If we are in the middle of the week and I want to refer to a day just passed in the same week, such as the case in the title, would I still say, for example, last Tuesday? Or would that mean the Tuesday before the one I mean?

I guess same question would apply for next.

  • 2
    Last and next are sometimes ambiguous, though they usually get the job done. – user230 Jan 14 '14 at 18:35

Generally if you say "last Tuesday", people understand you to mean the Tuesday from the preceding calendar week. That is, if today is Wednesday and it is the 15th of the month, "last Tuesday" would mean the 7th.

If you want to refer to the day just past, simply use the name of the day. Like if it is Wednesday and you want to talk about something that happened 2 days ago, you can say, "I did that on Monday." You can also say "this past Monday" to emphasize that you mean 2 days ago and not the previous week or next week.

  • I thought you would say "the last Tuesday". I am just speculating from the use of "the last week" vs. "last week". Using last week, month,year, means the previous *calendar period (w,m,y), but using last without "the" means the last period (w,m,y) counting back from the moment of speaking. – learner Jan 14 '14 at 17:44
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    No, maybe it's inconsistent, but that's not what people say. Yes, "last week" normally means the previous calendar week, while "the last week" means the preceding seven days. But no one says "I did that on the last Tuesday", it's just, "I did that last Tuesday." The only time I can think of when someone would say "the last Tuesday" is if the context indicates that we are specifying a specific Tuesday from some set, like "the last Tuesday in January" or "the last Tuesday on which there will be a full moon". – Jay Jan 14 '14 at 17:48
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    It's not uncommon for a Thursday conversation to include something like this: "Last Tuesday? You mean, two days ago? Or the week before that?" I don't know of any quick way to say it that will guarantee there will never be any confusion, or no questions whatsoever. – J.R. Jan 14 '14 at 19:00
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    Did you mean this Tuesday or last Tuesday? No, next Tuesday. So this coming Tuesday? Yeah, Tuesday next week. Ohhhh, you mean Tuuuesday. Oh wait, sorry; it's actually Friday. – choster Jan 14 '14 at 21:13

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