Hello Everybody,

I came across a phrase which goes like this : "Early speculation about the death of late Prince Diana....".

The prefix "late" means the following person has dead. Then, why use the word "late" in the above sentence when the word "death" has been used. "death" itself means the person referred has dead.

I bet it as: "...about the death of Prince Diana...."

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Comments  (Page 4) 
Oh yes, right! I hadn't thought of that...
Hello all

I'd agree that the 'late' person has to have died fairly recently, and that to say 'the death of the late X' would be tautologous.

If you said 'my late wife', I'd get the impression that her demise was quite recent. It would seem odd if I then discovered that she'd died 10 years before.

A tangent: I believe you are generally no longer entitled to be known as Mr, Mrs, etc. after death. But I think in combination with 'late', it's permitted: so you can be called 'the late MrsQ', etc.

(I'd be interested to know if anyone can confirm this.)

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Thanks MrP and LL.

To summarise we use 'late' for two purposes:

1) To show respect for the 'dead' person.
2) To indicate that he/she has dead in the recent past.

It's like, art of an artist, labour of a worker, sorrow of a sad. Got it? Death is the thing happens to the person who died. If you got my point.

 Rover_KE's reply was promoted to an answer.
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