What does the choice of the latter mean

sentences & opposites: The former and the latter

Quite a few journalists see it differently, however. Insisting on their right to freedom of expression and not wanting to be dictated by anything or anyone, not even the language, they increase some relative connections into the inadmissible.

Andreas Schwarz writes in the "Kurier": "The chutzpah with which the People's Party campaigns is only surpassed by the helplessness with which (sic!) That the government partner and the opposition are doing (sic!). the Eurofighter. "

Herbert Lackner writes in "profil", looking back on the Waldheim affair, in particular on the role played by Hans Pusch, the adviser to Federal Chancellor Fred Sinowatz, and the UPI correspondent James Dorsey: "Pusch served Dorsey a Waldheim story, but the latter didn't bite."

Jens Flottau writes in the "Zeit" about the revision of the Airbus long-haul jet A350: "According to recent speculation, the aircraft will get exactly what Hazy (the head of the powerful leasing company ILFC) asked for: new wings, more powerful engines - and a wider fuselage. The latter, in particular, would cost money."

In the first case, instead of "the latter" these , in the other two cases instead of "the latter" this - and it’s right. In each of these cases the question arises as to what the respective journalist might have thought when he resorted to the comparative "latter", which is so popular in his circles? Apparently nothing. In the end, shouldn't he even know that the last thing cannot be increased? Then he will find nothing wrong with a "primary" obligation or the "most secondary" condition, and perhaps even put such a nonsensical phrase in his newspaper. And undoubtedly nonetheless. Because if you lack a feeling for language, you can use it wherever one is available, without hesitation to the fashionable phrase.

"The latter" is a linguistic stray, but not a loner. He likes to appear together with "the former", thus forming a failed couple. Sample set: father and son planned the attack together; the former procured the weapon, the latter used it. (Correct: the one procured..., The other used.)

"The former" and "the latter" are the messed up rudiments of a flexible numeral group with the help of which larger quantities or groups can be defined more precisely. Sample set: The first wears a blue skirt, the second a green, the fourteenth a red cap, the twenty-third a yellow hat, the penultimate responsibility. (For Schwarz, Lackner and Flottau it would read like this: the former... The latter... The fourteenth.. The twenty-third... The penultimate.)

Since Karl Kraus at the latest, we have known that journalists, although they make a living from writing, find it difficult to use the language properly. But not only the former! This year, the German lyric poet and essayist Durs Grünbein was awarded the Berlin Literature Prize worth 30.00 euros; On this occasion, the excellent writer gave an acceptance speech in which it says at one point: "You can't get well in Berlin," Ernst Jünger wrote to Gottfried Benn in the 1950s. Only, the latter could no longer agree with him because he had long been terminally ill when the comrade tip reached him. "

Poets who use the word "latter" are the last.