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Later vs. Latter: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 9, 2023
"Later" refers to a subsequent time; "Latter" denotes the second of two mentioned things.

Key Differences

"Later" is an adjective or adverb that points to a time that follows the current moment. "Latter" is an adjective indicating the second of two items or options previously mentioned.
When someone says they will see you "later," they mean they will see you at a future time. When someone refers to the "latter" option, they are speaking about the second of two choices they've mentioned.
"Later" is commonly used in everyday conversations to signify something happening after the present time. "Latter," although also used frequently, often appears in contexts where a speaker or writer has listed two items and wants to reference the second.
If you're deciding between two movies to watch and choose the second one, you're picking the "latter" option. If you decide to watch that movie at a time subsequent to now, you're watching it "later."
Essentially, while "later" is all about timing, "latter" is about distinguishing between two mentioned subjects.

Comparison Chart


Pertaining to a subsequent time
Referring to the second of two things mentioned

Part of Speech

Adjective or Adverb

Common Usage

Time-related contexts
Distinguishing between two listed items

Position in Sequence

Does not define position
Always the second


Afterwards, subsequently
Last (when referencing two items)

Later and Latter Definitions


Later points to a subsequent event.
The sequel came out five years later.


Latter points to the end segment.
The project's success became apparent in the latter stages.


Later denotes a future time.
I will do my homework later.


Latter can denote the more recent of two periods.
She was more active in the latter half of her life.


Later signifies after the current moment.
She will arrive later than expected.


Latter distinguishes the second of two.
Between coffee and tea, I prefer the latter.


Later refers to the following part.
Find out what happens later in the story.


Latter differentiates between two subjects.
Among apples and oranges, the latter is citrus.


Later can mean in the near future.
We'll discuss this topic later.


Latter identifies the last mentioned.
In a comparison between cats and dogs, the latter are often seen as more loyal.


Subsequently; afterward. Often used with on
She arrived on the ferry, and he came later. He later felt that he was wrong. Later on, we watched a movie.


Being the second of two persons or things mentioned
Regarding captain and major, the latter rank is higher.


(Informal) Used to express goodbye.


Near or nearer to the end
The latter part of the book.


Afterward in time (used with than when comparing with another time).
My roommate arrived first. I arrived later.
I arrived later than my roommate.


Further advanced in time or sequence; later
A style that has been revived in latter times.


At some unspecified time in the future.
I wanted to do it now, but I’ll have to do it later.


The second of two persons or things mentioned.


Coming afterward in time (used with than when comparing with another time).
The Victorian era is a later period of English history than the Elizabethan era.


Relating to or being the second of two items.


Coming afterward in distance (following an antecedent distance as embedded within an adverbial phrase)
I felt some leg pain during the first mile of my run and I strained my calf two miles later .


Near (or nearer) to the end.


At some time in the future.
The meeting was adjourned to a later date.


In the past, but close (or closer) to the present time.


(slang) See you later; goodbye.
Later, dude.


Later; more recent; coming or happening after something else; - opposed to former; as, the former and latter rain.


A brick or tile.


Of two things, the one mentioned second.
The difference between reason and revelation, and in what sense the latter is superior.


Coming at a subsequent time or stage;
The future president entered college at the age of 16
Awaiting future actions on the bill
Later developments
Without ulterior argument


Recent; modern.
Hath not navigation discovered in these latter ages, whole nations at the bay of Soldania?


At or toward an end or late period or stage of development;
The late phase of feudalism
A later symptom of the disease
Later medical science could have saved the child


Last; latest; final.


Happening at a time subsequent to a reference time;
He apologized subsequently
He's going to the store but he'll be back here later
It didn't happen until afterward
Two hours after that


The second of two or the second mentioned of two;
Tom and Dick were both heroes but only the latter is remembered today


At some eventual time in the future;
By and by he'll understand
I'll see you later


Referring to the second of two things or persons mentioned (or the last one or ones of several);
In the latter case


Comparative of the adverb `late';
He stayed later than you did


Is "later" related to future events?

Yes, "later" refers to a subsequent time or event.

How do I use "later" in a sentence about time?

E.g., "I'll see you later."

What does "latter" specify in a list?

"Latter" specifies the second of two items mentioned.

Can "later" be used to describe past events?

Typically no, "later" usually denotes a time after the current moment.

Is "latter" used for a list of more than two items?

No, "latter" specifically refers to the second of two items.

Can "latter" refer to the end part of something?

Yes, like "the latter part of the year."

Does "latter" only refer to previously mentioned items?

Yes, "latter" denotes the second of two things previously discussed.

Can "latter" be a synonym for "last"?

Only when differentiating between two items; "latter" is the second of two.

Is "later" an adjective or adverb?

"Later" can function as both, depending on its use in a sentence.

If someone says "See you later!", when are they implying?

They're implying a future meeting or interaction.

How do I differentiate "later" and "latter" in usage?

Use "later" for time-related contexts and "latter" for distinguishing between two mentioned items.

Can "later" indicate the near future?

Yes, like "We'll talk later today."

In a choice between "apple" and "banana," which is the "latter"?

"Banana" is the "latter" choice.

How do I use "latter" to refer to two authors?

E.g., "Between Smith and Johnson, the latter wrote more books."

Does "later" always mean a long time after?

No, "later" can be used for short future intervals, like "later today."

Can "later" be synonymous with "afterwards"?

Yes, both can denote a time after a specific event.

Is "latter" ever used in the context of time?

Yes, in cases like "the latter half of the year."

Can "later" be used in comparative forms?

Yes, like "He arrived later than she did."

Is "latter" commonly used in English?

While "latter" is used in English, its usage is more specific than "later."

Can "latter" refer to the end stages of a project?

Yes, like "in the latter stages of development."
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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