I always get these adjectives and determiners confused as regards their use and shades of meaning. Let's take a structure meaning “in the last few years”. Would it be right to use any of the following possibilities for conveying that meaning?

  • With LAST: In the/these LAST years.

  • With LATE: In the/these LATE years. Is this a synonym for the previous sentence or even correct? Does it convey the same meaning? What about LATER?

  • With LATTER: In the/these LATTER years. ¿?¿?

I hope someone can clarify this question to me, and forgive me if something about this is too obvious: I’m a Spanish speaker trying to figure out some nuances of grammar and meaning in English that are answered by consulting English or bilingual dictionaries, which have too many options, or by automatic machine translations, which erase all trace of fine nuance.

  • What research can you show ther, please, Gino? Did you notice, none of the examples you posted was a sentence? Apr 4, 2018 at 21:25
  • My research was made through a couple of dictionaries which weren't able to clarify my doubt, that's why I come here asking. And yes, I can tell a sentence from a different structure (prepositional phrases here), but I didn't know I am expected to write sentences in order to ask something ¿?¿? And actually that was not even my original question, since it was edited by someone and the last part is not even something I wanted to say.
    – Gino C
    Apr 7, 2018 at 0:40
  • Sorry, Gino. The idea is not that state some research was done but that you show your research, and why it left things unanswered. I'm sorry someone changed your Question. Did you have an opportunity to mention that? Did anyone else have any means of knowing that? Either way, if you’d provided examples of complete sentences, wouldn’t everyone be sure what you were talking about? More… Apr 7, 2018 at 19:06
  • “With LAST : In the/these LAST years” is a fragment such as yes, you might find in a dictionary. It isn’t a complete part of anything useful, such as you might discuss “live” with a "real" person in any language. It’s also not comparable to the original example, but it’s very hard to discuss any details in the format you chose, and would be much easier if you’d provided either a complete sentence, or your original research, let alone both. Apr 7, 2018 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


The term late is an adjective and has got two forms in terms of "time and order"

Late (time) –>later –>latest
Late (order) –>latter –>last

When it is a matter of time it suggests the point in time e.g., “The latest discoveries (the most recent discoveries) of genome has startled the world” as compared to "later" (before the latest discoveries) “…in the same domain, nonetheless, research started "late" in the 19th century.”

When it is a matter of order it suggests the position e.g., “George had a heated argument with Smith which resulted in physical clash, but latter (Smith) ran off in last”

Hope it will help you

  • All quite good until the last example, but latter (Smith) ran off in last is confusing. N.B late, latter, time, order should not be capitalized
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 25, 2018 at 10:04

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