When giving English classes, we sometimes ask what our students did during the previous weekend or night. The typical response may go something like this:
The last weekend I went to my cousins house for dinner.
The last night I watched the soccer game.
The trouble is the use of the article THE. This mistake is common and easy to make. When we refer to a previous night, week, or month, we generally omit the article. In some cases, the use of the article can change the meaning of the sentence. Take a look at the difference between the following two sentences.
A.) The last night I watched the soccer game.
B.) Last night I watched the soccer game.
The first example can be unclear as to which night we are referring to because the article THE indicates that a particular night was mentioned in an earlier part of the conversation or in the case or order, we might list the nights in order of action. For example:
On the first night, I ate pizza. On the second night, I went to the movies. On the Last night, I watched the soccer game.
Example B is simply referring to the previous night.
Now for a brief reminder of the uses of the definite article THE. We use this article for
- nouns already mentioned or specified (I gave the document to him.)
- nouns that are one of a kind (Go ahead and look it up on the internet.)
- the superlative for of adjectives (She is the best worker.)