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  1. #1
    kachibi is offline Member
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    Default The former, the latter

    Talking about my office, there are people I feel comfortable with and some/others I don't. Peter, Tom and Mary are the former, Judy and John are the latter.

    I wonder is this expression natural/ common among native speakers? If not, can anyone suggest alternatives?

    If it sounds alright, I also want to know if the comma is correct to be placed between the 2 sentences.

    Thanks a lot.
    Last edited by kachibi; 29-Jan-2012 at 09:24.

  2. #2
    kachibi is offline Member
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    Default Re: The former, the latter

    P.S. I also want to know how to introduce people that are "neutral": not really comfortable but not yet uncomfortable. So, it will be like:

    "There are people I feel comfortable with and some I don't. Mary and Peter are the former, while Tom and Betty are the latter. Janice is neutral....

    Hope someone can answer my questions one by one :)

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: The former, the latter

    Quote Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    Talking about my office, there are people I feel comfortable with and some/others I don't. Peter, Tom and Mary are the former, Judy and John are the latter.

    I wonder is this expression natural/ common among native speakers? If not, can anyone suggest alternatives?

    If it sounds alright, I also want to know if the comma is correct to be placed between the 2 sentences.

    Thanks a lot.
    Using former and latter is common, but it's a little unusual in your context. We normally use it to refer back to two nouns we've already mentioned and then say something else about them.

    With your specific sentence, I would say:

    In my office, there are people I feel comfortable with and others I don't. Peter, Tom and Mary fall into the former category, and Judy and John the latter.

    If there were only two other members of staff, then you would say something like:

    I work with Peter and Judy. The former I feel comfortable with, the latter I don't.

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: The former, the latter

    Quote Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    P.S. I also want to know how to introduce people that are "neutral": not really comfortable but not yet uncomfortable. So, it will be like:

    "There are people I feel comfortable with and some I don't. Mary and Peter are the former, while Tom and Betty are the latter. Janice is neutral....

    Hope someone can answer my questions one by one :)
    If you describe someone as neutral, you're saying that that person doesn't have any particular opinion or feeling about something or someone, not describing how you feel about them.

    You could say something like "I'm fairly neutral about Janice" or "I don't feel either way about Janice".

  5. #5
    kachibi is offline Member
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    Default Re: The former, the latter

    Thanks a lot Emsr2d2!

    A follow-up question:

    1) "We normally use it to refer back to two nouns we've already mentioned and then say something else about them."<< You mean to use "the former and latter" requires two clearly mentioned nouns beforehand? And "feel comfortable..and some/others I don't" does not contain any nouns (only abstract adjectives describing two situations), so "the former and latter" cannot be correctly used here. And so you later used "category" this word to make the abstract concept a noun. Am I right here?

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: The former, the latter

    Quote Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    Thanks a lot Emsr2d2!

    A follow-up question:

    1) "We normally use it to refer back to two nouns we've already mentioned and then say something else about them."<< You mean to use "the former and latter" requires two clearly mentioned nouns beforehand? And "feel comfortable..and some/others I don't" does not contain any nouns (only abstract adjectives describing two situations), so "the former and latter" cannot be correctly used here. And so you later used "category" this word to make the abstract concept a noun. Am I right here?
    Yes. Exactly!

    Those two categories are now "People I feel comfortable with" and "People I don't feel comfortable with".

  7. #7
    kachibi is offline Member
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    Default Re: The former, the latter

    thanks

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