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meaning

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Let me explain the situation. Today is Oct 31, 2012. After I got my October pay-slip yesterday I had the following conversation:

Me: Hey guy, I have a question to ask you about the pay-slip of the last month. I think the number is incorrect.

Me: No, I mean last month (I mean September) not this month.

I want to know, did I use last month correctly in this case? I used last month because this month is not passed yet, so I used it to refer to the month before this month. And if it is incorrect, what word should I use.

Technically you are right , last month should be September. In most of the companies payroll is decided till 20supth/sup of the month , maybe it has something to do with that. I am also eager to know, waiting for someones comment on that.

You can reduce the confusion by referring to the payslip instead of mixing in calendar months. Last pay slip or current pay slip and previous pay slip. Pay slip for date ending xxxx. Pay periods do not follow the irregular nature of the months.

Your use of the phraselast monthwas correct. Since you asked aboutlast months pay slipand the date of your question wasOctober 31st, it is implied thatlast monthof which you spoke was September. Therefore, the pay slip in question was distributed during the month of September.

You may also use the phrasethe previous monthin lieu oflast month.

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English Language Usage Stack Exchae

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Whats the difference betweenin thelast3 monthsandin thepast3 monthsif there is any?

A lot of people now accept thatlastandpastcan be used interchangeably in certain contexts:

However, traditional grammarians claim you should never uselastwhen you meanpastsincelastis final as opposed to just gone by.

These last few months have been difficult.

Old-schoolers would say that unless you are dying, you probably have more months ahead of you. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to say, These past few months have been difficult.

The bottom line: These days it doesnt matter if you uselastorpast, but if you wanted to be hardcore about it, you could use the more appropriate choice based on context.

When the verb used takes us up to the present moment, as have been in your example does,

clearly mean the same thing. But in a situation where the time in question is not clearas in During the Yankees last/past year of dominance, Derek Jeter was a key figurethey do (or at least may) not. In that case I would use

if I meant some earlier year (say 2009, when the Yankees last won a World Series).

It did create confusion. My friend told me that last payment cycle was an exception when he really meant past payment cycle. last could mean some date in future but past would refer only to past date.

I would say that there is no distinction. If one wanted to say 1 August—1 October, one could say the last three calendar months or the past three calendar months, I suppose.

It can be argued that in thelast3 months would be intuitively understood as the time frame from 8/13/2010 to 10/12/2010, while in thepastthree months would mean July, August, and September. Some (see comments) see it exactly the other way around. Therefore there seems to be no difference between the two, but if you want to be precise, you need to add something like

I would take the meanings in the opposite way. The past 3 months is the past three months time period, whereas the last 3 months would be the last three calendar months, unless this month is nearly over. However at first glance Id treat these as synonyms.

Mr. Shiny — make yours a separate answer?

Looks to me, based on these responses, that the difference between these constructions is just unclear.

in the last 3 months – I guess this term should be used with past simple. The time period is already gone. E.g. now is february and if I say in the last 3 months, I mean in november, december and january.

The term in the past 3 months shows the period which is not finished yet. So there should be used the present perfect.

In the last three months, Ive eaten thirty Mars bars. In the past three months, Ive eaten thirty Mars bars. Both are valid and exactly equivalent.

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10reputationon this site (theassociation bonus does not count).

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adverbs

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I recently wrote the sentence, I saw the deadline was a month passed, and have confused myself over whether it should bepastorpassed.

I believe it ispassedperhaps as an adverbial past participle?because I am not referring to thepast month, specifically, but thata month has passed. Also, if I take out a month I am left with, I saw the deadline was passed which I believe is more the meaning I seek (even if awkward) than I saw the deadline was past. I am not confident, though.

Potentially relevant previous questions:

Past due or passed due

date has already passed OR date has already past? This question, though, is simply a matter of the poster not knowing the meanings of

It seems to me that the sentence is incorrect withpassed. It would say that thedeadlinewasa month passed, but the deadline does not equate in any obvious way toa month passed. It does seem, however, that one could say that the deadline wasa month past, if one considersa month pastequivalent toa month ago. Colloquially, that would locate the deadline in time, which is acceptable.

I saw the deadline was a month past.

A few obvious ways to avoid the problem:

I saw that the deadlinehadpassed. (notwas)

I saw that the deadline hadpasseda month ago.

I saw that I was one monthpastthe deadline.

I saw that I waspastthe deadline by a month.

If I try to stay as close as possible to your structure:

Im sorry but I dont follow your logic for it seems you are claiming the invalidity if all non-tautological statements. Would you then also say that we could not say The deadline was a month gone-by or The deadline was a month ago or even The deadline was yesterday? Could you please expand upon your reasoning?

@Unrelated I didnt intend to claim that, so I may need to refine my answer. Your 2nd and 3rd examples here are fine, because theyre statements about where the deadline is located in time: colloquially, I can equate deadline to a month ago or yesterday. In your original example, I wouldnt have objected to The deadline was a month (or a day) ago. I do object to replacing ago with passed or past, but I dont have the command of grammatical terminology necessary to explain why. I have a similar issue with a month gone-by — it doesnt mean the same thing to me as a month ago.

@Unrelated I revised my answer based on our exchange. Thanks for engaging.

@Unrelated With new thinking in hand, a month gone-by seems fine if one considers it equivalent to a month ago. It locates the deadline in time.

It should be a month past withduebeing implied. Otherwise youd need to make it more clear that the deadline had been passed, like the deadline had been passed.

I understand what you mean and it could be considered correct but its ambiguous. The deadline was passed by a month is what you mean, but youre setting the operative word in a place that begs interpretation even if the result is the same.

I understand your thinking, but a better option would be the deadline was a month exceeded.

What if I were to use a different noun than deadline though? The celebration was a month past?

@Unrelated, Your original statement works, but with respect to expectations in time past is more clear. The time for you to return the letter is past. The conversation is a month passed. The moment I raised the ante was 3 minutes passed. Its just a little awkward.

The celebration was a month past is incorrect for reasons I provided in my answer. You could make any number of other statements that are correct: The celebration took place a month ago. We are one month past the celebration. One month has passed since the celebration. Et cetera.

@RichardKayser, of course. What are

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pastlast few months

Discussion inSpanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglsstarted bylexxemma

The audience rates have diminished in the past / last few months.

Is there any difference between choosingpastorlast? Which one is more correct?

Since youre mentioning a few of them, Id bet on last.

Lets wait for some anglos to correct us if necessary.

By the way: Id have written it as follows —

I would say in the past few months, but I think either would be fine..

Hi, I had a doubt when I happened to write the following sentence:

The audience rates have diminished in the past / last few months.

Is there any difference between choosingpastorlast? Which one is more correct?

Thank you very much.Click to expand…

If there IS a difference between the two (past vs last), then its merely the slightest nuance, the tiniest shading that might be considered a differential.

From my own personal interpretation … a mere matter of feeling or sensibility … Id say the past few months is perhaps a tad longer than the last few months, perhaps 6+/- or so for past against only 2 or 3 for last few. But its such a tight, unspecific race that I wont argue if someone else comes up with a better rationale.

Since youre mentioning a few of them, Id bet on last.

Lets wait for some anglos to correct us if necessary.

By the way: Id have written it as follows –I had a doubt while writingthis or thatClick to expand…Actually, even in the case of a single month, you could use past.

The audience rates have diminished in the past/last month.

Lexxemma, you can uselastorpastin your example. They are interchangeable in that context.

There are times whenlastmust be used instead ofpast.Pastalways requires another modifier liketheorthis.

Thispast Wednesday I was in Atlanta.

Thislast Wednesday I was in Atlanta. (However, when using last it sounds better to not use this in conjunction with it when referring to a day of the week).

Thepast few months have been difficult.

Thelast few months have been difficult. SON IGUALES.

I have worked a lotthislast month. These 2 are the same.

The audience rates have diminished in the past / last few months.

Is there any difference between choosingpastorlast? Which one is more correct?

Thank you very much.Click to expand…

I had doubts when I wrote the following sentence. OR

I had doubts while writing the following sentence.

What you said is not grammatically incorrect, but it does not sound natural so to speak.

I know this thread is very old, but for the sake of those still stumbling across it (like I did) …

There is a difference between last and past; theyre not interchangeable. Last means final and past means previous. So it would be the past few months or the last few months (of his life/of the campaign). With very few exceptions, last should be used only when referring to the final moments of something. The dictionary doesnt have a definition/synonym for last that makes it interchangeable with past.

Thank you pinky, very interesting note.

So is it ok to sayI went on holiday(the) past week?

Or is it betterI went on holiday(the) last week?

I also have doubts with the use of the. My teachers said that we shouldnt use it…

In the past few weeks, Ive read some explanations about this.

, thats why I am posting in this thread.

* last year is 2013 and the last year could be any year in the past. The same applies to next and the next.

* Next year is 2015 and the next year is a period of 12 months now on. Can this be applied to past/last???

I also have doubts with the use of the. My teachers said that we shouldnt use it…

I think if you use past you must use this or the to stress that you mean the concrete day of last or this current week.

This past Wednesday I was in Atlanta.

-I went on holidays the(this) last/past week. (ok) (now Im not on holidays)

-I have gone on holidays this (the) past/last week. (ok)(Im still on holidays)

e.g. In the past few months, it has been reported that more and more people are moving out of Seoul.

I would saythe audience attendance rates…oraudience attendance rates…(makes things a lot clearer).

2)The past few months, (as) it is reported, more and more people are moving out of Seoul.

3) Last few months, it has been reported that…

(the) few months in 1) and 3) reffer to period when something has been reported.

the past few months in 2) reffer to period when people are moving out.

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Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Ingls