You can't find the truth, you just pick the lie you like the

By semper_incomitatus, in 'English to Latin Translation', Dec 7, 2006.

  1. semper_incomitatus New Member

    "You can't find the truth, you just pick the lie you like the best."

    If someone could help me with this it would be greatly appreciated
  2. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    Veritas non invenitur; deligas modo mendacium quod optime amas.

    Literally "The truth is not to be found; thou shouldst but choose the lie thou likest best".

    Others might well handle the matter differently. I chose to put the first and third verbs in the indicative, and the middle in the subjunctive, which makes sense to me. I was tempted to use an imperative in the middle: deliga modo mendacium, but went with the subjunctive.

    I am interested how others might approach this sentence.
  3. Andy Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Urbs Panamae
    Non potest veritam comperire, sed errorem quem mavis eligere

    I had never dealt with malo in this way before. Wow, what a verb!


    It's... :brickwall: . But I guess a little complexity here and there never hurts.

    Oh, yeah. Here, I'm using error, -oris m. as uncertainty, lie, deception.

    Any corrections? I'm doubting the use of quem, but since Iynx used quod, I feel a little bit safe.
  4. QMF Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, US
    Andy-veritas is a third declension noun. Third declension nouns have all their forms except the nominative singular formed by working with the stem in the genitive singular (with exceptions, e.g., vis). In the case of veritas, the genitive singular is veritatis, so the accusative singular is veritatem.
    However, I don't even see what you are trying to say in the first clause, as there is no nominative to indicate it. If you are trying to say, "The truth cannot be found", it would be "veritas non potest comperiri" (comperiri is the passive infinitive). Were you trying to say "you can't..."? If so, the 2nd singular present of posse is potes, not potest.
    As for's magis+velle (I learned that on this forum :)) so it kind of works like velle. Pretty much wherever there's a "vo-" or a "ve-" (which appears in places like the present subjunctive) you substitute "ma-" and otherwise you just put "ma-" in front of the form, at least in the present indicative.
    And you still need an imperative or a 2nd singular subjunctive (used in a jussive sense, similar to "Let's..." in a way) in the second clause I would think.
    The use of quem is still correct however.
    If you wanted to use the "posse" to influence both infinitives, it would be very strongly advised to put it at or near the end (i.e., after the second infinitive) of the sentence, as otherwise you're trying to write in a...non-prosaic syntax.
    So if you're doing what I think you're doing, it would be:
    non veritatem comperire sed errorem quem mavis eligere potes.
    Which really doesn't reflect the English, as it is reflecting on the necessity of choosing the lie you prefer, as opposed to being able to choose it.
    In summary, I'm not sure what you're trying to say.
  5. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    I'm afraid, qmf, that I'm going to split another hair here, but this one is, I think, well worth splitting.

    The term "stem" is used very inconsistently by many teachers and by grammarians. This is unfortunate, because it has in my opinion made learning the rudiments of the tongue a great deal harder and more confusing than it needs to be.

    This is the way I look at it:

    1. One does not get the "stem" by amputating an ending from the genitive singular. One gets the "stem" by amputating an ending from the genitive plural. The "stem" of ars, artis (genitive plural artium) is not art-, it is arti-. This is why ars is called an i-stem. The ending-applied-to-the-stem is considered to be -um across the whole IIIrd Declension.

    2. Because there is a need to have a common vocabulary (in linguistics as in every other field of endeavor), I admit, reluctantly, that this matters; and the concepts involved do have a sensible underpinning in the (theoretical) history of the language. But if you are a beginning Latin student, just trying to learn to read and write the language, then this

    a. is nuts; and
    b. does not matter.

    3. What you care about is not the thing called the stem; what you care about is the thing I call the base. Definition? That part of the nomen that is invariant in declension, or better, most nearly invariant in declension. In the case of ars, this is art-. Note that in this conceptualization the endings-applied-to-the-base are different from the endings-applied-to-the-stem. It is the former that almost everyone naturally learns, even those people who insist on talking about the stem.

    4. When I first learned Latin, young and dumb as I was, even I had the wit to ask: if the stem is derived from the genitive plural, and almost all other forms are built on the stem, why don't they put the genitive plural of nouns in dictionaries? Now that I am older and perhaps slightly less dumb, I think I know the answer: almost no one actually makes forms that way. We almost all use what I call the base-- which may or may not be the same as the stem. (It's off-topic a little, but I do think it would be better if dictionaries did in fact list the genitive plural with the nominative singular of nouns, and if we taught and learned nouns that way. But that's not going to happen any time soon).
  6. Andy Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Urbs Panamae
    non veritatem comperire sed errorem quem mavis eligere potes


    Thank you. Though these little slip-ups can be a little :oops: , I stand back up knowing more than when I fell down.

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