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I came up with these two: in the late time in the latter time

I write this in the comment to respond people.

If necessary I'll improve it in the latter time.

any problem? I think in the (near)future seems not good.

Any other writings?

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*If necessary I'll improve it in the latter time.

There are a few issues here, but let's start with prepositions. When it comes to time...

in is used when referring to a window of time inside of which an event will/did happen, or something that will be done at the end of a duration. (I met her in 2010, in the past we've allowed that, in a week I'll be going to Japan.)

at is used when indicating a single point in time, regardless of if it's specific, vague, or dependent. (I need to go at two thirty, I'll fix it at some point, he arrived at the same time she did.)

(on is also used, but only for specific days or dates -- She visited on the 12th, I went there on my birthday, it was delivered on Tuesday.)

So for this sentence, we need to use at rather than in (you're talking about a single point when you will fix it -- not the whole future in which you will fix it).

*If necessary I'll improve it at the latter time. (where * = native speakers don't say this!)

Next let's talk articles! The is used when talking about something specific, while a is used for a non-specific thing. (The boy I spoke to yesterday was very funny. I'm hungry, I wish I had a sandwich.)

Since the time when you'll improve it isn't already specified, you need to use a (the indefinite article).

*If necessary I'll improve it at a latter time. (where * = native speakers don't say this!)

The final issue is just a little vocabulary one (or maybe a spelling one). Later and Latter aren't the same thing! Later is the comparative form of late, and it's the adjective you're looking for.

(Latter means the second of two things already listed and is a noun. It is the opposite of former which would mean the first thing listed. "I read a play by Shakespeare and a book by Hemmingway. The latter bored me, but I found the former very enjoyable." This sentence means I found the book by Hemmingway boring, but the play by Shakespeare was very enjoyable.)

So later is the word we want.

If necessary I'll improve it at a later time.

The sentence is now 100% grammatically correct. Though, just so you know, there was nothing at all wrong with the other option you had in your question. ("If necessary I'll improve it in the future.")

  • Maybe it's just my display (or my eyes! :), but those asterisks in your "incorrect" examples aren't very distinctive, so I took the liberty of spelling it out. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 28 '13 at 17:49
  • You could also simply say, "I'll improve it later". As "later" refers to time, "a later time" is rather redundant, though people sometimes say it to sound more formal. – Jay Jun 28 '13 at 19:05
  • There are those who would say that "at a later time" is needlessly verbose, and that simply saying "later" is quite sufficient, if indeed any time-reference is even needed in the first place. – Hellion Jun 28 '13 at 19:06
  • @jay argh! you ninja'd me. – Hellion Jun 28 '13 at 19:06
  • Just to be contrary: You could say "the latter time" if you have just discussed two possible times. Like, "We could tune the engine the first time the customer brings it in for service, or we could be proactive and tune it before delivery. I think it would be better to do it at the latter time." I've deliberately phrased that sentence to make the later time and the latter time two different times. :-) I suspect many people would trip over such a sentence. – Jay Jul 2 '13 at 15:39

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