I tried translating three sentences regarding topic in question and will appreciate it if you take time to check my attempts.

Chest is to the left of the bed.
Arca ad sinistram lectuli est.

Table is in the middle of the room.
Mensa in medio mellae est.

There are colourful flowers in the crystal vase on the wooden table.
Ibi flos colorati in vase crystallino super mensa lignea sunt.

  1. Is it correct to translate there are ... as ibi ... sunt? Maybe something less literal would be better?
  2. Are there other mistakes? How to translate these sentences better?

2 Answers 2


The "there" in the English "there are" does not really refer to location. It is often best to translate "there are" as simply sunt. You should drop ibi from your sentence. Also, the flower word flos should be in plural. Otherwise the sentence looks good to me.

The second sentence is correct, apart from a small misprint: you probably meant cellae instead of mellae. In in medio cellae the word medium is a noun, meaning "the center".

It is also possible to use the adjective medius and say in media cella. It may sound like "in the central room", but it does also mean "in the center of the room". Latin is like this; it is hard to distinguish the tallest mountain from the peak of a mountain (both can be altissimus mons).

I'm not sure about the first one — I don't know the idiomatic classical Latin way to put that in Latin.

  • Thank you! mellae is a typo indeed. Your answer leads to answer of my another question I think.
    – user1846
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 22:12
  • 1
    @PrzemysławP You are welcome! I just happened to finish typing a separate answer to the other question. :) I hope someone can comment on your first sentence in another answer; I'd much like to learn how it goes.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 22:13

As Joonas Ilmavirta stated, he is unsure of the correctness of the first example. This question interested me, so upon some digging through dictionary entries, I would like to posit that it would be a grammatically correct translation. Lewis and Short provide this quote that led me to this conclusion:

aspice nunc ad sinistram

Look now to the left

This is a quote from Cicero's Philippics*, and it uses the noun sinistra to represent the left as a noun. This obviously comes from sinister, -a, -um the adjective, which bears a near identical meaning. I would like to make a special note about ad here, as it appears you just translated it from the English "to," as ad is most often used with "to." However, that is generally only with motion, not relative space. But, ad still works. Instead, interpret ad to mean "at" instead, and sinistram to mean "the left (-hand side)." This interpretation would make it seemingly a correct construction. I cannot attest to its definite use in classical literature, but it appears there is at least some proof that alludes to a similar, if not the same use.

*Upon further investigation, this appears to be an oddly manipulated quote. Two other texts I checked instead have:

Aspicite illam a sinistra equestrem statuam inauratam

Not only has the command become plural, but the nunc has been dropped and the preposition is a/ab with the corresponding ablative. This suggests that the following is also an option:

Arca a sinistra lectuli est

The chest is by the left (-hand side) of the bed

If anyone could explain to me why the discrepancy in the quote exists, I would be very interested to find out more.

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