Appearing To Be Smart Through The Use Of Latin


I like to appear smart. Even if it turns out I am not. It is a little quirk of mine. In case some of you also like to appear smart, here is a little trick to do so. It works surprisingly often. Just use Latin names for things that everyone knows. People seem to think knowing the Latin name for a concept shows an uncommonly strong understanding of it. I’m not really sure why. I hope that doesn’t mean I not smart.

One good Latin term to use is “modus ponens.” It is a logical operation, a rule that allows us to arrive at a conclusion (using the term “logical operation” can also make one look smart). Modus Ponens is perhaps the simplest and most useful latin nam’ed logical operation.

Here is a quick example of it:

1) If A then B
2) A
3) Therefore, B

Our friend modus ponens (and the first two statements) allow us to conclude that B is true. Modus Pones can be thought of as the fulfillment of an if-then statement. But, those variables are boring. So let’s look at another example of modus pones, this time with a real life situation.

1) If you are in a job interview and someone asks what the volume of your spleen is, then you don’t want the job.
2) You are in a job interview and someone just asked what the volume of your spleen is.
3) Therefore, get out of there now (you don’t want the job).

If you find yourself in a situation where someone has just pulled “the modus ponens” on you, don’t worry. There are some very effective ways to respond and still look smart. Almost all of the conceptual work in an argument that uses modes ponens is done by the if-then statement. Just challenge that.

Here is an example of a viable response:

“But, vampires throw the best parties and they always ask the volume of my spleen.”



  1. awef Says:

    this is hilarious. you are fantastic. i dont know who you are. i assume the rest of your site is just as hilarious, but if i went to it, i would feel less smart because your site is very smart. you’re so good. i guess that i should’nt see the rest of your site, or else i would feel very inferior due to your superior posts.

  2. thad Says:

    heh. 🙂
    Not looking at the site might be a good idea. For if you do, I fear it may not live up to your expectations. Sorry about that. I tried. On some of them.

  3. sminem Says:

    That is funny. I am going to tell my BFFL about this, because he loves to draw, especially stick figures.