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latter

English translation: my take

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11:54 Mar 23, 2002
English to English translations [PRO]
General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / general
English term or phrase: latter
I seem to have read that you cannot say "latter", when there are more than two alternatives, but I am not sure if this is correct or not. The sentence I am working on is a translation from Spanish, and would be something like:

In accordance with this Agreement, FULANO undertakes to carry out all the necessary activities and work to supply, install and maintain the equipment (the latter when required by MENGANO)

OK, it needs a bit of work yet, but it means that they will always supply and install, but only maintain when required to do so - can I say LATTER, or should I put the when required bit in brackets after maintain - in that case, would it be understood as relating exclusively to the maintenance?

All help gratefully accepted, MJ
MJ Barber
Spain
Local time: 05:16
English translation:my take
Explanation:
MJ,

[b]Latter[/b] survives almost solely in [i]the latter[/i], which provides with [i]the former[/i] a pair of pronouns obviating disagreeable repetition of one or both of a pair of previously mentioned names or nouns.

But instances of misuse are:
1) [i]The latter[/i] should not be used when more than a pair are in question.
2) Neither should it be used when less than two are in question.

You should, therefore, rephrase your sentence to, perhaps: "FULANO to maintain the equipment only where required by MENGANO". It may seem too verbose but to comply with good style and to keep with the rules governing [b]latter[/b], I think you should write out the whole phrase.
Selected response from:

Marcus Malabad
Canada
Local time: 05:16
Grading comment
Thanks for confirming that I cannot use latter when speaking of more than a pair. I will have to play about with the sentence a bit.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5The second (or second mentioned) of twoJohn Kinory
4 +1my takeMarcus Malabad
4replace latter with (the last only when required by M)
swisstell


  

Answers


10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
The second (or second mentioned) of two


Explanation:
Thats is BE usage, and the dico definition.

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Note added at 2002-03-23 12:08:54 (GMT)
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If you put the \'required\' bit in brackets after \'maintain\', I would suggest saying \'this last when ...\', otherwise it may not be understood what it relates to; at least, there could be room for confustion.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-03-23 12:09:53 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

or: confusion :-)


    Collins
John Kinory
Local time: 04:16
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11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
my take


Explanation:
MJ,

[b]Latter[/b] survives almost solely in [i]the latter[/i], which provides with [i]the former[/i] a pair of pronouns obviating disagreeable repetition of one or both of a pair of previously mentioned names or nouns.

But instances of misuse are:
1) [i]The latter[/i] should not be used when more than a pair are in question.
2) Neither should it be used when less than two are in question.

You should, therefore, rephrase your sentence to, perhaps: "FULANO to maintain the equipment only where required by MENGANO". It may seem too verbose but to comply with good style and to keep with the rules governing [b]latter[/b], I think you should write out the whole phrase.


    Chicago Manual of Style (US)
    Fowler's Modern English Usage (UK)
Marcus Malabad
Canada
Local time: 05:16
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in TagalogTagalog
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thanks for confirming that I cannot use latter when speaking of more than a pair. I will have to play about with the sentence a bit.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tatiana Neroni: I agree, and not only from the grammatical point of view. "Latter" here should be substituted for a clear explanation of what will be done under the contract, just to avoid misunderstandings...
1 day14 hrs
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16 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
replace latter with (the last only when required by M)


Explanation:
and you get rid of all controversy and complications, provided you really mean to limit the maintenance to given cases.

swisstell
Italy
Local time: 05:16
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: German
PRO pts in category: 16
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