“Ipso facto, I’m your boss…”

What does it mean?653047

Ipso facto is a New Latin term meaning ‘by the nature of the deed’ or ‘by the fact itself.’ It refers to something, for example a penalty, that is a direct consequence brought about by an action or offence. It is not commonly used in everyday speech, and is commonly thought of as ‘jargon’ in law, technology and science.


Ipso facto literally means ‘by that very fact.’ Sources conflict as to its first recorded use in the English language, but sources most commonly point to the mid-16th century. But it has appeared in famous literary works such as Christopher Marlowe’s Dr Faustus.

Improper Use

Ipso facto is sometimes misused, especially in the ‘blogosphere,’ in the place of ‘in fact’; this is understandable, but erroneous.

Proper Use

The term should only be used to describe something that is a direct result of a fact or action. Examples of use in a sentence include:

            ‘Bob turned up to band practise without his guitar, and ipso facto was kicked out.’
‘She talked about herself all the time. Ipso facto, no one liked speaking with her.’

Despite the usage above which were written for the purpose of example only, please keep in mind that ipso facto is still relatively uncommon in informal use.

In Toto… I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore

What does it mean?643040

The meaning of in toto is ‘totally’ or ‘as a whole.’ It is synonymous with ‘altogether.’


In toto comes from the Latin term ‘totus,’ meaning total.  The term in toto translates literally to ‘in total’ or ‘in entirety.’ Sources conflict as to its first recorded use in English; some claim it was in the 1600s, whilst others state it came into use in the 18th century.

Improper Use

In toto is sometimes erroneously written as en toto. Although ‘en’ does mean ‘in,’ spelling it this way isn’t considered acceptable in modern use.

Proper Use

In toto is generally used in a legal context, and hasn’t yet really found its way into everyday conversation. It is occasionally used outside of the legal profession, mostly in academic works or newspaper articles. Examples of use in a sentence include:

                        ‘Bob’s case was dismissed in toto.’
                        ‘The flood destroyed everything in the basement in toto.’

Any Subject et al.

What does it mean?758088

‘Et alia,’ arguably similar to ‘et cetera,’ means ‘and others.’ It is used to shorten a list of people or objects. ‘Et al’ is most commonly used in an academic context.


‘Et alia’ is a Latin term which literally means, as above, ‘and others.’ ‘Et alii’ is the masculine version of this term and ‘et aliae’ the feminine. For example, if your list consists of all males, technically speaking, you would be more likely to use the former, and females the latter. However, it is very rare to see this in use; the term is usually abbreviated to simply ‘et al.’ It first came into use as part of the English language in 1883.

Improper Use

‘Et al’ is not to be confused with ‘inter alia,’ a Latin term meaning ‘amongst other things.’ It is also not to be confused with ‘et cetera,’ although the terms may be construed as similar. See here for our Latin lesson on ‘et cetera.’

Proper Use

Some sources, such as MLA Guidelines, state that it is only acceptable for use when the list consists of a minimum of three people or items. ‘Et alia’ is usually written as the more common abbreviation ‘et al.’  Examples of use in a sentence are as follows.

‘Bob Bobbedo et al. state that Latin is good for you.’
‘Trent Strawberry et al. have pretty weird sounding names.’

As always, make sure you think clearly about what the term actually means in English before you use it.