Latin Introductory Phrases: Lesson 1

We will be learning some conversational Latin in this course. Since this is a text course, I’ll want you to get a pen and a piece of paper and write in Latin (you are probably going to use it in its written form anyway). And if this course works, we’d be getting into the pronunciation later.

Whenever you are being asked how to write text you have to translate the English text written on the button to Latin and write it down. After that you can click on the button to view the correct version and check yours. That’s it, let’s begin.

The Latin word for is is est.
The Latin word for it is id.

If you have ever studied psychology, you might just remember Freud’s id, ego, and superego. Id means it.

1 translation: it is

The word for new is novum.

To remember that, remember that you are still a novice in Latin.

Now here’s something really important: when people speak Latin, they like to put the verb (in this case the word est) to the end of the phrase. So, instead of saying "it is interesting" they say "it interesting is", instead of "I go to school", they say "I to school go" and so on. This gets applied to all words. Try it:

2 translation: it is new

The word for good is bonum.

There are many words in English that use the same stem but to provide a different one, to remember this remember that bones are good for your health.

3 translation: it is good

Remember the saying et cetera?

Well, it actually means and the rest. So

The Latin word et means and.

4 translation: It is good and new.

Another little word in Latin is quam.

Quam is as

5 translation: It is good as new.

Cool, we are getting more sophisticated now.

Latin for very is valde.

A good way to remember that is to imagine looking at a wall and saying: "Wow, this wall is very dead".

As we get past that, let’s learn another word.

Latin for but is sed.

Think of thinking: "But Sedna is not a planet...".

6 translation: It is very good but it is new.


The word for bad is malum.

The English word malady (a disease, an ailment) comes from the same root. Think: "Having a malady is bad".

7 translation: It is new but it is very bad.

Okay, we are more than half way through the first lesson.

Let’s talk negatives now. It is very easy to form negatives in Latin. You just use the word for not which is almost the same as in English and put it before the verb (in our next sentences, before the word is).

The word for not is non.

8 translation: It isn't new but it's good.

Did you know that according to the "Concise Oxford English Dictionary" the most frequently used noun in English is time? Well, it should be used in Latin too, shouldn’t it? So, let’s learn it.

Latin for time is tempus.

Think of time being temporal.

You can begin using the word immediately.

9 translation: Time is good.

Now I want you to do some guess work. (Remember Descartes to help you). It’s still okay if you don’t guess that one word in the next phrase, though.

10 translation: Time is not bad therefore it is good.

Easy peasy. We’re done for the first lesson.

Answers to Lesson 1

1 answer: id est
2 answer: id novum est
3 answer: id bonum est
4 answer: Id bonum et novum est.
5 answer: Id bonum quam novum est.
6 answer: Id valde bonum est, sed id novum est.
7 answer: Id novum est sed id valde malum est.
8 answer: Id novum non est sed id bonum est.
9 answer: Tempus bonum est.
10 answer: Tempus malum non est ergo id bonum est.