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Similarly between "Last month" and "The last month".

Last week implies, at some point during the previous week. Not inclusive of the current week.

What exactly does the last week mean? Is that inclusive of the current time? Same question for the last n weeks?

Or are phrases ending with ago the only qualifier for being for being inclusive of the current week? A month ago pretty obviously implies a period of 30 days going back from current time.

Thanks in advance!

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marked as duplicate by TimLymington, choster, tchrist, FumbleFingers, medica Apr 23 at 17:17

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3 Answers 3

-last week means the week preceding the current one.

-the last week refers to a period ending with the week in question , as in:

-this is the last week I am working. ( I wil no longer work after the current week is finished)

-the last n weeks refer to n weeks preceding the current one, as in:

-I have been working for the last five weeks, (if the week has just finished it will be considered the fifth week)

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I see this mainly as a matter of simple shortening.

  • "on the next day" can be shortened to

  • "the next day" and this can become

  • "next day"

You can find all three structures in the same text or novel.

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This is one of those fun ambiguities in modern English that a lot of people struggle with. The same ambiguitiy exists with next (e.g., next week).

I have not found any rule or concrete standard suggesting that there is a universal rule surrouding the meaning of these phrases. However, I've adopted the following style in order to be more explicit:

When including the current week or month, prefix the phrase with this, e.g.:

This last Tuesday was the 15th of April.

This last week has been quite enjoyable.

You may also be able to avoid ambiguity in the use of next with the addition of words like upcoming paired with this. E.g.:

This upcoming Monday is tomorrow, whereas next Monday will be the 28th of April.

Again, none of this is standardized (or, therefore, "correct," whatever that means in English), but these modifiers may make the phrases more clear.

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