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Latin/Translation query


Hello Maria

I wonder, might you be able to translate this phrase for me? It's for a story I'm writing.

The phrase is: "the future is not written".

The online translation generators are telling me that the Latin translation of this phrase is "Posterous est non scriptum". But I'm not sure whether that's the correct word order...

Many, many thanks!

Kind regards


"The future is not written" can be translated correctly as “Futurum scriptum non est” or  “Scriptum non est futurum”as well as "Futurum est non scriptum" with a different word order which in Latin can be variable (Read more below).

As for “Posterous est non scriptum", I’m sorry, but it is wrong because “posterous” does not exist in Latin where there is the neuter singular “posterum” used as an adverb in the expression “in posterum” meaning “for the future”. Also, there is the neuter plural “postera” used as a noun only in the meaning of “posterity”, “descendants”, “coming generations”.

Lastly, I’d like to point out that in Latin you could also say “Ignotum est futurum” meaning: “The future is unknown”, if you want to emphasize that we do not know our future, while “Futurum scriptum non est” or “Scriptum non est futurum” state that the future is not written and thus we can modify it.

Hope this is clear enough.

Best regards,
Note that:

-The future = FUTURUM (subject in the nominative neuter singular)

-is not written =SCRIPTUM NON EST (past tense, passive voice of the verb SCRIBO= I write).

Latin word order can be variable because Latin is an inflected language  where synctatical relationships are indicated by the ending, not by the order of the words.

In short, word order in Latin differs from languages like English because a reader or listener who knows Latin grammar  and syntax can  easily discern the case of a word or the mood and tense of a verb.
Therefore it is not necessary to adhere to a strictly defined order.

For example, the meaning of "Man bites dog, and "Dog bites man" is determined by the word order, of course, while in Latin you can say :“Canis virum mordet”, “Virum mordet canis”, “Mordet canis virum” (all meaning “Dog bites man”), since “virum” (=man) is always an accusative case, i.e. a direct object; “mordet” (= bites) is always the 3rd.person singular,present indicative of the verb “mordeo” and finally “canis” (=dog) must be a nominative case, i.e. the subject of the sentence.  


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