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Sooner rather than later

The phrase sooner rather than later is wordy for soon. How this clunky, illogical phrase ever became popular is a mystery, but perhaps some writers feel that soon on its own is not emphatic enough. Available alternatives include before long, shortly, sooner than expected, and in the near future. And when these are not strong enough, there’s always very soonas soon as possible, and now.

Examples


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In fact, any borrowing that you are contemplating should be done sooner rather than later as rates are likely to go up. [Forbes]

While some may scoff, I, too, believe that spring will be here sooner rather than later. [Seacoast Online]

The reality is that the company needs to start releasing more hit games, and sooner rather than later. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Debt stability also might make it possible for Ireland to raise market funding sooner rather than later. [Wall Street Journal]

If we don’t make a major course correction with regard to the federal budget, a major course correction will be forced on us – sooner rather than later. [Washington Post]

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Comments

  1. Stoatsnest says:

    I agree, ‘Sooner rather than later’ is used instead of ‘soon’ by business and government people in the same way as they use ‘going forward’, ‘robust response’,’raft of measures’,’root and branch review’ and other such meaningless phrases.

  2. I think this useless phrase grew out the useful phrase, “sooner or later.” “Sooner or later he’ll have to come up for air.” “You’ll have to repay the loan anyway, sooner or later.” It got corrupted about 15 or 20 years ago, if I recall correctly. It grates every time I hear it.

  3. Chris Tabor says:

    what i want to know is…

    is it appropriate to remove “than” altogether? does it make sense, to instead say “sooner rather later” in place of “sooner rather than later”?…. “this rather that” vs “this rather than that”? oh the ironic paradoxical juxtaposition is killing me lol

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