Are you willing to take a look at my efforts at translating 6 words from English to Latin?

Here goes:

Mankind evolves: Homines evolvant

God disappoints: Deus frustrat

Reason refutes: Ratio refellat

Thoughts? How did I do? I'm open to corrections.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! Can you please specify what exactly you are not sure about in the above phrases? Our site format works best with specific questions.
    – brianpck
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 21:11
  • brianpck, I'm a novice to Latin translation, so I'm looking for any and all commentary, but my primary question is about the conjugation. Thanks. Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 21:15

2 Answers 2


For the first one, you could also go with mundus for "mankind", since homines generally refers to a large group of people as opposed to an entity.
EDIT: Evolvant comes from evolvo, which is a third conjugation verb. Thus, evolvant is in the subjunctive mood as opposed to the indicative, evolvunt, which you should be using here.
Evolvo means "roll out" or "unfold", so I think adveniunt ("arrive at" or "reach"), or augescunt ("grow" or prosper" may better suit your translation. It all depends on the specific type of "evolution" you are talking about (ex: intellectual, physical, etc). Also note that if you choose to go with mundus, you need a singular ending (-t) on the verb.

The second one looks good!

In the third phrase, alternate translations for "reason" are mens and argumentum, but ratio is perfectly acceptable too.
EDIT: Again, mind the conjugation. Refellat is the 3rd person active subjunctive of the word refello, so you should use refellit instead.

EDIT: Just a general note about verb conjugations:
Conjugations are determined by looking at the 2nd principal part of the verb.

1st conjugation verbs end with -āre.

amō, amāre, amāvī, amātum = love, like
dō, dāre, dedī, datum = give

2nd conjugation verbs end with -ēre.

videō, vidēre, vidī, visum = see, look at
doceō, docēre, docuī, doctum = to teach

3rd conjugation verbs end with -ere.

dicō, dicere, dixī, dictum = say, speak
cadō, cadere, cecidī, casum = fall

4th conjugation verbs end with -īre.

dormiō, dormīre, dormīvī, dormītum = sleep, rest
veniō, venīre, venī, ventum = come

The present stem of a verb is found by dropping the -re from the 2nd principal part for 1st and 2nd conjugation verbs, and by dropping the from the 1st principal part for 3rd and 4th conjugation verbs. Once you obtain the stem, you can then add on the appropriate endings.

Hope this was helpful!

  • 2
    evolvo and refello are actually both 3rd conjugation, so they should be evolvunt and refellit. In addition, I do not think confirmo can be used intransitively in this way.
    – brianpck
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 21:07
  • 1
    Ah yes, my apologies, I overlooked the conjugation of evolvo and refello. Evolvant would be a subjunctive meaning "they should evolve" as opposed to "they evolve", likewise with refellat. If you intend to use the present active forms, then the correct translations would be evolvunt and refellit as @brianpck mentioned.
    – Sapphira
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 21:11
  • This is valuable feedback, especially the conjugation help. Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 21:16
  • I have also received the suggestion that "Deus frustrat" should actually be "Deus frustratur" because "frustror" is a deponent verb. Thoughts? Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 21:19
  • 1
    Holy moly! There is so much to learn about this language! Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 21:40

The verb evolvere means to "roll out", "develop" or "evolve". If you write homines evolvunt, I interpret it as "people develop [something]". If mankind is the thing being developed rather than the one guiding the development, I would use passive. To me, at least, homines evolvuntur means "people are developed" or "people evolve". The verb evolvere is third conjugation, so I would read homines evolvant (which is conjunctive instead of indicative) as "may people develop [something]".

Homines means "people", not really "mankind". Genus humanum would be more appropriate for "mankind" or "human race". Note that it is singular, whereas homines is plural. Thus I suggest: Genus humanum evolvitur.

The second phrase is trickier. I am not sure how to use the verbs frustrare and frustrari. Instead, I suggest fallere, which is more severe than to "disappoint". It also has this meaning, but it takes a step in the direction of deception, cheating, and dishonesty. If this tone is acceptable, I suggest: Deus fallit.

In the third phrase ratio sounds like a suitable word. Refellere and refutare are good verbs. These are of the third and first conjugation, respectively. Your refellat is conjunctive, and I assume that would give the wrong tone. Using these, I suggest: Ratio refutat. Or: Ratio refellit.

  • 1
    "People [themselves] evolve" is definitely the sense I intend, rather than "people develop/evolve [something]." "Fallere" is good to know, though the tone is probably not quite right for my current needs. And "Ratio refellit" seems to be have a consensus, so far. Thank you, Joonas Ilmavirta! Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 22:09
  • 1
    Great suggestions: homo (in the singular) might also be a good substitute for genus humanum, e.g. one of my favorite quotes: "homo sum et nihil humanum alienum a me esse puto"
    – brianpck
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 22:17

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