Here is a question for you. How do you translate these?
- The last Saturday in October
- The last two people
- Last Saturday
- Last time
The answers are:
- 10 gatsu no saigo no doyobi
- saigo no futari
- senshu no doyobi, kono mae no doyobi
- zenkai, kono mae no toki
You can translate “last” two different ways, but the difference is simple when you compare them. “The last” (the antonym of “the first”) is “saigo no”; and “last” (the antonym of “next”) is “kono mae no”.
the last (saigo no) ⇔ the first (saisho no)
last (kono mae no) ⇔ next (tsugi no)When you confuse “saigo no” and “kono mae no”, it’s good to think of the antonym of the “last” that you’re using in English.
However, both work on this English sentence:
When was the last time you went to an onsen?
saigo ni onsen ni itta no wa itsu des ka?
kono mae onsen ni itta no wa itsu des ka?