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Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

first, former, last, latter

Former and latter refer to only two things or persons.

  • Both Barbara and her mother had attended Sir Adam Beck Collegiate, the former in the 1960s and the latter in the 1930s.
  • If Nelida must choose between bankruptcy and repaying her student loans, I hope she opts for the latter.

For a group of more than two, use first and last to compare or to refer to two things or persons.

  • The YMCA-YWCA offers courses on sailboarding, dinghy sailing, canoeing and kayaking; however, the first and the last are not offered on weekends.
  • You will come to Richmond Street, Kootenay Avenue, Exhibition Boulevard and Airport Road. At the last of these, turn left.