I would like to say “you first” in Latin. With all the different ways to say you (tu/vos....I can’t remember it that well from school)....with the correct corresponding first.... Thanks so much!!!!


I would paraphrase "You first" as "You are the first" or "You must go first". In the first case, "the first" is a predicate. A nominative case could be used. In the second case, "first" is an adverb.

Primus means "first" and is a first declension adjective. Primum is the adverb form.

If singular, the possibilities are: tu primus, tu prima.

If plural: vos primi, vos primae.

  • You forgot to mention that the adverb is primum; it will often be an adverb that is needed. Also, the case of the pronoun may not be nominative, though it usually would be. If we are waiting in line at the bread dole, "tibi primum" might be more appropriate. – C Monsour Oct 13 '19 at 14:47
  • I was in doubt about primum also. I didn't consider the dative case, thanks. – Nick Decroos Oct 13 '19 at 15:12
  • I would actually use the adjective instead of the adverb for this, even if English thinks otherwise. With plural the adjective should be plural (primi) and one has to switch to feminine when appropriate (prima, primae). – Joonas Ilmavirta Oct 13 '19 at 16:01
  • @JoonasIlmavirta To me, tu primum sounds as natural as tu quoque. On the other hand, modifying a personal pronoun with an ordinal number sounds...special. Can you cite examples? – C Monsour Oct 13 '19 at 17:13
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    @CMonsour Unfortunately I can't. To me tu quoque sounds much more natural than tu primum, but I fully acknowledge that this is based on nothing rigorous. Can you write an answer focusing on the adverbial side of things and maybe comparing the two? It's always best to have different views and many answers. – Joonas Ilmavirta Oct 13 '19 at 17:20

In the comments on the other answer, I think we've concluded that you could use "tu primum", "tibi primum", or "te primum" depending on whether "you" is the subject, beneficiary, or object of the implied action, or you could say "sis primus" (to a man) or "sis prima" (to a woman).

In the plural, these would be "vos primum", "vobis primum", "vos primum", "sitis primi", and "sitis primae", respectively.

There is no tu or vos with the adjective since in that case the subjunctive mood must be made explicit by including the verb, and once the verb is explicit, nominative case pronouns are redundant and omitted.

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