I need to translate the sentence "Who connected you to the world" in Latin. The sentence is not meant to be a question, its more like "[He] Who connected you to the world". The idea in the way it is written in English is that one would assume that it is a question but just missing the question mark. Is there a way to translate "Who connected you to the world" so that it would could be interpreted as both a sentence and a question missing the question mark? I tried using Google translate to translate the sentence from English to Latin and it gave me "Qui pertinet ad orbem terrarum", but if you then translate "Qui pertinet ad orbem terrarum" from Latin to English it gives you "He belongs to the world". Therefore, what would the correct translation be, or is the one by Google translate already correct?

1 Answer 1


The English pronoun "who" is both interrogative ("who connects?") and relative ("he who connects"). In Latin the interrogative and relative pronouns look a little different, but in some cases are indistinguishable. In the nominative they are quis and qui. For example, you could have:

Quis te mundo connectit?
Who connects you to the world?

[Ille] qui te mundo connectit…
[He] who connects you to the world…

This is not as ambiguous as you want. Therefore I suggest passivizing the expression. Then the subject (nominative) becomes the agent (ablative), and the two pronouns look alike in the ablative case. In the perfect tense you could have:

A quo cum mundo connexus/connexa es
By whom you were (or were you) connected to the world

This has the desired kind of ambiguity. The English translation loses the ambiguity due to word order issues, but Latin does not. I added the preposition cum for clarity, although connectere can be used with a plain dative as well. (Without the preposition it looks like "by which world were you connected".)

Now there is an ambiguity between a statement and a question. But another ambiguity is lost: If you want the connecter to be a female, then it should be qua instead of quo. For a question of unspecified gender masculine is the correct choice, but if you want to secretly refer to a specific woman, that is wrong.

Also, the gender of "you" needs to be decided. That is why there are options connexus/connexa for masculine and feminine. I assumed "you" to be singular. If it is plural, the words change a little, but you still have to decide between masculine and feminine.

If you change the perfect tense to the present tense, you don't have to specify the gender of "you".

A quo cum mundo connecteris
By whom you are (or are you) connected to the world

I used the word mundum for "world" and connectere for "connect". For other options, see an online Latin dictionary.

Regarding Google translation: Qui pertinet ad orbem terrarum is "who belongs to the world". The translation from Latin to English is fine (although it should be quis if a question was intended), but the one from English to Latin is not. Google Translate is not reliable with Latin. The verb pertinere is not good in this use, but the phrase orbis terrarum is possible.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.