Let's say today is September the first, 2020 and I want say that I did something in the summer of 2019. I cannot say I went on vacation last summer because even though the summer of 2020 has just ended, it would still reffered to the summer of 2020,right? What would be the most natural way to refer to the summer of 2019, when I am in September the first 2020? Do the following sound natural?

I went on vacation in the summer before last.

I went on vacation in the summer last year.

  • The most natural would be "last summer", but all of these are grammatically acceptable. – Corsaka Jan 31 '20 at 14:47
  • I would simply refer to this as I went on vacation last summer – Matthew Jan 31 '20 at 15:17
  • This summer is the summer of the current year, so the previous year's is last summer. To make it absolutely clear you could say in the summer of last year. – Kate Bunting Jan 31 '20 at 15:50
  • As I write, the summer before last refers to summer 2018, whereas all the other variants refer to summer 2019 (except this summer, which will be later in 2020). – FumbleFingers Jan 31 '20 at 16:28
  • I am sorry, but I am really confused. So if it is September the first 2020 and I say "I went on vacation last summer", it means I went on vacation in the summer of 2019, not the summer of 2020 that just ended. Am I right? – Dmytro O'Hope Jan 31 '20 at 17:25

In your context, Last summer refers to summer from a previous year. For instance, an article Donald Trump touted Apple manufacturing jobs in Austin on Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know. created on November 20, 2019 refers to an event from 2018 and uses last summer to describe that summer:

Last summer, the company signed the Trump administration’s Pledge to America’s Workers and committed to creating 10,000 training opportunities for American workers and students over the next five years.

This summer refers to summer from a current year. For example, an article Trump Ukraine pressure campaign was ‘a domestic political errand,’ from November, 2019 refers to the 2019 summer as this summer:

Hill recalled an argument she had this summer with Gordon Sondland, Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, who was by then deeply involved in a secretive effort to get Ukraine to launch investigations.

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