Using foreign words - Latin

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,093 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 2017 in Vocabulary

Foreign words in English that you need to know.

English has taken words from almost every language that it has encountered. Here are some words that are originally Latin which you might read or hear on an exam:

Etc.  This means literally, 'et cetera'; in English, 'and more, and other things'. It is usually placed at the end of a clause or a sentence to show that the sentence could continue. 

  • Example: The company is involved in every aspect of the textile industry, from growing the cotton to the mills to the fabrication of garments, etc.

i.e., This is an abbreviation for 'id est', in English, 'that is'. 

  • Example: All meetings will be held in the normal location during the renovation work, i.e., the Mascot Meeting Room.  
e.g., This abbreviation means 'exempli gratia', in English, 'to give an example'.

  • Example: The new face cream aims to resolve skin problems in aging women, e.g., age spots and wrinkles.

quid pro quo This phrase means 'something for something', or 'an equal exchange'.  

  • Example: The agreement was a quid pro quo, the departing CEO kept her stock options and salary in exchange for complete silence around the reason for her departure.

Per se This short phrase means 'of and by itself'. 

  • ExampleThe new law is not complicated per se, but it still might confuse some people.

A priori This phrase means 'without proof, without analysis'. 

  • Example: A priori, the plan looks promising, but the government still wants to investigate its effects on the environment. 

Ad hoc This means 'for this purpose' and is usually used for something created to meet a specific need. 

  • Example: An ad hoc committee will be formed to decide how the company should spend its unexpected tax refund.


NOTE: We do not recommend that you use abbreviations in your formal writing!  Avoid using 'etc' when you should provide the extra items in a list, as in the following example:

There are jobs which require certain types of clothing - e.g. School children , Army official, etc .

It is much more suitable to write the sentence like this:

There are jobs which require certain types of clothing. For example, uniforms for school children and army personnel, nurses and other health professionals.


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