You can say he's a former teacher, to refer to someone who used to be a teacher but not now.

But can we say "your former teacher" to refer to "your last teacher"?

Are the both the same or is there a difference between them, even a sutble one in meaning?


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    Just don't slip into the habit of using the following construction: "He was a former teacher of mine," which is not the same as (nor is it grammatically correct) as "He is a former teacher of mine." An exception, of course, would be if your former teacher is dead, in which case he WAS your former teacher! – rhetorician Dec 6 '14 at 17:59

I met an old teacher of mine the other day

Is fine for talking about any teacher from your infancy to your high school (BrEng secondary) years.

Using former also works well

The other day I met a former teacher of mine, Mr. Smith

If you wanted to specify that this person was the last teacher who ever taught you then I'd go for:

I met Mr. Smith the other day. He was my very last teacher.

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A former teacher or previous teacher can be any teacher you have had in the past.

Therefore it does not specifically mean the one you had last, unless it is obvious from the context that they must have been the last teacher you had.

If you need a synonym for last teacher, then most recent teacher does the job.

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  • A question about 'previous'... "The previous owner of the house" and "A previous owner of the house"... is it that the former means the last and the latter means any of them that comes before"? – Englishfreak Dec 6 '14 at 13:40
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    @Sharaman - Neither "previous" nor "former", by itself, necessarily implies the immediately preceding owner/teacher/whatever. However, as you note, if one says "the previous" it generally is interpreted to mean the most recent owner, etc. – Hot Licks Dec 6 '14 at 13:49

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