res ipsa loquitur

omc

New Member
What does this phrase mean, literally? It's usually translated as "the thing speaks for itself." But I've also seen that it's literally translated as "the thing itself speaks."

What case is ipsa? Nominative (which would support the second translation) or ablative (which would support the first, I think) ?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Ipsa is nominative and "the thing itself speaks" is the more literal translation. The meaning, however, might be expressed more naturally in English as "the thing speaks for itself".

The ablative wouldn't support the "for itself" translation. It just wouldn't make sense or, at any rate, not any sense like the one we've got here.
 

omc

New Member
Ipsa is nominative and "the thing itself speaks" is the more literal translation. The meaning, however, might be expressed more naturally in English as "the thing speaks for itself".

The ablative wouldn't support the "for itself" translation. It just wouldn't make sense or, at any rate, not any sense like the one we've got here.
Thank you.
 
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