How do you say the following in Latin?

  1. That place is like a paradise.

  2. Reading is like travelling with the mind.

  3. Love is like when you use a credit card: you are not aware that most likely you will spend a lot of money.

  4. As a citizen, you have rights.

  5. As you wish.

  6. As you already know, he will not come.

  7. You look as if you had seen a ghost. (Counterfactual concerning the past)

  8. You speak as if you were not going to come back. (Counterfactual concerning the future)

For the latter I have seen an example with tamquam + future active participle. In De Brevitate Vitae, it says

Tamquam semper victuri vivitis - You live as if you were going to live forever.

Is there another structure for that? In this case the part with participle has no verb (only semper victuri). Does it have to be always that way?

Also there is a quote with quasi + future active participle:

Disce quasi semper victurus; vive quasi cras moriturus - Learn as if you were going to live forever; live as if you were going to die tomorrow

Is there another possible connector?

  • Eventually there is no need for ... what is "as" anyway, a conjunction? I mean, English uses many prepositions to make up for its loss of the inflections. Even if Latin had a near synonym--I'm as curious as you--I guess it will often be left out, or is baked in with the word. So "as a citizen" is probably realized as ablative or vocative inflection, similar to citizen rights. Indeed, als exists similarly but not equivalently in German as well, as Germanic had already lost some cases. I've started to cp Greek relative pronouns, and it seems L -alis, qualis may be correlated to as, like.
    – vectory
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 13:00
  • Point in case, like when is almost redundant. The usual aphorism is phrased "Love is when you finish each others sentences", and there's also "Happiness is a warm gun", "sex is like driving--safety comes first", etc.. However, I'm aware it's a collocation, idem G wie wenn, and it feels a lot like quasi which is also composed of two syllables (not to commit to much to a grammatic interpretation).
    – vectory
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 13:49
  • take a look at the last collumns here en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Latin_correlatives
    – vectory
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


There are a number of ways to express this kind of comparison in Latin, and no one solution will be sufficient. The simplest word is probably sicut or ut. For example, you can insert the comment "as everyone knows" in Latin as sicut omnes sciunt (e.g. Cicero, In Q. Caecilium 41). "As you wish" can be translated as ut vis (common in Plautus).

If you want to say "X is like Y", then I suggest similis or par. Locus ille Elysii similis/par est would be a good way to describe a paradise.

If you want to add a counterfactual tone with something like the English "as if", I recommend using quasi. For example, I might translate:

You speak as if you were not going to come back.
Loqueris quasi numquam rediturus.

As you have noticed, it is often most convenient to use participles for things like this in Latin. Participles are good at setting up circumstances under which something is done; e.g. edens ausculto is "I listen while I eat". Adding quasi or tamquam can bring the desired counterfactual tone. Another similar word is proinde, which seems to be a common choice when a subordinate clause is used instead of a participle; see Lewis and Short for examples.

If you want help with translating a specific sentence nicely, please ask a separate question. Your question is somewhat broad, so I won't try to go through all individual examples in detail. Overall, my suggestion is to consider the words (sic)ut, tamquam, proinde, similis, par, quasi.

  • 1
    My heart is so happy to know that this exchange even happened in this day and age. I love learning. Thank you. God bless.
    – Beth
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 6:05
  • 1
    Talking about similis, note it can take both the genitive and the dative; the genitive is preferred for perfect resemblance (e.g. "similis patris"), and in expressions like "veri similis", "similis mei/tui/...". Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 11:46

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