I would like to translate the following into Latin:

I regret never telling you I love you.

This is a stand alone sentence. I want to be able to translate it from English to Latin. I've tried Google Translate and a couple of other sites but I keep getting conflicting translations. I especially would like the correct word for regret which keeps translating to sorry which changes the nuance of the sentence from feeling regret over an action missed to an apology.

Thank you in advance to anyone who can help me! :)


1 Answer 1


For "regret," you essentially have the choice between the paenitere and dolere. (Don't be put off by the term "impersonal," by the way, it is just a grammatical category.)

Paenitere is often constructed impersonally, i.e., me paenitet ..., but this verb often goes in the direction of "I am dissatisfied, it annoys me" etc., so I feel this may not be the best choice here, because I suspect we are not talking about the sort of regret that one feels when missing a train or losing money, etc.

The basic meaning of dolere, on the other hand, is "to feel pain." It is frequently used with the meaning "to feel sorry, to regret," though. I suspect the idea of pain felt over a missed chance fits better in this context.

The rest is pretty straightforward:

Doleo quod numquam tibi dixi me te amare.

(Joonas remarks, non sine causa, that dixi me te amare is technically ambiguous. Is it: "I said I love you" or rather "I said you love me"? There was, as a matter of fact, a question about this particular problem a while ago. But since "I never told you you love me" is a completely implausible reading, I think there is really no ambiguity in practice here.)

  • 1
    I like the suggestion, but perhaps it's fair to add a reminder of the ambiguity between subjects and objects in an ACI.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Nov 7, 2021 at 22:22
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    This is of course grammatically correct, but I think a Roman would have avoided the proliferation of pronouns by using a different construction, e.g. something along the lines of quod amorem numquam aperui.
    – TKR
    Nov 7, 2021 at 23:51
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    In this instance, the ambiguity is a non-issue, isn't it? to the point that explaining it just muddies the answer. After all, can you imagine any realistic situation in which you would ever say, 'I regret not telling you that you love me'? It rather defies logic.
    – cnread
    Nov 8, 2021 at 5:50
  • @TKR A favourite line from Plautus: Scio quidem me te esse nunc et te esse me. (Captivi 2, 2) ;-) Nov 8, 2021 at 7:45
  • A good find. But in that line the pronouns are emphatic and indispensable. It's the sequence of unemphatic Romance-like pronouns here that feels un-Latin to me.
    – TKR
    Nov 8, 2021 at 16:27

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