Difference Between Latter and Former

Adjectives are an integrated part of not just English but any language around the world. All languages comprise specific rules and regulations that are important for proper and convenient communication. If one needs to learn a language nicely, they will need to understand all its aspects, whether big or small.


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Latter vs Former

The difference between Latter and Former is that Latter indicates or refers to the second element while talking about two things while Former refers to the first element. Former and Latter are used to indicate the things that have already been named before in a text or speech sentence.

Latter vs Former

Latter is a demonstrative adjective. It is used to indicate the second of two things conveniently. The two things have already been named in the past, and therefore to avoid using its name, again and again, the adjective ‘latter’ is used in its place. The repetitive use of a word can make a sentence sound monotonous.

Former is also a demonstrative adjective. It is used in the English language in order to indicate the first of two things. Since when we use a particular word, again and again, it starts to feel a bit boring and uneasy, the demonstrative adjective – Former, beautifully helps in making the text or speech much more alluring.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLatterFormer
DefinitionLatter is used to indicating the second of two elements.Former is used to indicate the first of two elements.
OriginLatter has its origins in Old English.Former has its origins in Pro-Indo-European.
SynonymSecond, after, end, last are some synonyms of Latter.First, before, erstwhile, are some synonyms of Former.
Derived termLattermost is one of the derived terms of Latter.Fifth former, fourth former are some of the derived terms of Former.
ExampleRed and White both are chosen, but the latter is good in my opinion.Riya and Shina both participated in the race, but the former won it.

What is Latter?

Latter is an adjective, more precisely, a demonstrative adjective. Adjectives are an essential part of English, but all the languages are spoken around the world. They help in beautifying as well as simplifying the use of words. And in order to learn a language in a wholesome manner, one definitely needs to understand the grammar.

Latter is used to refer to the second of the two elements which are being talked about. These two elements should not be unnamed. The names of the two things in context must be previously mentioned in the text, speech, etc. The word ‘Latter’ in place of the name itself of the second element is used in order to make the sentence easier to understand and convenient to describe. 

The word ‘Latter’ finds its origins in Old English. It is one of the words which doesn’t originate from any other language but English only. Some of its synonyms are – second, last, end, etc. Even some words are a derivative of the phrase Latter, like ‘lattermost.’ We use it in everyday sentences; for example, – Rohan and Ali wanted to participate in a chess championship, but only the latter got selected.

What is Former?

Former is a very commonly used adjective in the English language. If we take a deeper look at grammar, it is found that ‘Former’ is a demonstrative type of adjective, too, just like Latter. Adjectives are widely used in any language, be it English, German, Hebrew, or any other. The former is used to indicate the first of two things that are being discussed. However, it is necessary that the two things were named correctly before in the text.

To understand their importance, let us have a look at the following two sentences: ‘Aditi and Emily are the brightest students in class but Aditi was chosen as the class monitor.’ Now, if we replace the second usage of Aditi with the adjective ‘Former,’ the sentence goes like this – ‘Aditi and Emily are the brightest students in class but the former was chosen as the class monitor.’ The second sentence clearly sounds much more well structured than the first one, and that clears out why and how adjectives are needed and used.

The word ‘Former’ originates from Pro-Indo-European. It hasn’t been resolved that exactly which language was majorly responsible for the selection of the word. Erstwhile, first, before, are some synonyms of ‘Former.’ 

Main Differences Between Latter and Former

  1. Latter indicates the second appearing of two words, while Former indicates the first appearing of two words.
  2. Latter has its origins in Old English, whereas Former originates from a blend of Pro-Indo-European.
  3. Latter has synonyms – second, end, last, after, etc. Former has synonyms – first, before, etc. 
  4. Latter has a derivative term ‘ lattermost ‘ which is commonly used even more than Latter itself. Former can have derivative words like third former, fifth former, etc., but these aren’t really used that commonly by people.
  5. Example for usage of the word Latter – Strawberry and Blueberry cakes were ordered, and I liked the Latter more. Example for usage of the word Former – T-shirts and shirts both were available, but he preferred the former one.
Difference Between Latter and Former


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0959354398083001
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0962280217740609
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