Last holiday/in the last holidays


Which structure would be used more often? Is there any difference in meaning between them?

I went to China last holiday.


I went to China in the last holidays.

I found the phrase in the holidays in Longman's Dictionary of Contemporary English. Never heard of it before.
  • BellaDancer

    Senior Member
    American and UK English are likely to be different here.

    In American English, neither of your sentences would be used.

    We would say,

    I went to China for my last vacation.

    I went to China during my last vacation.

    I went to China for the holidays.

    In US English, holiday is a celebration day, either civil or religious. Time off from your job is a vacation.

    For the holidays in US English usually means during the winter holiday season.

    For the holiday can refer to different holidays when one is specified in the context. For example, the week before our Independence Day, July 4, I might ask my friend, "Are you going away for the holiday?"


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    In BrE you would say 'on my last holiday' or 'for my last holiday', if you mean you 'went on holiday' (BrE) - that is, you spent several weeks there sightseeing or having fun. (These don't always mean exactly the same thing: for my last holiday I went camping; on my last holiday I met Jim's brother.)

    'The holidays' is the period of several weeks between school terms, when children stay at home. Of course, instead of staying at home, you can go on holiday in the holidays. I suppose you could say 'in the last holidays' to mean during the last school holiday period, but it doesn't sound natural to me. I would say 'in the last school holidays' if I meant that - I'm not sure why.