日期:2018-07-08 13:32



From VOA Learning English, this is Words and Their Stories.

Many people say not enough Americans speak a foreign language. A contrario! (On the contrary!) Americans use many Latin phrases, sometimes without even knowing it. The fields of law and medicine are filled with Latin words. But people also use Latin words and phrases in everyday, spoken English.

One common Latin word is per se. Per se is used to show that something is considered by itself, alone and not along with other things. For example, let's say your boyfriend watches soccer every night at his friend's house. You could tell him that it's not his watching soccer that bothers you, per se. It's the fact that you never see him!

Speaking of a soccer, anyone who talks about one sports team versus another is using Latin too. Like good superhero films? They often use Latin when they talk about Good versus Evil. You often see versus written simply as "vs."

Et cetera is another Latin phrase that is more commonly written as "etc." Et cetera means there are others in a grouping, especially of the same kind. We often use the phrase to replace "and so on and so on." But people often mispronounce "et cetera." They say "eck-cetera." Now you know not to.

Caveat emptor is a phrase used in commerce, the buying and selling of stuff. It's also used in legal situations. Caveat emptor means "let the buyer beware." The person buying something is responsible for making sure it works properly. So, if you buy a broken car without testing to see if it actually runs, you have no one to blame but yourself.


Let's say a friend sells you a car that does not run. She may become persona non grata to you. Persona non grata is a person who is unwelcome. This phrase is used in legal situations as well as casual ones.

However, if someone makes you a bona fide deal on a car, you are probably getting a better deal. "Bona fide" is Latin for "good faith." A bone fide deal is made in an honest way.

You should still be careful though. If a friend does something for you -- like selling you a good car at a good price -- she may expect a quid pro quo. In other words, she may expect something in return. You might hear people say, "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours," which basically means the same thing. But the Latin phrase "quid pro quo" sounds a lot more professional.

In the movie "Silence of the Lambs," Jodie Foster's police officer character, named Clarice, agrees to a quid pro quo with the human-eating murderer, Dr. Hannibal Lector. She wants something from him. He wants something from her.

Dr. Lector: "Quid pro quo. I tell you things. You tell me things. Not about this case, though. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no? Yes or no, Clarice? Poor little Katherine is waiting."

Clarice: "Go, Doctor."

Personally, I would not agree to a quid pro quo with a man who eats people. But that's just me.

If you have a friend who feels a quid pro quo is the status quo, simply the way things are, you may want to find another friend. But if you are happy with the status quo, then you do not want the current situation to change.

So, now you can sound even smarter by using some of these common Latin terms in your everyday English. And that's the bona fide truth.

I'm Anna Matteo and that's it for this week's Words and Their Stories.


1.be filled with 充满
May your Christmas be filled with delight.

2.be responsible for 对...负责
Our client wanted to be responsible for testing the application.

3.scratch my back 你帮我
Yup, you know how it is: You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

4.be happy with 对...满意
So she chooses to be a researcher at a lab and is very happy with her work.



很多人都说很少有美国人讲外语。A contrario!(事实恰恰相反)。美国人使用很多拉丁短语,有时候甚至连自己都不知道。法律和药学领域中有很多拉丁语。但很多人在日常口语中也会使用很多拉丁的单词短语。

其中一个常见的拉丁单词就是per se。per se的意思是指某物本身,不与其他事物相联系。比如,假设你的男朋友每晚都在朋友住处看足球。你就可以告诉他,让你生气的不是他看足球这件事本身。问题在于你根本见不到他。


Et cetera是另一个拉丁短语,通常写作etc.。Et cetera意为一组中还有其他,尤其是同种事物。我们通常用该短语取代“and so on and so on”。但是人们经常发错音。他们经常将“et cetera.”错读为“eck-cetera.”。

Caveat emptor(货物出门,概不退还)常用于商业商品的买卖。此外还用于法律语境。Caveat emptor意为“购者自慎”。购物者将负责确保货物能正常工作。因此,如果没有检查车究竟能不能开而买了一辆坏车,那么你只能怪自己。

假如朋友卖给你一辆坏车。那么对你来说,她就是persona non grata。Persona non grata意为不受欢迎的人。该短语既可以用于法律语境,也可用于较为随意的场合。

但是,如果有人就汽车跟你做了一项“bona fide”交易,那意思就是你做成了一笔较好的交易。拉丁语“bona fide”意为真诚的。“Bone fide deal”意为以诚实的方式做成的交易。

但是你还是要小心一点。如果朋友为你做些事,比如以合理价格向你出售一辆好车,那么她可能期待一个交换条件(quid pro quo)。换句话说,她可能期待有所回报。或许你会听人们说:“你帮我,我就帮你”,这里指的是同一件事。但是拉丁短语“quid pro quo”听起来更加专业一点。