the difference between words: slow and late


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.



  1. Katsuji Ueda Said:

    This is the first time to read your blog. I found your post in the Japanese SNS called mixi. Sorry, I’m a Japanese and studying English.
    I have read your blogs ( not all of them) and found it very useful for me.
    Recently I have some friends in Australia through some SNS concerning about my favorite car called Soarer. If you live in the US, it’s Lexus SC400.

    If you don’t mind, would you please teach me the meaning of “lol” that they ( Australian people) often use in the end of a sentence?
    I think it’s an abbreviation of some word but I can’t imagine the word and meaning.
    Best Regards

    • Hi Katsuji.

      I’m very happy that you like my blog!

      The abbreviation “lol” stands for laughing out loud. We use this when we want to indicate we think something is funny. We often use this when chatting online or sending messages to

      Thanks for your question!


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