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The last time I saw that show, X died. Fell down the elevator shaft.

The last I saw of that show, X died. Fell down the elevator shaft.


The last time I saw him, it was 11 years ago.

The last I saw of him was 11 years ago.

Are the pairs of sentences equivalent? Can "the last I saw of that" replace "the last time I saw that" in a sentence?

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"The last I saw of X" usually has an implication that X has disappeared, not just that you in particular have stopped looking at X.

The last time I saw Bob, he was in the conference room.

The last I saw of Bob, he was on a plane headed to Antarctica.

I would not use it as a general replacement.

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  • +1 particularly for the final sentence. I can't quite put my finger on why The last I saw of Westworld, Bernard killed Theresa doesn't work. I think it might be because the construction the last I saw of X [, blah blah] actually requires that X be mentioned again somewhere within [blah blah] (unless [blah blah] is a "copula", as in The last I saw of him was at the New Year party) but that's a wild guess. Any thoughts? – FumbleFingers Jan 13 '17 at 19:14
  • +1. @FumbleFIngers: The last I saw of him was when... is fairly well attested. I don't much like it, but there you have it. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 13 '17 at 19:47
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    @FumbleFingers It might be because the "the last I saw of ..." implies the thing or person has gone missing, and a TV show can't do that? – Andrew Jan 13 '17 at 19:53
  • @TRomano: Glancing through written instances of The last I saw of him was when, it looks like in most of them the very next word is he. Those that don't refer back to "him" in one way or another mostly seem to follow when with some phrase X that identifies "a period of time" being equated with the aforementioned "last time", which is what I meant by unless [blah blah] is a "copula". I don't have quite so much of a problem with The last I saw of Westworld was when Bernard killed Theresa. – FumbleFingers Jan 13 '17 at 21:07

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