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Say I used to live in City A and moved to B now. City A is the last city I lived in.

But if I lived in City A, then moved to City B, then to City C, then finally to City D. What should I call City A for?

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Simply name the city! At the most I can think of two degrees - formerly, I lived in.... or something like that. Former to former to former.... sounds awkward. Simply name them or say Initially, I lived in... then... then...and finally... –  Maulik V Jul 1 at 8:56
    
Assuming you didn't live anywhere else before City A, City A could be the first city you lived in. Or, more simply, City A is "a city I used to live in." –  J.R. Jul 1 at 15:59
    
@MaulikV Former to former, I lived in City A? Is this grammatically corrected? –  Aw Qirui Guo Jul 2 at 0:53
    
@AwQiruiGuo nope, I don't prefer that. –  Maulik V Jul 2 at 4:02
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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I suppose you could say:

It's the city I lived in three cities ago.

It's a bit clumsy, but I can't think of a better alternative. It's also informal.

Most of the time we wouldn't express this concept directly, instead saying something like:

That's where I lived six years ago. I've moved a few times since then.

If I wanted to be specific, I might say something like:

I've moved three times since I lived in City A.

Of course, you can come up with variations on these themes.

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Thanks! I like the last one! –  Aw Qirui Guo Jul 2 at 0:51
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Unfortunately, unless City A was the first city you lived in, you'll need to settle for cardinals:

  • City A - 3rd last
  • City B - 2nd last
  • City C - last
  • City D - current

You can keep going, too... first/second/third/fourth/fifth/etc last, but it become clumsy when you get too far away. If it's important that the person you speak to knows exactly how many cities ago it was, you don't have much of a choice, but otherwise, it might be easier to say that you lived in the city X years ago.

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Would fourth-latest do in the place of fourth-last or would that seem unnatural? –  CopperKettle Jul 1 at 9:00
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That's tricky. It might sound unusual, but I'd know what you mean. You could even say fourth-most recent, and it would be comprehensible, but as for natural? I'm honestly unsure. –  jimsug Jul 1 at 9:01
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There is the word 'preantepenultimate' though it's quite rare and most people probably won't know what you mean if you use it.

Last in a series: ultimate

Second-last: penultimate (common)

Third-last: antepenultimate (not common)

Fourth-last: preantepenultimate (very uncommon)

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Although I adore this series of words I avoid penultimate, in part because many people think it means "ultimate". Antepenultumate and on I treat as "fun" words—toys to play with in my idle time, but not tools to be used to solve real problems. (But words like antepenult may still be useful in technical contexts.) –  snailplane Jul 1 at 11:32
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Fifth-last: propreantepenultimate (very uncommon) –  Mike Rodey Jul 1 at 13:55
    
@snailplane I agree that preantepenultimate and antepenultimate are only good as "fun" words, but I do make a point of using "penultimate" where appropriate because I don't want that word to disappear. –  Kyle Strand Jul 1 at 15:59
    
This is really funny! I guess my English teacher would not know it... –  Aw Qirui Guo Jul 2 at 0:57
    
I think "penultimate" is quite well-used and not in danger of disappearing - it's commonly used in the media and in everyday conversation (at least in the UK where I live) –  Sam Jul 9 at 7:48
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In order to expand the variety, I'll give it a try, but bear with me, I'm not a native speaker:

  1. City A is the city that I lived in before the two other cities that preceded the current one.

  2. City A is the city thrice removed from the current one in the succession of the cities I've lived in.

  3. City A is the fourth-latest city I've lived in.

Option 1 is a mouthful to pronounce. Option 2 could be erroneous, since the expression is usually used in describing family relations (such as cousin twice removed). Option 3 is the shortest one but looks a bit unusual, as jimsug wrote.

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