How does one say the adverbial phrase "in a certain respect" or "in certain respects" in Latin?

For example, would

whatever under a certain condition is such-and-such, is such-and-such in a certain respect; but whatever lacks that condition, is simply such-and-such

be a good translation of

quod sub conditione est tale, secundum quid est tale; quod autem absque conditione est tale, simpliciter est tale
—St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I-II q. 6 a. 6 arg. 3


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    Can you give some example sentences? – cmw Apr 28 at 4:03
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    @cmw added an example – Geremia Apr 29 at 14:48
  • @Geremia FWIW, Aristotle and Aquinas (among others) would think of your example as a per se predication. – brianpck May 4 at 12:32
  • @brianpck Maybe. Do you have a better example? – Geremia May 4 at 18:11
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    @Geremia per se is more often contrasted with per accidens, but the two map pretty closely to the simpliciter/secundum quid distinction. See, for instance, De Ver. q. 17, a. 4: "Quia quod per se est, simpliciter est; quod autem per accidens, secundum quid." My original point was pretty limited: "Man is an animal" is a per se predication that is true simpliciter: in fact, Aquinas would even call it "self-evident" (per se notum) because it is a predication of a part of the definition (the genus) of "man." – brianpck May 5 at 17:40

Without more context, it's difficult to know precisely what you need to say. However, quodam modo means "in a certain manner", which could correspond to "in a certain respect" depending on context. Similarly you could use quadam ratione.


An extremely common term in medieval Latin, often used in a philosophical context, is secundum quid, i.e. "with respect to something." Obviously, secundum is used as a preposition here.

It is usually contrasted with something that exists per se, i.e. "in itself," or simpliciter, i.e. "simply speaking."

You can find hundreds of examples in the Index Thomisticus. Here's one representative case:

Praeterea, omne quod dicitur secundum quid, originatur ab eo quod est simpliciter et absolute. (Super Sent., lib. 1 d. 2 q. 1 a. 2 s.c. 2.)

My translation:

Furthermore, everything that is said in a certain respect originates from that which exists simply and absolutely.

  • "Secundum quid" is what I was thinking, too, but is there also "secundum quos/quas/quae" ("in certain respects")? – Geremia Apr 28 at 22:34
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    No, I've never seen that usage. "Secundum quid" is more like "in a qualified way": it either is or it isn't. – brianpck Apr 29 at 2:59

Another option is to use aliquatenus. According to L&S (II) it can mean "To a certain degree" and "in some respects"

So as it seems to remark the restrictive flavor, I may say aliquatenus is indeed a good fit here, but maybe only aliquatenus-ly so.

Philistus,... ut multo inferior, ita aliquatenus lucidior (Philistus, as he was inferior, so in some respects brighter).

Homo aliquatenus animal est: To a certain degree man is an animal.

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    Home is the Catalan translation of homo. Cf. Cat. "L'home és fins a cert punt un animal". – Mitomino May 3 at 17:41
  • @Mitomino, fixed :) – d_e May 3 at 17:44
  • The example sentence is so strange I can't decide whether I'm confused because of its entirety or specifically because of how aliquātenus is used o_o It reads like "2+2 in some respect equals 4" to me - basically it can't be used to qualify an either-or definition, there must be a sliding scale, and equalling 4 or being an animal, tree or insect doesn't admit of one in most cases. – Unbrutal_Russian May 3 at 18:33
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    @Unbrutal_Russian, would non sine causa dicitur hominem homini lupus esse; homo enim aliquatenus animal est makes more sense? – d_e May 3 at 19:52
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    Not really, because homō animal est is simply unqualifiably true, like lupus animal est, saxum inanimum est or apis bēstiola est, item animal. Animam habet? Animal est. How can there be an aliquātenus to it? I think there must be some English-language interference here, where 'animal' has the "bad" meaning bēstia, but even there I hardly imagine sensibly making such a statement because it's either a definition dependent on the technical definition of 'animal'—how can a great ape be more or less an animal?—or the "bad" metaphorical use that doesn't allow qualification either. – Unbrutal_Russian May 4 at 7:13

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