word choice: (shortest vs earliest ... date) and (longest vs latest ... date)


Senior Member
Suppose that you are shopping at a bakery. You see some loaves of bread behind its counter that are on sale. Then, you ask a sales clerk a question about the bread. I have made up a few similar sentences below.

(1a) What is the shortest expiration date?
(1b) What is the earliest expiration date?

(2a) What is the longest expiration date?
(2b) What is the latest expiration date?

I am not sure which word choice is correct: shortest vs earliest and longest vs latest. Please help me. I really appreciate your time and help.
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I'd use earliest and latest too. I'm not sure I'll use 'expiration date' for bread (even if you change that to 'expiry date', which is the equivalent term in BrE); we might say use-by date or best-before date or sell-by date.
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