2

Is there another pronoun following these ones? For example:

I have 3 brothers. The former; likes dancing, the latter; likes studying and the third one likes exercise.

Is it correct to use the pronoun "third" on speaking about more than 3 people at this kind of structures?

3
  • 3
    Former and latter normally refer to things you've written. I think you're looking for first and last, or oldest and youngest - these can refer to the individuals among the (unlisted) "3 brothers". Also, I think the semicolons should be removed from your example.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 12, 2017 at 16:08
  • 2
    You wouldn't use "former" and "latter" in the given context. You could use it if you had already listed the three brothers (e.g. " I have 3 brothers: Andy, Bob and Charlie."), but it would be unusual to use it when the number of items (brothers) is not two. If you did use it, then "latter" would refer to the last item in the list, not the second, so saying "third one" wouldn't make sense.
    – SteveES
    Apr 12, 2017 at 16:13
  • 1
    (I think the downvote makes no sense if unexplained.)
    – WRX
    Apr 12, 2017 at 16:21

1 Answer 1

2

You use the former and the latter when you are referring to two persons or things already mentioned. If you are referring to more than two persons or things, you can use the first and the last as follows:

I have three brothers: John, Phil, and Joe. The first likes dancing, the second likes studying, and the last (third) likes physical exercise.

2
  • In the particular case of referring to people (brothers etc.) I would use names. "I have 3 brothers: John likes dancing, Phil likes studying, and Joe likes to exercise" If you are telling someone about your family it would seem natural to use their names.
    – James K
    Apr 12, 2017 at 20:55
  • @JamesK, That's better.
    – Khan
    Apr 13, 2017 at 3:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .