# Thread: 2 former or former 2?

1. ## 2 former or former 2?

Do we say "the 2 former presidents..." or "the former 2 presidents..."? Likewise "the above-mentioned 3 books..." Is there any rule?

2. ## Re: 2 former or former 2?

According to The Royal Order of Adjectives, 'two' should be before 'former'.

Not a teacher.

3. ## Re: 2 former or former 2?

I agree with Matthew.

Also, by analogy: 'the three above-mentioned books'.

(We normally write numerals under 10 as words.)

4. ## Re: 2 former or former 2?

Originally Posted by Matthew Wai
According to The Royal Order of Adjectives, 'two' should be before 'former'.
Yes, though there is not a column for number. One example appears under determiners, but what if you already have a determiner, as you do in "the two former presidents"?
Let me offer a counterexample: "The last two presidents..." I would not say, "the two last presidents...". Is there much difference between 'former' and 'last'? I don't think so. I think you can change the word order here if necessary for emphasis of one word or the other.

5. ## Re: 2 former or former 2?

Originally Posted by Raymott
Is there much difference between 'former' and 'last'?
I found a difference: 'last' can be used as a determiner but 'former' cannot.

Not a teacher.

6. ## Re: 2 former or former 2?

Yes, good thinking. It can be a determiner as in "Last night ..." But not "Last two nights ..."
In any case, I am not offended by "the former two presidents" - that is to say, by the word order.

7. ## Re: 2 former or former 2?

I was wondering what "royal" had to do with presidents for a second.

Anyway, I would interpret "the former two presidents" and "the two former presidents" differently in some cases.

I would say that George W Bush and Bill Clinton were the former two presidents. It says something about order and being the president most recently.

Now, you could say that Ronald Reagan and Herbert Hoover are two former presidents.

#### Posting Permissions

• You may not post new threads
• You may not post replies
• You may not post attachments
• You may not edit your posts
•