, Charlton T.; Short, Charles. Harper’s Latin Dictionary: A New Latin Dictionary Founded on the Translation of Freund’s Latin-German Lexicon. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1884.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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