last

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UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations/ˈlɑːst/US:USA pronunciation: IPA and respellingUSA pronuncation: IPA/læst/ ,USA pronunciation: respelling(last, läst)


WordReference Collins English Usage © 2020
last - lastly
Last can be an adjective or an adverb.
‘last’ used as an adjective
The last thing, event, or person of a particular kind is the one that comes after all the others.
He missed the last bus.
They met for the last time just before the war.
He was the last person to see Rebecca alive.
If you want to emphasize that someone or something is the last one of their kind, you can put very in front of last.
Those were his very last words.
I changed my mind at the very last minute.
Latest is sometimes used in a similar way.
‘last’ used as an adverb
If something last happened on a particular occasion, it has not happened since then.
They last saw their homeland nine years ago.
It's a long time since we met last.
If an event is the final one in a series of similar events, you can say that it happens last. You put last at the end of a clause.
He added the milk last.
Mr Ross was meant to have gone first, but in fact went last.
‘lastly’
You can also use lastly to say that an event is the final one in a series. You put lastly at the beginning of a clause.
They wash their hands, arms and faces, and lastly, they wash their feet.
However, last and lastly are not always used in the same way. You usually use last to say that an event is the final one in a series of similar events. You use lastly when you are talking about events which are not similar.
For example, if you say ‘George phoned his aunt last’, you usually mean that George had phoned several people and that his aunt was the last person he phoned. If you say ‘Lastly George phoned his aunt’, you mean that George had done several things and that the last thing he did was to phoned his aunt.
Lastly has a much more common use. You use it to introduce a final point in a discussion, ask a final question, give a final instruction, or mention a final item in a list.
Lastly, I would like to thank Mr. Mark Collins for his advice, assistance and patience.
Lastly I would like to ask about your future plans.
‘at last’
At last and at long last are used to show that something that you have been waiting for or expecting for a long time has happened. These expressions usually go at the beginning or end of a clause.
The journey had taken a long time, but they had arrived at last.
At long last I've found a woman who really loves me.
‘last’ with time expressions
You use last in front of a word such as week or month to say when something happened. For example, if it is August and something happened in July, you say that it happened last month.
Wolfgang and I had lunch with her last month.
The group held its first meeting last week.
Be careful
Don't say that something happened ‘the last month’ or ‘the last week’.
Last can be used in a similar way in front of the names of festivals, seasons, months, or days of the week.
Last Christmas we received more than a hundred cards.
She died last summer.
I bought these shoes last Saturday.
Don't, however, say ‘last morning’ or ‘last afternoon’. Say yesterday morning or yesterday afternoon.
It's warmer this morning than it was yesterday morning.
Yesterday afternoon I had lunch with Cameron.
Be careful
Don't say ‘last evening’. Say yesterday evening or last night.
Yesterday evening another British soldier was killed.
I've been thinking about what we said last night.
‘previous’ and ‘before’
When you are describing something that happened in the past and you want to refer to an earlier period of time, you use previous or before instead of ‘last’. For example, if you are talking about events that happened in 2005 and you want to mention something that happened in 2004, you say that it happened the previous year or the year before.
We had had an argument the previous night.
He had done some work on the farmhouse the previous summer.
The two women had met in Bonn the weekend before.
‘before last’
You use before last to refer to the period of time immediately before the most recent one of its kind. For example, the year before last means ‘the year before last year’.
We went camping the summer before last.
I have not slept since the night before last.
‘the last’
You can also use last to refer to any period of time measured back from the present. For example, if it is July 23rd and you want to refer to the period from July 2nd to the present, you refer to it as the last three weeks. Note that you must use the. If you want to say that something happened during this period, you say that it happened in the last three weeks or during the last three weeks.
He had asked himself that question at least a thousand times in the last eight days.
All this has happened during the last few years.
Be careful
Note the order of words in these examples. Don't say ‘the eight last days’ or ‘the few last years’.
Be careful
Don't use ‘in the last’ or ‘during the last’ on their own with a plural noun such as ‘years’ or ‘days’. For example, don't say ‘Many changes have been made in the last years’. Use a quantity word or a number. For example, say ‘Many changes have been made in the last few years’. Or use recent instead. For example, you can say ‘Many changes have been made in recent years’.
'last' also found in these entries:
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