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In this example sentence, would "latter" be correct?

This writing focuses on Pissarro, Courbet, and Monet but we will direct our attention to the latter.

If not, what other phrasing could I use? Thanks!

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  • The sentence is contradictory too. Focusing means drawing the attention. You could say: "This writing discusses ..." Apr 7 at 19:26
  • @WeatherVane - Focussing (common spelling in British English) means directing the attention, doesn't it? As Cambridge Dictionary says - Meaning of focus in English - focus verb [I/T] - DIRECT ATTENTION) - to direct attention toward something or someone: Tonight’s program focuses on homelessness. Apr 7 at 19:35
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    Rule. Use latter to refer to the second of two persons or things that have been mentioned. When more than two have been mentioned, use last. Apr 7 at 19:38
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    This writing, no. This paper or this article focuses on a, b, and especially c.
    – Lambie
    Apr 7 at 20:45
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    @YosefBaskin Thank you, Yosef. :)
    – Lambie
    Apr 7 at 23:41

3 Answers 3

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You can spell it out,

direct our attention to the latter two.

Another form would be

direct our attention to the last two

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"Latter" would be used when discussing two elements on the list. I would use last instead of latter here.

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would "latter" be correct?

No. It is "last".

late (adj. - not used in this sense) - latter (comparative - usually, but not exclusively, of two) -> last (superlative).

The problem with "latter" is that when there are more than two things - as in your example, it can be taken to mean the last two.

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  • Some evidence would be good.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 7 at 22:18

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