I already know about the distance, but this is a difference in the meaning when they are demonstrative.

What would be the difference in connotations, and their use, when they are "he".

I can find sentences with each of them, but my level in Latin doesn't allow me to see the shade of meanings. The dictionaries are not very loquacious about it, and it's a thing I would need to know now to progress in Latin, and to forge my own sentences.

Related: Reference with hic, is and ille

  • 1
    "He" isn't a meaning, but a pronoun that can be used in various syntactic and semantic functions - this also goes for all the Latin pronouns you mention. Do you mean the anaphoric usage? Nov 19, 2019 at 9:23
  • Yes, it's the classical use for this pronoun. I'm not very advanced in Latin, so I'm looking to translate simple sentences.
    – Quidam
    Nov 19, 2019 at 10:44
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    Keep in mind that these aren't quite the same as English he as they can refer to any masculine noun, not just male persons. So in Latin you may need to repeat a name or add a noun (hic vir) for clarity when you might just say he in English.
    – C Monsour
    Nov 21, 2019 at 1:15

1 Answer 1


Pronoun differences.

In my beginner-Latin courses, my instructors were fairly explicit with the differences; In classical Latin, hic was a pronoun that indicated closeness to a person either in proximity or friendship. Ille was often used for proximity as well, but it could also be a more diplomatic word for somebody you disagreed with. Iste, a common pronoun you did not list, was often used to group people together, often in a negative way: "that (man) (of yours)." Meanwhile, "is" is a word that remains neutral and independent of these connotations.

Si erram (et numquam erro) me moneas.

  • Yes, but is the "proximity" a thing then using it for "he"? So, "hic" would be the affectionate "he", "ille" same thing, and "is" being neutral?
    – Quidam
    Nov 19, 2019 at 10:47

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