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Please help me to understand the exact meaning of "last" in the text below.

"On Friday morning last there occurred in the sawmill operation of Douds Factory a particularly ghastly and tragic accident."

"Casting away" by Alice munro

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    Most of the time, you'll see this as: Last Friday morning, there occurred.... If today is Monday the 15th, last Friday morning usually refers to Friday the 12th. – J.R. Mar 28 '14 at 21:22
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I'm not sure, but as I understand, in your sentence, the word "last" is an adjective, because you can replace with "Last Friday morning, there occurred...". It means the "most recent" Friday. I think you might better understand if you add a comma in this sentence:

On Friday morning last, there occurred...
-- when it happened, -- what it happened --

When you use the adjective form, "last" is for the most recent thing until now / just before the present, its use is to determinate when. This word has three conditions:

ADJ: being, happening, or coming at the end or after all others/being or occurring just before the present; most recent - This is the last day of the month / Last evening, last Thursday, ...

ADV: after all others; at or in the end; most recently - He came last when I called everyone (after everyone) / He was last seen in the mountains (most recently)

N: a person or thing that is last - The last loses one dollar!

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    I don't think so. Friday last is just a stylised/affected/dated variant of last Friday, whjich makes it an adjective, not an adverb. – FumbleFingers Mar 28 '14 at 23:00
  • @FumbleFingers you're propably right, I've just seen this in another dictionary: "adj.: being or occurring just before the present; most recent". In the question it's before now and you can replace by "Last Friday...". I updated my answer, thank you. – Fllo Mar 28 '14 at 23:34
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    @Filo: You're still wrong! It's not "the last Friday morning" (unless you're talking about a series of Friday mornings, of which this particular one is the last). In this context, last simply identifies the one before the current [Friday], just as next identifies the one after the current one. Where the current one means the Friday occuring in the current week. – FumbleFingers Mar 29 '14 at 3:04
  • @FumbleFingers, fortunately, you're here. Thanks a lot for explanations! – Fllo Mar 29 '14 at 8:42
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    @Fllo +1 for a great attitude. – Jolenealaska Mar 29 '14 at 8:56

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