All of my life I was expected to stand on my own. From the earliest days of childhood, I was encouraged to develop the skills and stamina to make it without help.
They usually appear as a pair but not always, and many readers find them confusing. In fact, they have near opposite meanings. When to Use Former When former is used in the sense of former vs. Former means being the first of two persons or things mentioned.
For example, I was accepted to Harvard and Yale for college. The former school had cheaper tuition. Adjective I was accepted to 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 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: You need to replace the tie-rod or the ball joint, the latter of which being more expensive.
A note to keep in mind when using the word latter is not to confuse it with the word ladder. Even though they sound somewhat similar when you say them out loudthey are very different.
A ladder is a device people climb up and down. As you can see, they are very different. In order to not confuse ladder and latter when you write, remember that latter is related to later.
Be Careful Using These Words You might be tempted to use former and latter with more than just two items, and although this tendency comes to the surface every now and then—even in respectable sources—it should be avoided.
There are three flavors in Neapolitan ice cream, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. The former is my favorite. The first of which is my favorite. CORRECT Additionally, When you use latter and former in your writing, be sure that they are in close proximity to their antecedents the people or items to which they are referring.
It is undesirable for the reader to go back and reread a passage because he forgot which one was the former and which one was the latter. Remember the Difference These two words are easy to keep track of if you can remember this one trick.
Former is the first word. Summary Former is the first of two mentioned things. Latter is the second of two mentioned things.About Karen Kelsky I am a former tenured professor at two institutions--University of Oregon and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
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