Is Brent Woodson of Boston, Massachusetts, truly a cutting-edge intellectual, or does he just come across that way? If you ask Brent, he's likely to answer that it's the former - but he also won't deny the latter.
"I generally make a lot of comparisons using either/or options, and they work really well for me," explained Brent. "But the phrasing can get a little clunky in ordinary conversation. Using 'former' and 'latter' as a reference point is not only handy, but I've noticed that it really causes people to sit up and take notice of me as a legit scholar. I know a good thing when I see it! And I'm sticking with it."
Brent now makes a practice of finding ways to regularly incorporate "former" and "latter" into all his communications, both verbal and written, although he especially enjoys the former. And it's working - not just in terms of boosting his rep as a rock-solid smartypants, but also for his love life.
"Honestly, by the time he gets to the 'latter' I'm already so turned on that I can't even think back to what he was originally talking about," confessed Brent's now-girlfriend, Candace Chase, one of many irresistibly intrigued by Brent's seeming oral acuity. "What can I say, I've got a thing for smart dudes."
Brent isn't arguing with the results of his new verbal practice, which he credits with enabling him to compete on the same level, at least superficially, with the highbrow bookworms across the Charles River from Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"Those folks at Harvard and MIT may do a lot of thinking," said Brent, "but are they thinking smart, like me, or are they just thinking hard? You tell me."
"The latter!" chimed in Candace, earning her an affectionate grin from Brent.
"Right on, baby!" said Brent. "You got it."