How to express the following sentence in Latin? I am after a good choice of structure, not a literal translation.

"I regret to inform you that our old teacher has died."

My suggestion is Doleo te certiorem facere de morte magistri nostri veteris. Is doleo te certiorem facere or doleo tibi narrare an idiomatic and grammatical way of putting this?

  • I agree with me pænitet. But I'll also add that I'm fairly certain doleo + infinitive isn't a valid Latin construction. Others who know better may disagree! Also, my sense is that Latin prefers verbal constructions to nominal, so de morte magistri nostri veteris doesn't feel as Latinate as, say, magistrum veterum mortuum esse. Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 5:08
  • @JoelDerfner, I'm also uncertain if that is a valid construction. It will certainly be understood, but I don't think it's very good style. As for choosing between verbal and nominal constructions, it depends on the verb "inform" you pick. Some verbs might prefer de, some an ACI, some a subordinate clause, some an accusative object with a participle. I don't recall seeing certiorem facere without de.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 8:58
  • Another suggestion might be: de magistro nostro mortuo I really don't think that morte magistri sounds contrived, though.
    – brianpck
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 13:51

2 Answers 2


I would use me poenitet (Lewis & Short) for this kind of construction.

In the specific example you cited, I would say: Me poenitet te certiorem facere de morte magistri pristini nostri.

  • L&S prefers pæniet (as I would), although œ is certainly attested. Just wondering, is there anything in particular that makes you prefer it? Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 4:27
  • @kkm, You're right about that--actually, the linked entry also uses ae. I use ecclesiastical pronunciation, which pronounces both the same, so I never paid too much attention to the variance in spelling.
    – brianpck
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 13:26

There are a few ways to say this, but I like paenitere.

I would say: Paenitet me tibi dicere de morte...

  • 2
    Traupman, in the Bantam dictionary, recommends this as well. Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 19:53

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