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If "ex nihilo nihil fit" means "out of nothing comes nothing" then how would one say "out of nothing comes something"? The best I can come up with is "ex quidem nihil fit." Is that translation correct?

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I think quidem is wrong here, as it is an adverb. You can confirm this on the Lewis and Short dictionary. Also, you need to keep the ablative phrase "ex nihilo" (you changed it to "ex quidem").

I would use this phrase: aliquid ex nihilo fit. I'm using the word "aliquid" to mean "something", but there might be better choices.

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    If it's a separate phrase without more context, can you really use quid for "something"? – Joonas Ilmavirta Feb 23 '17 at 5:55
  • @JoonasIlmavirta Hm, I don't know. Do you think aliquid would be better? Or does it run into the same problem? – ktm5124 Feb 23 '17 at 6:00
  • Aliquid is good here. The quid sounds wrong to me, but I may be mistaken. – Joonas Ilmavirta Feb 23 '17 at 6:04
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    I think you are right. I looked it up somewhere, and it says that the indefinite pronoun "quid" is used after certain words, like si, nisi, ne, and num. I'm assuming that in other contexts it should be "aliquid". – ktm5124 Feb 23 '17 at 6:06
  • That's exactly what I had in mind! – Joonas Ilmavirta Feb 23 '17 at 6:07
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With Pliny's well-known ex Africa semper aliquid novi in mind, is there any real need for a verb here?

I would use ex nihilo aliquid.

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    +1, but apparently Pliny actually didn't say ex Africa semper aliquid novi, he said "Semper aliquid novi Africam adferre". – sumelic Feb 23 '17 at 20:14
  • Thanks for the +1 and your reminder that it's not original to Pliny. It's an ancient aphorism, still commonly used, and so a useful pattern here. – Tom Cotton Feb 24 '17 at 6:26
  • If I wanted to say it as a question, would it be grammatical to ask, "Ex nihilo aliquid?" That is, 'something from nothing?' – אהרן רובין Mar 25 '17 at 2:03
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I would use the word nonnihil, "not nothing" or "something". It also makes the comparison to the original phrase clear.

Ex nihilo nonnihil fit.

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