If you’re looking for the correct phrase to use when talking about what happened the night before, you might be torn between using “yesterday night” and “last night.”
Which is Correct: “Yesterday Night” or “Last Night”?
When determining the correct phrase to use when discussing the previous night, both “yesterday night” and “last night” are correct. “Last night” is used more, sounding more natural and feeling as though the events happened a short time ago. Using “yesterday night” sounds more formal.
The phrase “last night” came about during the 1800s when Shakespeare was still alive and was very common in everyday conversation. Alternatively, “yesterday night” didn’t come about until after Shakespeare had passed away.
Before “yesterday night” was introduced, “yesternight” was a common phrase. When this phrase eventually fell out of the common conversation and “yesterday night” came to be, “last night” was too common of a phrase for it to become the dominant one used.
What Does “Last Night” Mean?
“Last night” is a phrase used to refer to the time in the late evening, usually after 7 pm, until the early morning hours, usually around 4 am of the previous day. This phrase is used to talk about something that happened the night before the current day.
You can use “last night” when you’re referring to somewhere you went, something you did, or any number of things as long as they happened the night before. It isn’t correct to use “last night” when you’re talking about something you did during the current day or earlier the day before.
Using the phrase “last night” allows you to give your listener or reader a broad time frame for events that took place the night before.
If you are unsure of how to use the phrase “last night” in a sentence, you can look at these sentences for some correct examples of its use.
- He forgot to wash the dishes last night.
- I didn’t hear you come home last night.
- She went to the store last night to pick up groceries for the week.
- The seminar I attended on the latest medical research into migraines ran late last night.
- Last night I put the leftovers from dinner in the fridge.
- The two of them got off of their flight last night and went to a hotel to sleep.
- Isabelle and Louis were supposed to come to my party last night, but they both canceled at the last minute.
Is it Acceptable to Use “Yesterday Night”?
It is perfectly acceptable to use “yesterday night” in a sentence. It is less commonly used as it sounds too formal for casual conversation because “last night” has been commonly used for over 200 years.
What Does “Yesterday Night” Mean?
“Yesterday night” is used to reference or refer to a period of time from the evening of the day before into the early morning hours, typically spanning from around 7 pm to around 4 am. This phrase gives your reader or listener a rough idea of the time frame you are talking to them about.
This phrase came into use after the phrase “yesternight” was phased out of common speech during the mid-1800s. Due to the fact that “yesternight” and “yesterday night” are quite similar, it never picked up enough traction to become extremely regularly used.
You should avoid using “yesterday night” when referring to something that happened earlier in the day yesterday or when referring to something that happened during your current day as “yesterday night” is used to describe past events that happened during the night.
Here are some great examples of how to use the phrase “yesterday night” correctly in a sentence.
- Yesterday night I made reservations for us to eat at that new restaurant that opened.
- Were you able to meet up with Deborah yesterday night?
- I spent yesterday night camping out in the woods under the stars.
- That dinner party you hosted yesterday night was absolutely amazing and we need to have one again sometime soon.
- Why didn’t you give the kids a bath yesterday night?
- I wanted to go see a movie at the drive-in theater yesterday night but it started raining so they closed early.
- I almost forgot to mail out those letters you gave me, but I remembered to send them out yesterday night before I went to bed.
Why Do We Say “Last Night” and Not “Last Morning”?
“Last night” works in the English language because the time span when talking about “last night” only specifically references the night before. When you say “last morning”, there could be two different mornings you are referring to based on the time of day, as the last morning could have been the current day’s morning and not yesterday’s morning.
If you say “last morning” you could be talking about the morning that happened yesterday or the morning that happened today, making your listener unsure of when you mean. Saying “last night” only gives on time you could mean.
What is the Difference Between “Last Night” and “Yesterday Evening”?
The difference between “last night” and “yesterday evening” is the amount of time they cover. “Last night” refers to the times around 7 pm to 4 am the night before whereas “yesterday evening” refers to 6 pm to 9 pm the night before.
“Last night” and “yesterday evening” can share the same time, but have different time spans. Saying “last night” gives your listener a wider range for the events you are discussing to have occurred, whereas using “yesterday evening” gives them a more specific time frame.
You may also like: Last Evening or Yesterday Evening – Which Is Correct?
Does “Tonight’ and “Last Night” Mean the Same Thing?
“Tonight” and “last night” do not mean the same thing. “Last night” refers to the time the night before whereas “tonight refers to the night that on the current day that hasn’t yet happened.
When you use the word “tonight” you are talking about something that has yet to happen. When using the phrase “last night” you are talking about something that has already happened and is now in the past.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.