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Somone commented on a post about the episode 3 of a serie that was released the same day as the post.

This comment used the phrase "the last 2 episodes". And because the post was about the current episode i thought the comment was talking about the previous 2 episodes.

But in truth is was referring to the current one and the previous.

Is that a correct understanding of the phrase "the last x", is the correct understanding the mention of only the previous instances or its too vague how it was phrased in that specific post?

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    Without seeing the actual sentence it's hard to say whether it was vague, but both interpretations are possible.
    – tgdavies
    Commented Jan 23 at 5:50
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    "Now that I've seen episode 3, I think the last two episodes are the best" (2 and 3) "Episode 3, unlike the last two episodes, is dark." (1 and 2) "previous two episodes" would be clearer.
    – tgdavies
    Commented Jan 23 at 8:32
  • Both meanings are in the dictionary
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 23 at 9:54

1 Answer 1

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Both meanings are standard dictionary definitions of last. Merriam-Webster's meanings of last include:

1 following all the rest

2 next before the present : most recent

Hence if there are 10 episodes of a show, but only 3 have been shown, then episode 10 is the last by definition 1, but 3 is the last by definition 2.

If you want to avoid the ambiguity, you can use "final episode(s)" for meaning 1 and "most recent episode(s)" for meaning 2.

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