I am in the process of planning out a tattoo, and I want to get my family's clan motto. The Mackenzie Clan motto is

Luceo Non Uro

Which as I understand translates to "shine not burn." That said, however, the source I linked says that it translates to "I shine not burn." I am rather unfamiliar with the Latin language, so my question(s) are the following;

  1. Is it necessary to modify the Latin phrase for it to translate to "I shine not burn," or is the "I" implied/part of the phrase?
  2. If modification is required, what would the new Latin phrase be?
  • In what context is it used exactly? – Johan Van hove Aug 26 '20 at 3:15
  • @JohanVanhove What do you mean? It is a motto. – David Aug 27 '20 at 14:11

The direct translation of "luceo non uro" is "I shine; I do not burn."

The "I" part is directly stated as part of the grammar. If you take the verb base luce- and add the -o ending, this means that the 'doer' of the verb is 'I.' This process of affixing endings to verbs is called conjugation.

If you wanted to get a different meaning across with the motto -- for example if you wanted to tell somebody to follow the motto -- you would add a different ending. "Luce non ure" would be "shine; don't burn."

In short, this motto doesn't need any changes for it to mean what you want it to mean.

  • 2
    Just to clarify: generally you wouldn't want to put non alone with an imperative. You'd probably do something like "noli urere" or "ne uras" if you wanted to say, "Don't burn." – brianpck Aug 26 '20 at 12:25

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