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Last second day or second last day? (second to last)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by hcjohnny, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. hcjohnny Senior Member

    Mandarin
    I understand the meaning of "last day", but I don't know how to say the day before the last day in the similar format.
    Should I say " last second day" or "second last day"?
    Thank you for your help.
     
  2. AprendoSiempre Senior Member

    North Carolina, USA
    American English (NC)
    The simplest way would probably be "the second-to-last day." I like this one best.
    Another possibility: "the next-to-last day."
    If you want to sound formal, you could say "the penultimate day."
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2009
  3. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I've also read "last day but one", but I think that might be more British English than American English.
     
  4. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Most common is 'second last day'. I'd understand 'last day but one' or 'penultimate', but these would be more marked.
     
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I don't say "second last", though I think I've heard it. "Last second" would be wrong.

    For me, it's "second-to-last day", "next-to-last day" or "last day but one". Or, if I'm being formal, "penultimate";)
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2009
  6. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I would understand second-to-last day but I wouldn't understand second last day to mean the same thing, and it would be an unusual use to me. I wonder if it's simply a regional difference.

    A second last day to me would be the last day of a second visit to the same place, for example. "On our first trip to Paris, last year, we spent our last day in the Louvre. This year I picked up a bad case of diarrhea and spent our second last day in Paris in the loo."
     
  7. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    In informal conversation: "The day before the last day."
     

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