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Unit 2: English In A Minute
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Session 16

Welcome to English In A Minute. Give us a minute and we'll give you a hot tip about English. Grammar, vocabulary... there's so much to learn! And all taught by your favourite BBC Learning English staff!

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Last vs For the last vs In the last

Do you have a minute to spare to learn some English? Do you know how to use 'last', 'for the last' and 'in the last'? What's the difference between them? Saskia's going to inform us. Give us 60 seconds and we'll give you the English!

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Saskia
We're going to talk about the difference between last, for the last and in the last when talking about time.

I went to the doctor's twice last week / last month / last year. Last week, last month and last year, here, are talking about the week, month and year before this one. There is no connection to now. It is before now.

And what do we say when we want to talk about the day before this one? We just say 'yesterday', right? And we say 'yesterday morning', 'yesterday afternoon', 'yesterday evening', but last night.

I've had the flu for the last week, so I've come to work only once in the last week. In both cases, we are talking about the period of time from a week ago until now.

With for the last week, I've had the flu every day. It's continuous over a week.

With in the last week, I have come to work only once within that time.

Can you think of something you did last week? And what's one thing you've done in the last week and something else you've done for the last week?

 

Last vs For the last vs In the last

Last
Last week / month / year is the week / month / year before the current one.
Remember that we say 'yesterday morning / afternoon / evening' but last night.

  • I went to the doctor's twice last week.
  • What did you do yesterday afternoon? And last night?

For the last week
If you did something for the last week, it means you did it continuously for a period of time from a week ago until now.

  • I've had flu for the last week.

In the last week
If you did something in the last week, it means you did it once (at least) during a period of time from a week ago until now.

  • I've only come in to work once in the last week.

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