One of my friends has recently explained the following. Would you please make this more tangible or clear? especially I am wonder if the bold parts could be correct.

For instance, "the two most recent of his previous books" or "the latest two of his previous books" would be clear. -·-·-

You might wonder why I put the word "two" before "most recent", but after "the latest". The answer is simply that the phrases seem to sound better (more natural) that way, just because of the rhythm of the syllables.



The bolded part of your question expresses an individual judgement, so no one but your friend can say if it's correct or not. :-)

However, to my ear both versions sound odd. I would go with "his two most recent books".

That's because

  • "recent" automatically puts the books in the past, so all "of his previous books" is redundant
  • generally "the X of Y" can be more comfortably expressed as simple possession

As a further note, the amplification of "recent" with "most" is interesting:

  • "His two recent books" implies that he published two books in quick succession not long ago & there may or may not have been other books previously
  • "His two most recent books" implies a long string of works, but the books of interest are the last two to be published, which may or may not have happened "recently". But in that case, it's simplest of all to say "His last two books".
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