Former and Latter

First and second. That’s all it means, in that order, always.

Anytime I see “the former” or “the latter” in a piece of writing, my focus changes from the content to the composition; I have to go back to the former and latter listed subjects and remind myself which comes first, which second. It’s rather annoying.

As much as I’m complaining, I do appreciate the efficiency of using former or latter as opposed to “the first [thing]” or “the second thing.” AND it’s fancy sounding!