I wrote this sentence:

The data is deleted by comparing it with the open timestamp. This means that some of the data whose close timestamp is later than the input time can be kept.

In the sentence, I want to express that the data with a timestamp greater than the input timestamp can be kept. But I feel bit awkward using 'later' in the sentence. Is the sentence idiomatic?

  • I think it reads well, except a little bit of editing, like "The data is deleted after comparing it with the open timestamp. This means some data having timestamp later than the input stamp can be kept."
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 2:28

2 Answers 2


I think the word "later" works in that sentence. But the sentence is confusing, because you've mentioned "open timestamp", "close timestamp", "input time", "input timestamp", and just "timestamp".
That's five different expressions that seem to relate to time. It might be good to simplify it as much as possible.

You've also said the data is deleted by comparing it. You probably would delete it based on the result of a comparison, but not by comparing it.

Maybe, "The data is deleted if its timestamp is earlier than the input time, and retained if it is later than the input time."

You might also use the words "older" and "newer".


You can compare two times with earlier/later, before/after or older/newer.

Greater/less doesn’t work to compare times in normal English, but in a programming context where time is typically represented as an integer, using greater/less is technically valid too.

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