Last Thanksgiving

Would “last Thanksgiving” at the end of 2014 refer to November 27, 2014 or November 27, 2013? Technically, the most recent Thanksgiving would be the former but the Thanksgiving in the last year would be the latter. What about in January of 2015?

Answer

In a context where particular precision might be expected, “last Thanksgiving” would be taken to mean Thanksgiving 2014 from the next day on.

Generally though, it would still be taken as referring to 2013 on that date.

There is no clear rule about when “last X” changes from meaning “the X before the current one” and “the current X” replaces it as the “last X”.

Around now, it would be rather ambiguous; it’s over a month ago on the one hand (encouraging us to consider 2014 as “last Thanksgiving”) but it’s in the same year and indeed the same holiday season as that on the other hand (encouraging us to consider 2013 as “last Thanksgiving”).

There’s also a big mental difference between someone whose social activity has been very much concentrated very much first on Thanksgiving and then on the build up to Christmas followed by Christmas itself, for whom “this Thanksgiving” is still much of a concept, compared to someone who last November noticed “oh, the Americans are doing that thing were they eat turkey a month too early” and thought little more of it.

The first such person might well consider November 28, 2013 as “last Thanksgiving” and the latter would consider “wasn’t it some time in November?” as “last Thanksgiving”.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Ahaan S. Rungta , Answer Author : Jon Hanna

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