What’s the Difference Between Last as a Verb and Last as an Adverb or Adjective?

Last is a tricky word for students of English because it has many meanings and functions.

When we use last as a verb, we mean continue.

 My class lasts one hour. My airplane flight lasted twelve hours. The exam will last four hours. Last is a regular -ed verb.

Last can also be used as an adverb of position.

Not first, not second, but at the end.

 He is such a slow runner, that he came in last. He crossed the finish line last.

Last can also be used as an adjective in front of a noun

Used in this way, we use “the” in front of it because its position is unique. There is only one last.

A scolding mother might say: This is the last time I’m going to tell you to do your laundry and put it away!

At this moment, folding laundry is the last thing this teenager wants to be doing.

We can use last as a noun as well.

Here last means the final one/the remainder. We also use it with “the.”

 I ate the last of the cookies. Sorry. They were so delicious!

 It’s sunset. We’ve seen the last of the sun until tomorrow.

As a pronoun, it means “the previous one.”

 When an app is updated, the newer version should be better than the last.

Practice: How is last being used in each of these examples? (verb / adverb / adjective / noun / pronoun)

Find answers at the bottom of the post.

  1. I think your new boyfriend is better than your last.
  2. I hope your relationship lasts.
  3. Meeting him in English class is the last place I’d expect.
  4. How long do you think this relationship will last?
  5. I hope your studies still come first rather than last, however.
  6. I want to talk about other things than just your boyfriend. I hope this is the last that you will mention him for the rest of this conversation.
  7. What was the last thing that we were discussing?

Do you want to learn about more tricky English words?

Tricky English Words: Far

Tricky English Words: Anything, Something, Everything

Useful Words: Get


pronoun / verb / adjective / verb / adverb / noun / adj