Generally when "last" followed by a noun then the definite article is used. For example: "It was the last time I won." But in the news I came across this: "I can't lose and say 'I won a last time.'" why "the" is not used in the last example?

  • 4
    Source or more context? I wonder if it is grammatical or not. Also your examples are not similarly formed phrases.
    – user3169
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


The last time refers to the most recent occasion in a series of occasions, and thus the final one, to date.

The last time I went to the beach, there was a strong rip-current.

When I saw him for the last time, he was committed to the idea of moving to Alaska.

A last time refers to such a final time as one instance of many such last times.

There will be a last time to visit a friend who is ill, a last time to kiss a lover goodbye, a last time to play Fetch with your dog, a last time to see the sunset or the sunrise. Life will have many last times...and first-times.

  • It seems to me the [last time] is optional in both your examples, but the choice doesn't affect the meaning. On the other hand, for in the second strongly implies to me that the speaker never expects to see him again, whereas without it he might just be referring to their most recent meeting (not normally the last meeting ever). Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 18:33

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