Stack Exchange network consists of 176 Q&A communities includingStack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.
Detailed answers to any questions you might have
Discuss the workings and policies of this site
Learn more about hiring developers or posting ads with us
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:
The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
In the last 3 months vs in the past 3 months
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.
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.
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).
Would you like to answer one of theseunanswered questionsinstead?
Will it hurt my career to work as a graphic designer in a startup for beauty and skin care?
Spider-Man: Far From Home – Why do they take a detour to Dorset?
What impact would a dragon the size of Asia have on the environment?
How can I design a witch (or other enemy) that summons/controls lightning birds at sea to attack the party while hidden on a ship?
Why does a small sanhedrin have 23 judges rather than 21?
I gave my characters names that are exactly like another book. Is it a problem?
Why doesnt Anakins lightsaber explode when its chopped in half on Geonosis?
Is it rude to tell recruiters I would only change jobs for a better salary?
Was adding milk to tea started to reduce employee tea break time?
Nested-Loop-Join: How many comparisons and how many pages-accesses?
how to generate correct single and double quotes in tex
Why is dark an adverb in this sentence?
I quit, and boss offered me 3 month grace period where I could still come back
I have accepted an internship offer. Should I inform companies I have applied to that have not gotten back to me yet?
Why does ffmpeg choose 10+20+20ms instead of an even 16ms for 60fps gifs?
Are L-functions uniquely determined by their values at negative integers?
How are soeben and eben different from one another?
Teferis Time Twist on creature with +1/+1 counter
What is the German equivalent of (dried fish woman)?
Relationship between GCD, LCM and the Riemann Zeta function
To subscribe to this RSS feed, copy and paste this URL into your RSS reader.
site design / logo 2019 Stack Exchange Inc; user contributions licensed undercc by-sa 3.0withattribution required.rev2019.7.12.34319