Former

If you’re in school or reading any type of academic prose, you have sầu mostly likely seen these two words in some of your assigned readings. They usually appear as a pair but not always, & many readers find them confusing.

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Once you know how lớn use these two words, they aren’t confusing at all. In fact, they have near opposite meanings. In today’s post, I want to lớn go over the meanings of both of these words, the functions in a sentence, và how to best use them in your future writings.

When lớn Use Former

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When former is used in the sense of former vs. latter, it is either acting as an adjective or as a noun. Former means being the first of two persons or things mentioned. For example,

I was accepted to Harvard & Yale for college. The former school had cheaper tuition. (Adjective)I was accepted lớn Harvard and Yale for college, but the former had cheaper tuition. (Noun)

When to Use Latter

Just as former can function as both an adjective sầu and noun, so can latter.


Latter means being the second of two persons or things mentioned. It comes from the comparative form of Old English laet: laetra, which meant “slower.” Latter subsequently took on the meaning “the second of two people or things.” For example,

We went to the beach with Steve and Susie, the latter of whom would not stop complaining.You need khổng lồ replace the tie-rod or the ball joint, the latter of which being more expensive sầu.

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A note khổng lồ keep in mind when using the word latter is not khổng lồ confuse it with the word ladder. Even though they sound somewhat similar when you say them out loud, they are very different. A ladder is a device people climb up & down.


As you can see, they are very different. In order to lớn not confuse ladder and latter when you write, rethành viên that latter is related to lớn later. Both have sầu “T’s” in them.

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Be Careful Using These Words

You might be tempted to lớn use former & latter with more than just two items, & although this tendency comes to the surface every now & then—even in respectable sources—it should be avoided.

There are three flavors in Neapolitung ice cream, vanilla, chocolate, và strawberry. The former is my favorite. (WRONG)

There are much cleaner and easier ways to lớn convey the same message without confusing people.


There are three flavors in Neapolirã ice cream, vanilla, chocolate, & strawberry. The first of which is my favorite. (CORRECT)

Additionally, When you use latter and former in your writing, be sure that they are in cthua kém proximity khổng lồ their antecedents (the people or items khổng lồ which they are referring). It is undesirable for the reader khổng lồ go baông chồng và reread a passage because he forgot which one was the former và which one was the latter. It’s best to lớn keep them as cthua kém as possible.

Rethành viên the Difference

These two words are easy lớn keep track of if you can rethành viên this one triông xã.

Former is the first word. Both former and first start with the letter “F.”

Latter is the last word. Both latter and last start with the letter “L.” You can also remember that latter comes later than does former.