I have two dates like this:

first date = 01 January 2014

second date = 01 January 2013

I want to tell that the first date is always "greater" than the second date.

I am sure that "greater" is wrong in that context

So what should I say?

I tried this:

The first date is always most recent than the second date.

Is this right?


The first date is always more recent than the second

Sounds just fine, if you're sure it's true! (It is in this case, of course). In this type of situation, when you're looking for an adjective (comparative) to use, my advice is use the one most suited to the noun (thing) you're describing.

On face value, those are numbers in your example. But really, they're dates. Dates = time, so we need adjectives to refer to this concept of time.

Greater is for numbers (integers, fractions, etc).

You could explore avoiding an adjective altogether, for example:

The first date always comes before the second

Or, switching your order:

The second date always comes after the first. @JR

  • 1
    I was liking your answer so much until I reached the final sentence. I think "is longer ago" sounds way off. Why not "always comes after", and remain consistent with "always comes before"? – J.R. Feb 1 '14 at 12:25
  • Yeah, why not? I was just offering OP a different perspective on the sentence, so he could consider other options. – JMB Feb 1 '14 at 13:55
  • I just couldn't recommend "is longer ago". Not that the phrase is never used (it is), but, to me at least, it sounds like an awkward way to compare two dates. – J.R. Feb 1 '14 at 14:51
  • OK. I'm going to revise the last example. – JMB Feb 1 '14 at 14:57

I also like using "earlier" and "later" for dates. While they may seem more suited to time, they are often used with dates ("in earlier years", "at a later date", etc). A date is a record of time anyway.

When creating messages for exceptions or user validation and I need to specify that one date must precede or succeed another (also acceptable terms, I think) I often use "earlier" and/or "later", as in "The retirement date must be later than the birth date".

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