9 Common Latin Words Used in Formal Writings You Should Learn

Common Latin Words Used in Writings

If someone says Latin is a dead language, they are totally wrong. It’s very obvious that no country speaks Latin as an official language any longer, but there are many words in the English language with Latin origins. There are also many example words with Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

Basically, Latin words, phrases, abbreviations, and expressions are part of everyday English, especially in domains such as law, business, and legal documents and issues. There are more likely to be used in formal writings.

This post presents to you the most common Latin words in English. If you learn these words and use them, your writing will definitely improve and sound more professional.

  1. Bona Fide

This word means genuine, real, unquestionable.


  • “Since my college professor has never been friendly to me, I was shocked when she gave me her bona fide advice on how I could succeed in engineering.”
  • “You are a bona fide member of the team now”.
  1. Ergo

This word means: therefore, so, consequently….etc.


  • “I have never been to London. Ergo, I cannot tell you about the museum and the panaroma.”
  • “Change from within will take so long. Ergo, change must come from outside”.
  1. Per se

This word means: In itself, intrinsically, or by itself to show you are referring to something on its own, rather than in connection with other things.


  • “My roommates and I were having a great time, but it really wasn’t a party per se.”
  • “This drug is not harmful per se, but it is dangerous when taken with alcohol”.
  1. Quid pro Quo

This word means a thing given in return for something else, usually of equal value.


  • They finally agreed on a quid pro quo exchange, in which we give them one million dollars to access the database of laboratory research.
  1. Status Quo

          This word means the situation of something as it is now or as it was before.


  • “The status quo of English has changed in the last decades”.
  1. A Priori
    This word means: based on hypothesis or theory, rather than experience. Derived by logic, with no observed facts.


  • “Although I have never been a bachelor myself, I of course know a priori that all bachelors are unmarried.”
  • You haven’t eaten anything all day. So I know a priori, that you are starving.
  1. Impromptu

          This word means: done spontaneously or without preparation. Something that catches you by surprise:


  • “My partner called an impromptu meeting today and I was totally unprepared.”
  • They often held impromptu meetings in their house.
  1. Ad hoc

    This word means: arranged or happening when necessary and not planned in advance.


  • “There will be an Ad hoc meeting to handle the recent misunderstandings and problems in the company”.
  • Meetings in this company are not regular. They will be held on an ad hoc
  1. Pro-Rata

    This word can be used as an adjective or adverb and it means: proportionally, in equal parts.


  • “Many people like to split the check pro rata so that they can order more than they would if paying the full price.”
  • “If costs go up, there will be a pro-rata increase in prices”

Hopefully, this post was helpful. There are many instances of Latin words and phrases you can use in English writing but these are the most common ones.

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