I've admired @BernieSanders' courage for 20 years and loved getting to know him this last year on the trail. —Pete Buttigieg

It seems to mean "in the past twelve months" according to my research.

  • 1
    Need context. Eg, "What were you doing this last year?", while not exactly clear, would be considered idiomatic speech.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 9, 2020 at 1:52
  • 4
    Of course it's proper English. It was spoken and understood by native speakers. Apr 9, 2020 at 2:18
  • 1
    Yeah, in that context it's easily understood.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 9, 2020 at 2:20

4 Answers 4


Is “this last year” proper English?

Yes, it means "in the 12 months prior to today"

This contrasts with "last year" which [currently, and in most contexts,] refers to the whole of 2019.

Have a look at the examples given in Google Ngram Viewer.


I came across a very similar phase while reading Pride and Prejudice.

“Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse you own children in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion for my poor nerves.”

“You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these last twenty years at least.”

  • Where does that say yes, no or maybe to the Question? Apr 9, 2020 at 18:29
  • I think this is answering "Yes" to the question, and providing supporting evidence from Jane Austen. But it's certainly an oblique answer.
    – Andrew Leach
    Apr 14, 2020 at 15:10

I've heard this last year before, and the phrase will be understood as "in the past twelve months".

That said, for some reason I can't articulate, this last year has always sounded inferior to these other options:

a. this past year

b. in the past/last year


No, I do not think that "this last year" is proper English, but Buttigieg may have made a small mistake and typed "last" instead of "past."

  • 1
    What you've written here would have been better suited to being a comment or a question of its own. You will be able to leave comments on other's posts as soon as you have sufficient reputation. May 15, 2020 at 2:03

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