“In The Last Month” vs. “Last Month” – Difference Explained

The expressions “In The Last Month” and “Last Month” are both used to refer to a specific time frame in the past, which is one month. This article will discuss the differences and similarities between each expression and provide explanations on how best to use them.

In The Last Month vs. Last Month

The phrase “in the last month” refers to a period of exactly one month in the past from the day the statement is made. On the other hand, “last month” simply means the month before the one in which the statement is being made. They cannot be used interchangeably. 

in the last month vs last month

You use “in the last month” when you are referring to a period of time that is exactly one month from the day you are making the statement. 

This means that if you are talking about the period between 12th of March and 12th of April, and today is 12th of April, you can use “in the last month. 

You use “last month” when you are referring to the previous month, that is, the month before the one in which you are making the statement. 

If this is April, and you are talking about something that happened in March, you can use the expression “last month”. 

The difference between both expressions is that “in the last month” refers to a specific time frame, while “last month” is less specific. 

What Does “In The Last Month” Mean?

“In the last month” refers to the previous one month before the statement is made. This period could mean four weeks or thirty days. When the phrase is used in a sentence, the speaker only wishes to refer to that specific period of time.

“In the last month” means the same thing as “in the last one month”, because they both refer to a period of one month.

Usually, when “in the last month” is used in a sentence, the verbs “have”, “had”, or “has” accompany it. 

Here are some examples of how to use “in the last month” in a sentence:

  1. I have only seen my mother twice in the last month.
  2. Stella told her brother that she had been to the carnival five times in the last month. 
  3. In the last month, nobody has heard anything about the incident. 
  4. You must tell the doctor if you have experienced any of those symptoms in the last month.
  5. Toni loves the new restaurant so much! She has been there thrice in the last month! 
  6. I don’t recall seeing any of these faces around here in the last month.

What Does “Last Month” Mean?

You use “last month” when you are making reference to the previous calendar month from the one in which you are speaking. Unlike “in the last month”, it does not imply a specific period of 30 days or four weeks. It refers to any day/period in the previous month

If it is the month of December and you are referring to November, you can say “last month”. This applies even if you speak on the 31st of December and refer to the period between that day and the 1st of November, which is more than one month. “Last month” simply means “last calendar month”. 

Here are some examples of how to use “last month” in a sentence:

  1. I called the tax office last month, and they promised to get back to me before the end of this month.
  2. The last time I spoke with my sister was last month.
  3. Even though my birthday was last month, you can still send me a present.
  4. Last month, you promised to return the car in good shape, but you have failed to do so.
  5. It’s hard to believe Rob still hasn’t found an apartment, and he has been hunting for one since last month. 
  6. Last month was a good month for my business.

Is “In Last Month” Correct?

The expression “In Last Month” is incorrect. When you want to make reference to the previous calendar month, you should say “in [month]”. You could say “in April” or “in September”. When you want to refer to the previous month, you should say “in the last month”. 

It is wrong to say “in last month” in any context. Not only does it sound wrong, it is also grammatically incorrect. It is correct to say “last month” without adding the word “in”. 

But if you must add it, then you must also add the article “the” to make the expression “in the last month”. So, while it is correct to say “I have not traveled in the last month” or “I did not travel last month”, it is incorrect to say “I have not traveled in last month”. 

Final Thoughts

You cannot use both phrases interchangeably because they mean different things. “In the last month” refers to the previous month, not specifically a particular month on the calendar. And “last month” refers to the previous calendar month, not just any random period of one month. 

You may also like: “In The Last Year” vs. “Last Year” vs. “In The Past Year” (+Preposition Guide)