Last vs. The Last vs The Last Few vs The Latest

Number 67 of 73 in B2 - UPPER-INTERMEDIATE

New English word? Translate any word using double click.

What’s the difference between ‘last week’ (or last year, last month….), ‘the last few weeks’, ‘the last week’ and ‘the latest’? ¿Cual es la diferencia? Let’s have a look at these examples from my Reading/Activity book, ‘Aethelflaed and the Rock Star’ RED (available on Amazon as e-book and paperback):

  1. ‘Last’ week is the week that has just passed. The same applies to ‘Last month’ (July,if you are in August) ‘Last year’ (2025, if you read this in 2026), etc.
  2. The plural of last is ‘The last few’ weeks. Instead of just one week before, maybe two
    or three weeks.
  3. ‘The last’ week is the last week of a period. It is the opposite to ‘First’. For example,
    December is the last month of the year. Look at the difference:

– ‘Have you been on holiday?’
– ‘Yes, we went to Cornwall last week,’ (= the week before) ‘And you?’
– ‘No, not yet. We have to wait until the last week of August.’ (24th -30th August) ‘I
need a holiday desperately. The last few weeks (= 2 or 3 weeks before speaking)
have been so stressful!’

There is also another confusion: ‘The latest’, which has the same translation as ‘Last’
in many languages (Spanish included), yet means something quite different. It is basically the same as
‘the most recent’, and is often used to talk about the latest news, the latest fashion..

Remember that if you are going to use a possessive (your, his, Aethelflaed’s…), this will
replace ‘the’ in ‘the last….’ or ‘the latest….’

So let’s look at some other examples. Choose the most appropriate option from
(1)’last’, (2)’the last few’, (3)’the last’ and (4)’the latest’:

1. At the beginning of the story, __________ days had been very changeable.
2. Ayaan was Natalia’s ________ boyfriend.
3. ‘When was ________ time you saw your mum?’ Moonzip asked.
4. ‘_______ summer’ Aethelflaed replied.
5. Samantha listened to ________ number 1 hit non-stop for two weeks.
6. Aethelflaed went to see Moonzip for ________ time.
7. ________ weeks, Aethelflaed had been cycling around the fruit farms.
8. Aethelflaed was nervous as she opened _______ letter.

This is one of many exercises and explanations in the ‘Aethelflaed’ book series. You can get them on Amazon for just 0,99€ / 0,99$ / etc…, or get the first chapters free if you subscribe to my monthly newsletter.