What is the “status quo” and how is this expression to be used correctly?


The phrase “Status Quo” sounds quite often. Some people generally associate it with the name of a rock band, whose hit “You are in the army now” has already become a musical classic. A fashionable and mysterious sounding phrase, of course, appeared long ago. And it is not always used appropriately, simply not understanding the original meaning or distorting it. What is the status quo, when and how best to use these words.

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The phrase itself is an abbreviation of the Latin status quo ante bellum, which literally means “the situation before the war.” The term was actively used by diplomats back in the XIV century, when the wars in Europe did not subside. But today these words are used without being applied to military operations, and their direct meaning is return to original state… And the term “status quo” is already being used not so much by the military as by lawyers. In international practice, they say this about a certain legal or factual state of affairs existing at some point, which needs to be preserved or returned to it. In politics, the status quo can also mean some kind of uncertainty that makes it impossible to form an official status. People or countries may see changes in some area as mutually undesirable, fearing that the scales may risk tipping in the wrong direction. However, this term is used not only by lawyers and politicians, but also by psychologists and economists.

How to use the phrase “status quo” correctly in colloquial speech, and how to write it correctly? For example, it would be appropriate to say that someone romantically courted a girl for a long time, but did not dare to violate the status quo by offering to live together. It is not entirely clear whether the words should be written separately or with a hyphen. In modern dictionaries, the use of a hyphen is recommended, whereas a different practice was established in the past. And the gender of the word is ambiguous – it can be both masculine and average. You can’t go wrong if you say “continued status quo” or “continued status quo”. But this word cannot be declined, in all cases it will sound the same. If someone says “doubted the status quo,” it would be a gross mistake. You can only doubt the status quo.

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