Ladder vs Latter

Homophones are words that have similar pronunciations while having different meanings. Latter and ladder are two homophones that can give writers trouble.

These two words are never interchangeable because they are separate parts of speech. One is a noun, and the other is an adjective.

Even if you mix them up, most sharp readers will be able to determine what you mean by looking at the general context of the sentence. Still, word choice is essential, especially for scholastic and professional writing, so you’ll need to know the difference between these two confusing words.

The Difference Between Ladder and Latter

In this article, I’ll compare latter with ladder. I’ll use each word in at least one sample sentence, so you can see how it looks in context.

And I will also show you a mnemonic device that makes choosing ladder or latter a little easier.

How to Use Ladder

What does ladder mean?  A ladder is an apparatus with rungs that a person can climb to reach elevated places. Itr is a noun. Ladders can be short, with a small number of rungs, or very tall, with multiple rungs.

Ladders can be set in place or portable, and some can extend and retract for more accessible transport.

Here are a some examples of ladder in a sentence,

  • The fireman climbed the ladder up to the burning apartment building to save the old man.
  • Larry leaned a ladder against the tower and climbed up to the top.
  • “Among the cheapest properties, for overseas students of more modest means, is a £275-a-week bedsit in Egerton Garden Mews, but it’s so small tenants will have to climb a ladder to get to the “raised bed area” – The Guardian

Ladder can also be symbolic, as in the expression climbing the corporate ladder, which refers to a professional rise in a company.

How to Use Latter

What does latter mean? Latter is an adjective that means the second or last in a list of things. Fellows of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are called this because they see themselves as saints living in the last days before the return of Jesus Christ.

The words former and latter refer to the first and second items in a checklist or comparison.

For example,

  • I will usually choose the latter option between gin and tequila, while my boyfriend usually chooses the former.
  • Pam can’t decide between her company’s 401k and a Roth IRA; she likes the former’s employer match, but the latter’s tax-free earnings.
  • I’m not sure which part of your question is more unkind: rushing your sick aunt into her grave or appointing yourself judge and jury of her daughter’s behavior and future grief. (Probably the latter.) – New York Times

Trick to Remember the Difference

Latter and ladder are homophones, making it confusing to remember when to use which. Luckily, an easy memory tool, called a mnemonic device, makes remembering the difference between these words easier.

Ladder vs. Latter: Since latter can refer to the last article in a pair, and latter and last both contain the letter T, you should have no problem reserving latter for these contexts.


Is it ladder or latter? In Spite of their similar pronunciations, these words are not synonymous, so you will need to remember the distinction between these confusing words.

  • Latter is an adjective that signifies the second object in a comparison, or the last in a list of something.
  • ladder is an apparatus with rungs that allows somebody to climb to high up places.

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By Connie Fisher

Connie Fisher is a freelance writer and editor specializing in business writing and marketing. She holds a bachelor's degree in media and journalism and has contributed to a slew of printed and online media, including Contra Costa Times, Daily American, the The Tri-Town News,, and many more.

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