Difference Between Later and Latter

Later vs Latter

There are many pairs of words in English language that are confusing because of their similarities. They are not homophones but may appear to be the same when coming from the mouth due to different accents. The words are also different in meaning but still make students confused which one to use in a particular context. One such pair of words is later and latter with people continuously making a mistake of using one in place of another. This article takes a closer look at the pair to highlight their differences so as to remove this confusion.


Later is a word that is used to refer to the time gap between two events as in something happening later than anticipated or expected. ‘Later’ means after or after some time (at least after than present). Take a look at the following examples.

• I will talk to you later

• She will join the group later

• He felt he was wrong later on

• I will explain it later

Later always refers to time and it means at some time after this moment.


If there are two items mentioned in a sentence, latter is used to refer to second of the two items, choices, alternatives, or options. Take a look at the following examples.

There have been two films made on this subject. One of them was released in 1980 and the second one in 1990. I like the latter more.

Former is the word used if the first choice is preferred while latter is reserved for the second choice or option.

• He played with caution in the latter part of his innings, whereas he was very aggressive in the former part of his innings.

• Sally and Helen are sisters with the former studying engineering while the latter is studying law.

Later vs Latter

• Later is used when referring to time whereas latter is used to refer to second of the two choices that have been mentioned in the sentence.

• Later is used when talking about something happening at a time after the present time.

• In some cases, latter is used to refer to the 2nd or the later part of a movie, novel, game or an event.