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I'm translating this sentence into Latin:

You said that I could do anything, so I went to the strip club.

(It's for a late Valentine's card for my girlfriend.)

So far, I have the first and second half:

Dixerat ego aliquid facere potesse, ergo ivi ad stabulo.

But using "ergo" feels wrong. Is that the right word, or does another fit the meaning better?

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Yes, it's possible, but that's not the typical construction. 'Therefore' is the best translation in this spot, starting a whole new clause that isn't immediately dependent (in a meaningful sense, rather than in a grammatical sense) on the previous clause. In that respect, it's closer to igitur.

I checked Smith's English-Latin dictionary for the comparative examples, and I think ita or itaque are your best bets.

ita I say that the young man in question was ill several days, and so died, dico illum adolescentem aliquot dies aegrostasse et ita esse mortuum, Cic. Pro Cluentio 60.168.

This follows under section C. under ita in Lewis and Short.

Need to correct some other things about your "Valentine".

English:

You said that I could do anything, so I went to the brothel.

Your first attempts:

Dixerat ego aliquid facere potesse, ergo ivi stabulo

Better:

Dixisti me quidquid facere posse, itaque ad lupanar ivi.

  • Could you explain why you chose "lustra" over "stabulo"? I was trying to find the closest equivalent to "strip club", as I... didn't say in my original question. Oops.(also, whoops, I'm good at remembering "ad" I promise) – Nic Hartley Feb 25 '16 at 5:41
  • Stabulum is a euphemism for the lustra. Actually, thinking about it, lupanar might be even better. However, stabulum does not per se mean brothel. – C. M. Weimer Feb 25 '16 at 5:48
  • Oh, fair enough. Like I said, though, my question was originally wrong -- I'm looking for something more like "strip club", which, as far as I can tell, "stabulum" is at least similar to. – Nic Hartley Feb 25 '16 at 5:50
  • Hm, I think I'll go with "taberna" instead then. Many thanks for the extra help! – Nic Hartley Feb 25 '16 at 5:52
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    I'll just add that ergó is used to indicate logical results—if this, then that. So if you were aiming for e.g. "You said [yesterday] that I could do anything, so you can't have been in Carthage," then ergó would be exactly right. – Joel Derfner Feb 25 '16 at 21:59
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Here's another approach:

Dīxistī mihi quidlibet in mundō licitum esse,
Ad saltātrīcēs prōtinus adspiciō!

In what I've read—mostly elementary materials—you can just skip the conjunction or adverb, and go straight to the follow-up sentence or clause. In the above, I've also switched from past tense to present tense, the present tense in Latin having pretty broad application. Hopefully someone more experienced can comment on whether the change of tense can suggest consequence or follow-up.

However, the main trick in the above is that it's an elegiac couplet! The rhythm creates a strong feeling that the second line is a "zinger" that follows from but undermines the first line—the effect that you sensed ergo didn't deliver. The poetic meter also provides plenty of poetic license.

To get the full effect, you have to say it correctly—that is, with correct vowel lengths—so I've included the macrons. Also, you have to do the elision, which results in this pronunciation:

Dīxistī mihi quidlibet in mundō licit’ esse,
Ad saltātrīcēs prōtinus adspiciō!

The meaning is something like: "You told me that I could do anything in the world that I please—right away I checked out the dancing girls!"

If you say it with the right rhythm, it sounds like it ends with a rimshot as in old-time stand-up comedy, with a somewhat absurd emphasis on the dancing girls.

  • Oh, this is cool. +1 for making it real Latin. Also, didn't know that you could omit the conjunction. As a side note, I made it past to make it sound like I was explaining after the fact – it's after Valentine's after all. – Nic Hartley Feb 25 '16 at 15:18
  • @QPaysTaxes Definitely the past tense makes more sense—in English. In Latin, though, I think it's quite common for the present tense to refer to any time, especially in a story. We do this in English, too: "It was 1969. I heard a knock. Well, I go to the door, and Jimi Hendrix is there!" I hear that Vergil does that a lot. In the couplet above, hopefully protinus makes clear that as soon as you were given permission, you went and abused it. :) – Ben Kovitz Feb 25 '16 at 15:23
  • @QPaysTaxes BTW, have you said it aloud yet? If you practice the rhythm, it should be entertaining to your girlfriend even if she doesn't know Latin. And you'll start developing a feel for the rhythm of Latin. – Ben Kovitz Feb 25 '16 at 15:26
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    Ah, fair enough. I keep forgetting that tenses have different connotations. No, I haven't; I'm still in school and saying random things in Latin would get be branded as "possessed kid". – Nic Hartley Feb 25 '16 at 15:27
  • I wonder whether switching the hemiepes in the second line would be appropriate. It's a less natural word order, but it's elegy, so that doesn't really matter. And putting sáltátrícés last saves the punchline for the end! There may be some metrical principle that violates, though. – Joel Derfner Feb 26 '16 at 17:34

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