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The difference between Former and Latter


Hi, all you English enthusiasts,

Let me tell you a good way of not repeating the names of people and things in a Sentence.


This is a great way to omit repetition in your writing.

By definition, FORMER is the first of two things mentioned,

LATTER is the second of two things mentioned.

Their usage in a sentence essentially requires two items where Former is the first thing and the Latter is the second thing.

Keep in mind, LATTER is different from LATER.

In a list of things, the former is the first thing; the latter is the second thing which follows the first.



1. Let’s begin from the smallest particle, the atom.
Atom Diagram

An atom consists of protons and electrons; protons have a positive charge and the latter(electron) is negatively charged. Former(proton) remains inside the nucleus immobile and the latter(electron) revolves around it.


2. Current prime minister nullified the laws issued by the former.

Here “former” is the PM who was in power before the current one. “Former” PM also indicates he/she is not in power right now.

3. Shah Jahan is the son of Jahangir. The former built the TAJ MAHAL and the latter built the Shalimar Gardens.

Who is former and who is latter here?

Thus, its simple,

  • The order in which things are mentioned in the sentence determines former/latter.
  • FORMER is the First of two things.
  • LATTER is the second mentioned of two things.

Check yourself


Put (Former/Latter) appropriately

  1. My father offered me a hike in allowance or a car; I chose the ___ as I was in dire need of a vehicle.
  2. Ruby plays the drums and guitar. Tonight she will play the ___ since we already have a guitarist.
  3. I have croissants and sugar-free cookies, you can have the __ and send the __ to my bother as he is diabetic.
  4. John and Mary went to the cemetery, with the __ nervously clutching her purse.




  1. Latter
  2. Former
  3. Former, Latter
  4. Latter



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