I am trying to translate the following phrase into Latin: "Be ready to change your goals but never change your values". I've got up to "Esto parata mutare propositos tuos sed numquam mutare valores tuos" but I'm not sure whether to use ablative instead of accusative after "mutare". Subject of the phrase is feminine singular.

  • As a laymen student, I'm curious about your choice to use "esto." The only times I've heard about it being used was in legal documents, and in a joke by modern classicists about how rare it is. – Nickimite Mar 1 '20 at 20:41
  • @Nickimite I simply adjusted for number and gender the Scouts motto "Estote parati"; I'm open to suggestions – user6612 Mar 1 '20 at 20:55

It's good to see English to Latin coming back into favour - it really makes you think, though we don't see that much of it today.

I'd say the 'esto' is probably not needed - a bit like saying 'ego amo' instead of just 'amo'. But if the phrase is to be a motto, then yes.

On the main points, paro is 1st conjugation, and Kennedy 120 tells us the form for the imperative (to one person) is 'parator'.

muto is an ordinary transitive verb and thus demands the accusative. Maybe it could mean 'make changes to', in which case the dative would work. What does your grammar (Kennedy?, Allen & Greenough?) say?

An imperative like this doesn't really have a 'subject', masculine or feminine, so it would look the same if addressed to a boy or a girl, but different for a group.

Finally (!), the negative injunction 'do not change' might be better as 'ne mutes'

  • I didn't use a grammar book, I'm Italian and I tried to make it sound as natural as possible for a Romance language speaker. Compare to: sii preparata a mutare/cambiare i tuoi propositi ma non mutare/cambiare mai i tuoi valori. – user6612 Mar 2 '20 at 11:34
  • "ne mutes" has a nice touch to it, but as far as i know esto paratus is for masculine and esto parata is feminine (participles are gendered, at least in italian) – user6612 Mar 2 '20 at 11:38
  • you did answer my accusative vs. ablative question so I'll mark it as accepted – user6612 Mar 2 '20 at 11:39
  • Ah, yes, I see the problem now. Your language is naturally the closest to classical Latin, but I guess there is the occasional 'false friend'. In Italian it seems you express the passive imperative by the verb 'to be' followed by a participle, which, as you say, is gendered. In Latin, though, I think they'd prefer the imperative mood of the passive voice, which is not gendered. For example: – John White Mar 3 '20 at 14:03
  • amas: active indicative, you love ama: active imperative, love! amaris: passive indicative, you are loved amare or amator: passive imperative, be loved! You might consider a grammar book? Allen & Greenough is my favourite – John White Mar 3 '20 at 14:03

"Parare" takes the accusative and infinitive just like you've done.

You can use "parata esto", as you've done, or "parator" as John White suggested. The nuance between these two choices might be too small to worry about in a lapidary motto.

There are other options, of course. As an example, I'll throw out, "Parandum est mutari semper proposita, nunquam valores". Here I've replaced the imperative with a neuter impersonal passive gerundive, and changed "propositos" to neuter.

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