I have heard the following answer from native speaker.

The first time when I drove was at driving school.

So I applied that to write a sentence like this.

Dracula when I saw was the latest/last movie.

Is this sentence wrong? If yes, what is wrong and what should be modified?

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    The first time i drove was at the driving school. (when is not needed and 'the' is necessary) – Leo Oct 30 '14 at 12:55
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    what do you want me to modify? could u be a bit specific ? – Leo Oct 30 '14 at 12:59
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    @Leo, I don't agree that "the" is necessary. – Millie Smith Oct 30 '14 at 16:29
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    Why make it complex? When I drove [vehicle] for the very first time, I was 20! OR I was 20, when I drove a vehicle for the very first time. – Maulik V Oct 31 '14 at 6:45
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    I'm sorry. None! Try to understand The first driving is not a good phrase in this context! You got it? – Maulik V Oct 31 '14 at 7:29

The two sentence are not at all written in a similar way!

The first time when I drove was at driving school.

That is built up a bit like: (some instance) when (I did something) was (at a specific place)


Dracula when I saw was the latest movie.

Is built up more like: (the object I did something with) when (I did something) was (a special kind of object)

It is possible to form a sentence the way you did, with some minor changes:

Dracula, when I saw it, was the latest movie.

This sentence is very different from your example: the main clause is "Dracula was the latest movie". This was true "when I saw it". You can move that indication of time around:

When I saw it, Dracula was the latest movie.
Dracula was the latest movie when I saw it.

If latest was not meant to be used, then your sentence needs a bit more work!

Dracula when I saw was the last movie.

If you want to say that after Dracula you did not see any other movies, this sentence makes, I'm afraid, very little sense. The easiest way to say what you mean is then:

Dracula was the last movie I saw.

There is no good way to include when in that sentence. You use when to indicate a time at which something happened - but you are not saying that at all! You are not saying anything about when you saw the movie, you only want to say it was the last one you saw.

There is absolutely no way to form a sentence that looks even a little bit like your original example sentence that would simply say "Dracula was the last movie I saw". The original sentence says when something happened, and where it happened. You are not saying when you saw the movie or where you saw the movie.

You could say:

The first time when I saw Dracula was at home.

But that says two things you never mentioned :) And it does not say it was the last movie you saw!

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    latest means newest, so your sentence means that when you saw the movie, it was the newest movie. – oerkelens Oct 30 '14 at 13:35
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    Last and latest simply have a different meaning. :) "Dracula, when I saw IT, was the last movie I saw" is grammatically correct, but it makes no sense: every movie was the last movie you saw, at the time that you saw it. – oerkelens Oct 30 '14 at 13:51
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    I never wrote "Dracula when I saw was the last movie", I hope. Removing when from that sentence: "Dracula I saw was the last movie" means that you noticed Dracula was the last movie. (In a line of movies??) Please try to understand how to say what you want to say first. You are now throwing words in a random order, making all kinds of sentences that mean completely different things... try to start at the basics. Just try to say what you want to say. You do not have to become a poet immediately, saying the same thing in 50 ways! – oerkelens Oct 30 '14 at 13:54
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    I'm sorry, I keep telling you correct sentences, you keep throwing incorrect ones back at me. Please, at least make an effort to look at the corrections. I added an IT to your sentence it was not for fun, it was not because I like the word, it was because it has to be there. You then take it out again and ask me if it is correct. No. If the sentence was correct without the IT I would not have added IT. Please read my last comment again. Please read it very carefully and try to understand the advice I am giving you there. – oerkelens Oct 30 '14 at 14:17
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    It is just it. But you seemed to be missing it whenever I added it:) – oerkelens Oct 30 '14 at 15:54

The sentence

The first time when I drove was at driving school.

consists of the subject "the first time when I drove" (a noun phrase referring to a past event), the copula "was", and the subject complement "at driving school" (an adverbial phrase describing a time and/or a place). That is to say, it has the same overall structure as, say, the following sentences:

The box was on the table.
The party was at John's house.
My birthday was last week.

The subject "the first time when I drove" is probably best analyzed as a single unit — specifically, as an instance of the idiomatic pattern "the [ordinal] time (when) [something happens]", as in:

the second time (when) Alice rode a bicycle
the next time (when) I go to France
the last time (when) it rained here

(In all these phrases, the word "when" is optional; the choice whether to use it or not is a matter of personal preference. I would usually omit it, since I find that to sound more natural, but sometimes including it can reduce ambiguity.)

What about your sentence, then?

** Dracula when I saw was the latest/last movie.

This sentence would seem to have the same overall subject–copula–complement structure as above. However, the putative subject, "Dracula when I saw", is not a meaningful or even a syntactically valid noun phrase, so the sentence is not grammatical.

When you meant to write, as suggested by oerkelens in their answer, is presumably something like:

Dracula, when I saw it, was the latest movie.


When I saw it, Dracula was the latest movie.

or even:

Dracula was the latest movie when I saw it.

In all of these sentences, the subject (of the main clause) is simply "Dracula". The dependent clause "when I saw it" is not a part of the subject here, but simply augments the entire sentence to indicate that it applies to a specific time in the past.

Note that the word "it" within this dependent clause is required, since the verb "saw" normally requires a direct object. Here, this object is the same as the subject of the main clause ("Dracula"), so we can simply refer to it using the pronoun "it". Of course, one could also write, say:

* When I saw Dracula, Dracula was the latest movie.

but such repetition sounds very awkward, and should normally be avoided.

As for whether to use "latest" or "last" here, I would use "latest", since it specifically means "newest" or "most recent", which is presumably the sense you intended here.

The problem with using "last" here is that it leaves the sentence ambiguous — it doesn't specify of which set of movies Dracula was the last one. Some plausible ways to continue the sentence, in order to make it unambiguous, might include:

...the last movie shown that day.
...the last movie I watched before going home.
...the last movie released that year.

Alas, none of those really match your (presumably) intended meaning, although the last one comes close. You could say something like:

* When I saw it, Dracula was the last movie released so far.

but, while understandable, using "last" like that (referring to a time interval that ends at the time being described) doesn't really sound correct to my ear. It would be much better to replace it with, say, "newest" or "most recent" or, indeed, "latest".

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  • Hi. I have simple questions. 1. I want to say that the movie is last movie then how to I write? "Dracula was last movie I saw" is this right? – Carter Oct 31 '14 at 11:15
  • And what if after Dracula I did not see any movie, then how can I say? 2." Dracula was last movie when I saw it" is right? – Carter Oct 31 '14 at 11:19
  • What is different between 1 and 2? Also if you can please make sentence own yours. – Carter Oct 31 '14 at 11:20
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    If you want to say that you did not see any other movie after Dracula, then you may say e.g. "Dracula was the last movie I saw." Here, the subject is "Dracula", and the complement is "the last movie (that) I saw", in which the relative clause "(that) I saw" augments the complement "the last movie". You do not need "when I saw it" here, since it's completely redundant here (and, in fact, it makes the sentence tautological: any movie is the last movie you saw when you just saw it). – Ilmari Karonen Oct 31 '14 at 14:07
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    If you mean to say that, at the time when you saw it, Dracula was the latest movie to be released, then you could say "Dracula was the latest movie when I saw it." just like above. But honestly, I'm not even sure any more if that's actually what you mean by "latest" here. – Ilmari Karonen Oct 31 '14 at 15:37

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