I asked my teacher how to say "last question", to which she responded by "前の質問【しつもん】". However somehow I feel, 前の質問 refers more like "question that was asked earlier". Can anyone please explain how I can express and differentiate between the two expressions?

Some examples:

Type 1:

  1. The last time I gave you a chocolate, you said you didn't like them. (what happened now?)
  2. Did you complete the last book you took from the library?
  3. Have you guys figured the answer to the last question I gave you?

Type 2:

  1. I have shown you earlier how to solve this problem.
  2. Earlier you said you like her. (what happened now?)
  3. Earlier I used to do that too. (but not now)

More specifically, I am trying to differentiate between references which can mean "a time in the past without any particular reference as to when", and "a specific point in past where the last occurrence of something was there".

Additional Notes: I have read about using 最後【さいご】 to express "last time", but I believe it has a meaning of doing something for the last time (as in when did you meet her for the final time?). Here I do not mean any of the activities mentioned above, is for the final time only.

Edit: Any examples and explanation of 最後 usage to distinguish the nuances will also be highly appreciated.

1 Answer 1


You can use この前 to express the most recent occurrence relative to now.

Some examples :


How were your last exams?


Did you go to the last class?


He played golf last Sunday.


Where did we leave off last time?

To simply express something that occurred just recently you can use さっき


He went out just now.


Please forget what we talked about earlier.

To express something that happened lately you can use この間


The other day he bought a wallet made of kangaroo leather for me.

最後に can also be used to express the last time something happened


When did you see her last?

These are just expressions from the top of my head there are probably others used for different situations, the examples used are from Tangorin online dictionary.

  • So does "前の質問" mean question asked earlier?
    – Steel
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 3:36
  • 前の質問 means the previous question
    – Ryan
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 3:38
  • and by previous do you mean exactly the last occurrence or it can be any previously asked question?
    – Steel
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 3:41
  • 3
    I think it basically expresses antecedence not necessarily the last occurrence but it may depending on the context.
    – Ryan
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 3:52

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