03 August 2010

Last Evening

I just read an e-mail message which included the following sentence:
Heartiest congratulations to Estate on their well-won victory at last evening’s UBD Inter-Faculty Futsal Tournament.
It would be easy to classify last evening as a mistake, as we don't say that in English. But why don't we? We can say last night and we can also refer to last Monday, last week, last month ... so why not last evening?

This seems to be one of those idiosyncratic features of English usage which are hard to explain. Furthermore, this is the sort of irregularity in the language which is likely to change over the course of time.

I predict that, in the future, the use of last evening will become perfectly standard. Furthermore, I believe that English usage in places such as Brunei will contribute to this kind of change, particularly by speeding up the process and thereby ironing out some of the irregularities.

In fact, the more I read that sentence about last evening, the more I am beginning to believe that it might in fact already be acceptable. Maybe it is my language that is out of date!

1 comment:

  1. I'd wondered about "last evening" for some time, and when I googled this expression, I found it was very common, particularly among American speakers. In fact, it seems to be regarded as an Americanism!

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