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Difference Between Latter and Former

‘Latter’ vs ‘Former’

Linguistics has three categories, namely; the study of language form and structure, language meaning, and language in context. The study of language form or structure is also called grammar which focuses on the rules that are followed by the speakers or listeners of a language.

These rules include the fields of morphology which is the formation and composition of words, syntax which is the formation and composition of phrases and sentences from words, and phonology which is the sound of words.

Grammar also includes phonetics which is the study of the physical properties of speech, semantics which studies the meaning of words, and pragmatics which is the study of how spoken words are used in communication.

Adjectives are used in the composition of phrases and sentences. They are used to qualify a noun or a pronoun and give more information about a subject. Most languages have adjectives including the English language.

There are several classifications of adjectives:

* Attributive adjectives, which precede the noun that they modify but depending on the adjective and its relationship to the noun, it can also follow the noun.
* Predicative adjectives, which are linked to the noun they modify by a linking mechanism.
* Absolute adjectives, which modify the noun or pronoun that they are nearest to.
* Nominal adjectives, which act as nouns.
* Descriptive adjectives, which describe the noun.
* Adjectives of quantity, which tell the quantity and value of the subject.
* Demonstrative adjectives, which point out particular things.

The words ‘latter’ and ‘former’ are adjectives, particularly demonstrative adjectives. They are determiners used to express or identify the relative position of a noun in time and space.

They refer to things that have already been named in a sentence, and they are usually used in formal language. They refer to things or people that have been previously mentioned and are now being cited in another sentence.

‘Former’ refers to the first of the two things or people that are mentioned previously while ‘latter’ refers to the second of the two things or people mentioned. ‘Former’ means ‘older,’ and ‘latter’ means ‘the most recent or the latest.’


1. May Belle and June Leah are both good singers, but the former is far better than the latter.
2. Zenia and Imelda are both her friends, but the latter is closer to her than the former.
3. The latter part of the 19th century brought many technological advances to mankind.
4. This mango is succulent and fresh. The former means the mango is juicy and delectable; the latter means that it is recently harvested.
5. We have harvested two batches of prawns. Although all of the prawns that we harvested met the quality standards of the importer, the former were larger than the latter.


1. Both ‘latter’ and ‘former’ are demonstrative adjectives. ‘Latter’ refers to the second of two things or people that are mentioned in a sentence while ‘former’ refers to the first of two things or people mentioned.
2. ‘Former’ means ‘older’ while ‘latter’ means ‘the latest or most recent.’


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