Can I say a later bus? Or should I say a latter bus? For example I was in a hurry to catch a ... bus to the city centre.

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    1) we do not do your homework for you. 2) please visit ell.stackexchange.com – mplungjan Jun 23 '14 at 7:56
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about homework – mplungjan Jun 23 '14 at 7:57
  • This actually might make a good question, but as it is constructed it appears you are unwilling to make any effort to understand or learn. You are treating the site as a mere machine, when you punch in the question and expect an automatic response. EL&U does not work like this. Please view the help centre for tips on how to ask better questions – Mari-Lou A Jun 23 '14 at 8:07
  • Ooh, that is better! But please check your spelling. Differences and the pronoun, I, is always capitalized. – Mari-Lou A Jun 23 '14 at 8:08

Yes there are.

When using a list of items you can say the former and latter ONLY if that list comprises TWO items. Do not use A, B and C, of which the latter, as that is not grammatical.

When using a list of two items, "I am thinking about cooking and ordering food, but I already decided to do the latter." then it is grammatical to use the word "latter". The same applies to former. (Source: The blue book of grammar 11th edition by Jane Straus, page 95, confusing words and homonyms. The exact example in the book is this, "He offered a trip to New York, Chicago, or Tarzana. She chose the latter. Oh no she didn't. Latter can't be used when there are three (or more) options. It applies only to sentences like 'He offered a trip to New York or Tarzana, which makes New York the former, Tarzana the latter.' When there are more than two people or things mentioned, use last

Your question asks about "later" as well. Later means more time has passed, this has nothing to do with the others (semantically speaking), but the spelling and phonetics of the word are very similar; therefore, the category confusing words and homonyms applies perfectly. It is a confusion based on how the word sounds and is written down, but the meaning of the words latter and later differ, the for latter meaning time and the former meaning something out of my two part list.


You certainly can say "a later bus." To say "a latter bus" would be incorrect, unless there were only two and you were indicating you were going to take the later, latter and last one.

  • No, the latter bus could be correct if you had previously mentioned two. I can't offhand think of any correct use for a latter bus. – Tim Lymington Jun 23 '14 at 15:33
  • Thus my conditional "unless...." – user8356 Sep 5 '14 at 20:03

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