When it started, it simply allowed users to find drivers. There was no app for the latter.

Is it clear that "latter" refers to drivers?


How about now?

> XXXX is a popular app where a growth mindset paid off.

When it started, it simply allowed users to find drivers. There was no app for the latter.

->>> Is the usage of "latter" correct and clear in the above example?


'Latter' and 'former' are used when we are talking about two things. Here only one thing is being talked about. So 'latter' makes no sense.

  • 2 things: (1 - users) and (2 - drivers). So your answer is totally incorrect, I assume. – virolino Apr 24 '19 at 9:16
  • Thanks virolino...you are right. I got it wrong. – Prerna Krishna Apr 24 '19 at 12:39
  • XXXX is a popular app where a growth mindset paid off. When it started, it simply allowed users to find drivers. There was no app for the latter. ->>> Is the usage of "latter" correct and clear in the above example? – Abhinaya Apr 30 '19 at 5:30
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    @PrernaKrishna You did not get it wrong. The construction of the sentence has only one syntactical unit. It allowed users to find drivers. That's a single thing. It has six words and two nouns—but its not divisible into multiple things to which former and latter can apply. The usage of either of those adjectives with this construction is wrong. As you say, latter makes no sense. Meaning can be forced, but it's not natural. The boy put on his shoes. The latter were small. That, also, is possible to understand—but it's unnatural and inappropriate to use latter. – Jason Bassford Apr 30 '19 at 6:18
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    @Abhinaya.....'latter' cannot be used here. I give you some examples: (1) " I read the Ramayana and The Gita." Here we can use : But the latter is my favourite. (2) "He gifted you the Ramayana". Here we cannot use 'latter' for 'the Ramayana' and 'former' for 'you'. – Prerna Krishna Apr 30 '19 at 6:49

As you have started the sentence talking about one single app, "latter" wouldn't be suitable nor clear to be used for referring to drivers. However, it is possible to use it if you restructured your sentence like this for example:

It was planned to make an app for users to find drivers, and another app for drivers to serve the users. The former has been implemented while the latter hasn't been.


I have shown this to a native English speaker, he said that "latter" can refer to "drivers", but it would be poorly worded; otherwise, "latter" would refer to the whole meaning of the sentence which is allowing users to find drivers.


He responded after you have provided the previous context that it is still ambiguous, so he recommends you change it to be more explicit:

  • For real-world scenarios, where maximum clarity is important, you can state:

There was no app for drivers to find users.

  • However, if the goal of the writing is to sound impressive by using fancy vocabulary, then you could say:

There was no app for vice versa.

  • Alternatively, if you just want to be clear without using posh words and without mentioning Drivers or Users again explicitly, you could then write:

There was no app for the other way round.

which is also very clear but just sounds a bit basic.

  • You got it incorrectly. "Latter" refers to the drivers, not apps. – virolino Apr 24 '19 at 9:18
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    @virolino _ "latter" wouldn't be suitable since the start of the OP's sentence is about an app; therefore, it made it ambiguous to state that "latter" refers to "drivers" in another independent sentence. And, by addressing that issue, it doesn't mean "latter" now refers to that single app unless I have written that explicitly. – Tasneem ZH Apr 24 '19 at 9:53
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    +1 Allowed users to find drivers is a single phrase. There is no conjunction going on as there would be with I like apples and she likes oranges, which is formed of two distinct things—and does have a former and latter part. But with allowed users to find drivers, which is only a single thing, neither former nor latter has any meaningful reference—and, so, is inappropriate. Similarly, in I ate a piece of pie, it's simply not the case that I can be called a former subject and a piece of pie a latter subject. – Jason Bassford Apr 26 '19 at 0:08
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    @Abhinaya You haven't changed the issue that Jason Bassford raised--the fact that "allowed users to find drivers" is a single phrase, which can't be referred to as a former or latter. If you're trying to distinguish between the app's usefulness for two parties, the users and the drivers, why not say something like "When it started, it allowed users to find drivers, but had no function for drivers to find users." – Katy Apr 30 '19 at 5:42
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    @Abhinaya It needs to be clear that there is a former and a latter. Adding another random sentence doesn't help. It has to make sense in context. There were two groups of people: passengers and drivers. A popular app was designed for the former, but not for the latter. That makes sense. It clearly defines two groups of people, such that former and latter have obvious referents. – Jason Bassford Apr 30 '19 at 6:10

Yes, it is clear, 'latter' refers to drivers.

There was no app for the latter.

can be extended to:

There was no app to let the drivers (the latter) find users (the former).

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