Wednesday, February 18, 2015

later/latter: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Except in the expression “latter-day” (modern), the word “latter” usually refers back to the last-mentioned of a set of alternatives. “We gave the kids a choice of a vacation in Paris, Rome, or Disney World. Of course the latter was their choice.” In other contexts not referring back to such a list, the word you want is “later.”

Conservatives prefer to reserve “latter” for the last-named of no more than two items.

This is the ten-year anniversary of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.

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