Somebody asked me this earlier if we can use the expression 'the last a few days'. I've never heard someone use this expression before but when I googled the phrase, there are actually some articles and websites that use this expression. Examples I found online:

The rumors that YouTube was accessible in certain parts of the country during the last a few days are true.

The first letter in the collection is dated 1805 and the last a few days before her death in 1865.

Over the last a few days, Blizzard has released Over watch game play footage.

Can someone clarify this for me?

  • 1
    No, not 300k hits. Only 18. Try to click page 2 and you'll see. Sep 6, 2016 at 21:33
  • (Addendum: I googled for "over the last a few days". When I used just "the last a few days", Google found 131 results.) Sep 6, 2016 at 21:46
  • You need to add sources for the quotes you found.
    – user3169
    Sep 6, 2016 at 22:20

1 Answer 1


The last a few days is not idiomatic English.

About half of Google's hits are accidental collocations. Either the last falls at the end of one clause and a few days at the beginning of another, with an intervening point:

... but not the last! A few days ago ...

or there's an ellipsis, as in your second example:

 The first  letter in the collection is dated  1805
 the last  [letter in the collection is dated] a few days before her death

The others are simply mistakes, most by non-native speakers.

ADDED: By the way, as DamkerngT shows you, those huge numbers of hits Google reports at the beginning of its return cannot be trusted. Look at the actual data, not the conjectural summary.

  • I guess DamkerngT was right with regards to the number of hits on Google and I overlooked my error when giving the examples. But now I just tried another variant of it, "the last a few years" and I found more examples from some websites that are more credible. So is it acceptable after all to use that expression?
    – user41364
    Sep 6, 2016 at 23:02
  • @user41364 No, only in the elliptical sense that StoneyB describes. You can say something like there have been several devastating floods here, the last [having occurred] a few years ago or there have been several devastating floods here in the last few years, but not there have been several devastating floods here in the last a few years. In the first example, "the last" refers to a specific flood, but in the others the last refers to few years*—since we already have an article (the) we don't need another one (an). Like don't say *the red a rose, just the red rose.
    – 1006a
    Sep 6, 2016 at 23:22
  • @user41364 To research the expression with both years and days, a useful ngram here must include in. This ngram for "in the last a few" vs "in the last few" may be instructive: Sep 7, 2016 at 0:43

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