Last vs. The Last

Difference Between Last and The Last

‘Last’ and ‘The Last’ are two types of expressions that are often befuddled due to the similarity appeared in their meanings. Strictly speaking there are some differences between last and the last.

The word ‘last’ a sense of something that comes towards the end of a series or events. On the other hand the word ‘the last’ refers to something that is really and especially at the end of a series or events. This is the main difference between the two expressions, namely, the last and last.

Look at the two sentences

1. It comes last in terms of rankings.

2. She is the last to receive the job of superintendent.

In the first sentence using the word ‘last’ gives the sense of ‘arrival towards the end ‘. The sentence means only that ‘It is late in terms of rankings. On the other hand in the second sentence using the phrase ‘the last’ gives the sense of ‘especially at the end’. The sentence carries the meaning ‘she is particularly at the end of the list of people who have been given the job of superintendent’. This is a significant difference between the two expressions, namely, the last and last.

It is interesting to note that the word ‘last’ is often followed by the preposition ‘in’, ‘of’ and occasionally ‘to’. On the other hand the expression ‘the last is followed by the preposition’ of ‘,’ to ‘and from time to time by’ in ‘. Look at the sentences

1. He is the last to speak in favor of Francis.

2. He  is the last of the Mughal emperors to rule over Agra.

The word ‘last’ sometimes gives the sense ‘previous’ as in the sentence’ the problem was discussed at our last meeting. “In this sentence the word ‘last’ refers to the meeting, which was completed just before the present.


Category: VS  |  Tags: