I went to a drug store and said:

  1. I took this cream from you guys THE last time. Is 'the' necessary?

Is there any difference between 'last time' and 'the last time' Similar problems:

  1. THE last time I looked, he was in the backyard.

  2. You weren't here THE last time I came.

  • As a Brit (and I think that's relevant), I'd use 'the' with an extended adverbial (the last time I saw / we came / it happened / Bob scored a century...). 'Last time' is a set phrase, so it sounds odd to add 'the' in your first example. I'm fairly sure most Americans would be happy to drop the 'the' in examples (2) and (3). Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


When you are using "the last time" to mean "the previous time something happened", then the use of "the" is optional. All of the examples you quote are correct and mean the same without 'the".

With other meanings of "the last time", especially "the final time" you cannot omit "the".

CORRECT: This is the last time I am going to do it.

INCORRECT: This is last time I am going to do it.

  • Thank you very much for your answer. So to sum it up- The last time= The final time= This is the last time I'm doing it. And, last time= the previous time= Last time I was sitting exactly here.
    – Ashraf
    Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 21:56

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