Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 10: 3/20


The former ~ the latter, The first ~ the second


前者(ぜんしゃ) + (Comment)
後者(こうしゃ) + (Comment) 


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About 前者は・後者は

Used in almost exactly the same way as 'the former' and 'the latter' in English, 前者(ぜんしゃ) and 後者(こうしゃ) are two nouns that appear frequently in Japanese. The adverbial particle は will appear after these words, to express contrast between the two.
前者(ぜんしゃ) will be used for 'the former', while 後者(こうしゃ) will represent 'the latter'. Both 前者(ぜんしゃ) and 後者(こうしゃ) appear at the beginning of their own statements, with a specific comment about each being made after は.
  • どの大学(だいがく)()(まよ)ています前者(ぜんしゃ)(いえ)(ちか)学費(がくひ)(たか)い、後者(こうしゃ)(いえ)から(とお)学費(がくひ)半分(はんぶん)ぐらい(やす)い。
    I am undecided on which college to go to. The former is close to my house, but the tuition is expensive. The latter is far from my house but the tuition is almost half the price.
  • 地下鉄(ちかてつ)新幹線(しんかんせん)前者(ぜんしゃ)地下(ちか)ゆっくりはしり、後者(こうしゃ)(はや)いスピード地上(ちじょう)(はし)る。
    Subways and bullet trains. The former runs slowly underground, and the latter runs above ground at a high speed.
Statements made that use 前者(ぜんしゃ) and 後者(こうしゃ) require some sort of relationship in what is being compared. Usually, this will be obvious within the context of the sentence, but is something that you will need to be careful of when making your own sentences.
  • こっち(くるま)こっち(くるま)どっち()おう。前者(ぜんしゃ)(やす)くて(ふる)くて、後者(こうしゃ)(たか)くて(あたら)しい。 (Natural)
    This car and this car, which should I buy? The former is cheap and old, and the latter is expensive and new.
  • 明日(あした)動物園(どうぶつえん)()今夜(こんや)(ほん)()むかで、(まよ)ています前者(ぜんしゃ)動物(どうぶつ)いて()ている後者(こうしゃ)()(まえ)ゆっくりできる。 (Unnatural)
    I am undecided on whether to go to the zoo tomorrow, or to read a book tonight. The former has animals and isn't crowded, but the latter is relaxing before bed.


  • A(しゃ)とB(しゃ)どちら就職(しゅうしょく)する(まよ)っています。

    I am having trouble deciding between company A and company B.
    The former's pay is good and the latter has a good working environment.

  • 宿泊(しゅくはく)場所(ばしょ)候補(こうほ)(ふた)あります

    There are two choices for places to stay.
    The first has hot springs, the second has delicious food.

  • 交通(こうつう)(ふだ)には切符(きっぷ)整理券(せいりけん)の2つがあります。前者(ぜんしゃ)電車(でんしゃ)()ために必要(ひつよう)なもので、後者(こうしゃ)バス()ときに()るものです。

    There are two types of transportation tickets: 'kippu' and 'seiriken'. The former is a thing needed for getting on a train, and the latter is taken when boarding on a bus.

  • どちらパソコンいいですか?前者(ぜんしゃ)(やす)性能(せいのう)一般(いっぱん)()け、後者(こうしゃ)(たか)高性能(こうせいのう)

    Which laptop is better? The former is cheap, but the specifications are average.
    The latter is expensive, but has better performance.

  • どちら(いえ)にするか(まよ)っています。前者(ぜんしゃ)(えき)から(ちか)家賃(やちん)(たか)

    I can't decide which house to rent. The former is close to the station, but expensive.
    The latter is far from the station, but cheap and spacious.

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前者は・後者は – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (6 in total)

  • mrnoone


    Hey! Long time no see!

    It was most likely a conversion error that got caught in the translation:


    I have fixed the sentence
    Thank you for the feedback

  • Johnathan-Weir


    Just a reminder about making those new sentences.

    But also, it seems like a lot of the other grammar used seems pretty stiff and formal (like the literary conjunctive). Are these words only used in formal conversations and writing?

  • mrnoone


    後者は・前者は are normally formal written expressions that can also be used in casual conversation when needed.

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