Archive for August 8, 2011

the difference between words: slow and late

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A while ago, I wrote about the difference between “fast” and “early” so, in today’s blog entry, I’d like to go over the difference between “slow” and “late”. I wrote in my earlier entry that “fast” is about the speed of something or someone and “early” is about the time something or someone arrives. In the same way, “slow” is also about speed, and “late” is about the time something or someone arrives. For example:

I’m sorry for being so slow to finish this report. I’ll get it to you as soon as I can.

The traffic was so slow on the highway yesterday! Under normal circumstances, it would have taken us two hours to get home, but yesterday it took six hours!

I’m going to hand in my report late. I’m really sorry about that.

The teacher was late for my class. That’s really strange because she’s usually right on time.

So, my first and third examples are both talking about the writing of a report. I use “slow” with the first example because I’m focusing on how quickly the person is working. I use “late” in the third example because I’m focusing on when the report itself will be given to the boss; in other words, when it will arrive on the boss’ desk.

So, we use “slow” when something or someone takes a long time to do something, and we use “late” when something or someone arrives after the scheduled time.

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