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What’s the Difference Between Former and Latter?

By | source:Here Apr 15th, 2023

If you’re comfortable with the words former and latter, then you know that both are often used in a sentence to refer to two things. For example: “There were three former Presidents on stage.” This sentence describes three people who used to be president of their country. But what’s the difference between these two words? And when should you use each one? If this question has ever crossed your mind, we’ve got answers for you.


Former is a word that refers to the first of two things. It’s also used to describe someone who has been in a position before, or something that was previously used. The former president of the United States was Barack Obama, and he served from 2009-2017. The former prime minister of Canada was Stephen Harper (2006-2015). The mayor of New York City is Bill de Blasio; he took office on January 1st 2014 after winning election in 2013 by defeating Joe Lhota who had been appointed interim mayor after Michael Bloomberg left office at midnight on December 31st 2013 due to term limits laws which prevented him from running again for re-election as mayor


The word latter is used to refer to the second of two things, people, places or things.

  • The latter of two people: “John and Mary are both here.”
  • The latter of two places: “I live in the city but my brother lives in the suburbs.”
  • The latter of two actions: “You should go now; I’ll see you later (at another time).”

When to Use ‘Former’ and ‘Latter’

Use former to refer to the first of two people or things. For example:

  • I’m going to visit my former boss on Friday.
  • The company has been acquired by a larger firm, its former owner having sold it some years ago.
  • If you want someone who is more experienced, we recommend hiring our latter employee instead of this one who has only been working here for three months (and his resume says he has no experience).
  • Note that when using “former” and “latter,” there must always be an apostrophe at the end!

The words former and latter have similar meanings but have slightly different uses.

The words former and latter have similar meanings but have slightly different uses. Former is an adjective that describes something that came before something else, such as “the former president” or “the former king.” For example:

  • The first president was George Washington; his successor was John Adams. The second president was thus a man named Thomas Jefferson (and not George Washington).
  • If you want to talk about kings who ruled after William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066, use this phrase: “after William The Conqueror invaded England in 1066.” This means there were no other kings before him!

The words former and latter have similar meanings but have slightly different uses. Former is used to describe something that was before another thing in time or order, while latter refers to something that comes after something else. For example, if you were talking about the presidents of the United States, George Washington would be considered the first president (former) and Barack Obama would be considered the 44th president (latter).