The term last year defines last year according to calender.So if I say last year in 2014, it means I refer to 2013.

On the other hand, the term last one year refers to last 12 months.So if I use this term in mar 2014, it refers to period between mar2013-feb2014.

Am I right on this? Can you explain what the following two sentences mean?

I am actively participating since last year.

I am actively participating for last one year.

  • 2
    I think it would be less likely to confuse others if you were to say I have been an active participant for the last 12 months or even change "the last 12 months" to "the last one-year period."
    – JSanchez
    Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 4:27

1 Answer 1


Neither of these sentences is idiomatic English.

  1. You are speaking of your continuous activity during a timespan which stretches from some time in the past right up to the present. This calls for the present perfect progressive construction, not the present progressive.

    I have been actively participating ...

  2. The phrase last year (no article) expresses the calendar year preceding the current year. I write this on Mar 17, 2014. If you write this—

    I have been actively participating since last year.

    —you have said that you began participating at some undefined point after Dec 31, 2012 and before Jan 1, 2014, and you participated actively throughout the period from that point up to today.

  3. The phrase we use to express the 12-month period ending in the present (March 17, 2013 - March 17, 2014) is not last one year but the last year, with the definite article. To express the start of that period (Mar 17, 2013) we use a year ago. If you want to say that you have been actively participating through the past 12 months, you may write either of these:

    I have been actively participating for the last year.
    I have been actively participating since a year ago.

    You may also emphasize that your measurement is precise—you are speaking of exactly a year (give or take a few hours or days) by using one, thus:

    ... for the last one year.
    ... since one year ago.

  • You mean 31 Dec 2012 rather than 2013, no? And “I've been actively participating for the last year” somehow sounds not quite right to me. Can't figure out why. It doesn't feel like a complete, natural sentence. “I've been participating for a year” would be the natural way for me to say it; and funny enough, if I just substitute past for last in your example, the feeling of incompleteness disappears. Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 9:56
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Thanks for the spot. Google Ngrams suggests that last/past is now about 50/50, with a slight preference for last in the UK and past in the US. Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 10:07
  • It's not that for the last year in itself is not right, it's just something about that particular sentence structure that makes it seem a bit… incomplete. Perhaps something about the monosyllabicity of year. Just saying “for the last year or so/and a half” removes that vague feeling. Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 10:13

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