1. Anonymous Guest

    An acquaintance of mine often uses the currently popular, redundant (and perturbing to me) saying, "it is what it is" in his posts and emails.

    To make matters worse, he has now taken to write it in Latin:
    "Id est, quo id est."

    I have a problem with his seemingly dictionary translation, but I can't come up with a more accurate one.

    Help. What would be the best translation of "it is what it is" to convey the proper meaning (even if I hate the phrase), please. TIA
  2. Andy Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Urbs Panamae
    Ironically so, I think he's right. Except for the quo, I think it should be in the accusative - quod.

    Quod est · est, perhaps?
  3. PandaSpoon Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    There are only being verbs in there, so I don't think there whould be an accusitive anywhere.

    I would say

    id est, quid id est.
  4. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    It seems to me that there are two possible approaches.

    One is to use a relative clause: Est quod est. "It is that which it is". It is not necessary or usual to express the subject apart from the verb-form. The quod here is (in my view) nominative, not accusative (though the forms are of course the same in the neuter).

    The other would be to use an indirect question: Est quid sit (It is (what it is)).

    I think the first is better.
  5. Cato Consularis

    • Consularis
    Chicago, IL
    This is the first sentence that occurred to me upon reading the quote, so I'm with Iynx.
  6. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    Similar to "I know who I am" this really doesn't go into Latin very well. Est quod est is probably best however.
  7. PandaSpoon Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Certe, modus optimus hoc scribere est "est quod est".

  8. sarge12 New Member

    It is, what it is

    Ive always wanted to translate "It is, what it is." I need something simple for a plaque at work...if it has already been done please direct me as to not take up others time thanks..
  9. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    Things like this are very difficult to translate into Latin due to their very strongly idiomatic nature. (We've had similar requests in the past, but never exactly this one as far as I know.) A literal translation is:
    Est quid est
    But that doesn't make any sense in Latin in my opinion.
  10. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    Well. "If I am Who am" is Ego sum Qui sum (Exodus iii: 14), why cannot sarge12's sentence be rendered

    [Id] est quid est.

    I suppose that is a little different from sarge's English-- it's really "It is what is".

    How about

    Est sicut est.

    "It is as it is".

  11. Fulgor Laculus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    I think what QMF means is that in itself such a phrase in Latin is extremely abstruse. How would a native Latin speaker understand est quid est ? Without context, this seems jibberish. To tell the truth, I myself, whose mother tongue is not English, am not sure I really understand what "It is, what it is" signifies. If this phrase is idiomatic in English, then let it remain in English - by translating it into another language, it becomes artificial: incomprehensible in that other language, unless translated back into English (or unconsciously translated back into English by someone who knows both Latin and English well).
    I would say that the only way to translate such an idiomatic phrase into another language is to find a phrase having more or less the same connotation in that other language.
  12. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    I guess Exodus 3:14 has some similarity to est quid est...

    dixit Deus ad Mosen ego sum qui sum ait sic dices filiis Israhel qui est misit me ad vos
  13. Cato Consularis

    • Consularis
    Chicago, IL
    Why quid instead of quod? And I wonder if it's important to know the gender of the thing referred to: "I can't really say if the book is any good; I guess it is what it is." Would you stick with Est quid/quod est, or would you change to the masculing qui/quis in referring back to a presumed liber?
  14. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    Would it make more sense if you put an id before it?

    id est quod est...
  15. Gregorius Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    "Id est quid id est" is probably the best straightforward translation, but the idiomatic issues involved with such phrases are quite blaring. It somewhat reminds me of translating phrases like "It's me!" or "It was you!"

    In English, it is perfectly permissible to have a declaration of identity with a neutral nominative pronoun (i.e. "it") as the subject and an oblique pronoun (i.e. "me" as the object). In Latin and most modern Romance languages, I believe grammar stipulates that both subject and object be nominative whenever a copulative verb is involved and that the verb itself be conjugated according to the more specific pronoun (i.e. the "me" instead of the "it").

    English-speakers say things like "It's me!" without a second thought. However, in Spanish for example, "¡Es mí!" or even "¡Me es!" is not only clunky but downright ungrammatical. The best translation is "¡Soy yo!", which literally means "I am I." The inclusion of the subject pronoun "yo," which verb conjugation makes optional in most cases, helps to convey the emphasis of the original English sentence. "It was you!" would similarly be translated as "¡Eras tú!" (literally "You were you!")

    Having finished that somewhat tangential explication, might I suggest using "idem" or "ipse" for the phrase in question? Could we perhaps say "Id est quid ipsum est" or perhaps just "Id est ipsum"? Just a suggestion.
  16. sarge12 New Member

    I guess what I was looking for (I dont need this translated) was something like "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" people sometimes make things too complicated and dont realize that some things are just as simple as the sound. But I like the idea of it really is what it is...but maybe this explination will help....but then again there is something to be said about "lost in translation" Im just looking for something to post at work... because it seems like people are always seeing more to things then are really there...... it is what it is :argue:
  17. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    My suggestion: Non potest aliter esse atque ipsum est.

    Which should mean, more or less, "It cannot be anything but what it is."
  18. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    Hmmm...seems I interpreted your request a bit differently than you had in mind. I thought you meant something along the lines of "It is what it is: you can't do anything about it, so just accept it", when what you really meant was "It is what it is: nothing else, nothing more". In that case I'd probably go with Sicut est, ita est.
  19. sarge12 New Member

    actually I really like both translations....I may keep them both but I think you really hit what I was going for in the second one... it is what it is and you cannot change it...thank you very much for the help
  20. curious New Member

    I would like to know how a phrase would be spoken in Latin, or if there is a common phrase that would have been used in it's place. The phrase is "It is what it is".

    Thank you in advance

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