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Dernier = final / previous (adjectives that change meaning according to position)

Look at these examples:

La semaine dernière, je suis allée skier.
Last week, I went skiing.

Pendant la dernière semaine de mes exams, je suis tombé malade.
During the final week of my exams, I got sick.

Les derniers jours de l'année sont toujours plus courts.
The last days of the year are always shorter.

Les jours derniers, j'étais un peu malade.
These last days, I was a bit ill.

Dernier/Dernière means last/previous when it comes after the noun, but last (ever)/final if it comes before the noun.

Note that as an adjective, dernier agrees in gender and number with the noun it refers to.


Special case of la fois dernière / la dernière fois = (the) last time

To express last time  (previous)

When last time is used on its own, you can use either la fois dernière or la dernière fois indifferently in French,
BUT
When last time is followed by a clause (last time I saw you), you can only use la dernière fois, and never la fois dernière.

Tu étais encore avec Stéphane la fois dernière.
You were still with Stéphane last time.

Tu étais encore avec Stéphane la dernière fois.
You were still with Stéphane last time.

Tu étais encore avec Stéphane la dernière fois que je t'ai vue.
You were still with Stéphane last time I saw you.


To express the last time  (final)

You always use la dernière fois .

C'est la dernière fois que je t'amène avec moi !
This is the last time I take you with me!

Prends-moi sur tes épaules ! -D'accord, mais c'est la dernière fois.
Take me on your shoulders! -OK, but this is the last time.

 

See also: 

Ancien = former / old (adjectives that change meaning according to position) 

Cher= dear / expensive (adjectives that change meaning according to position) 

Certain = specific / sure (adjectives that change meaning according to position) 

Propre = own / clean (adjectives that change meaning according to position)

Vrai = real / true (adjectives that change meaning according to position)  

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Tu étais encore avec Stéphane la fois dernière.
You were still with Stéphane last time.


C'est la dernière fois que je t'amène avec moi !
This is the last time I take you with me!


Les derniers jours de l'année sont toujours plus courts.
The last days of the year are always shorter.


Prends-moi sur tes épaules ! -D'accord, mais c'est la dernière fois.
Take me on your shoulders! -OK, but this is the last time.


Pendant la dernière semaine de mes exams, je suis tombé malade.
During the final week of my exams, I got sick.


Tu étais encore avec Stéphane la dernière fois que je t'ai vue.
You were still with Stéphane last time I saw you.


La semaine dernière, je suis allée skier.
Last week, I went skiing.


Tu étais encore avec Stéphane la dernière fois.
You were still with Stéphane last time.


Les jours derniers, j'étais un peu malade.
These last days, I was a bit ill.


Q&A

Theresa-Marie

Kwiziq community member

14 May 2018

1 reply

(question continued) end with: ... je t'ai vu."? N'est pas?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

15 May 2018

15/05/18

Hi Theresa-Marie,


... la dernière fois que je t'ai vu(e). -- The last time I saw you.


Her the direct object (te) comes before the participle (vu, vue). In this case the participle needs to match the direct object in gender and number. Therefore, if the speaker is addressing a female, i.e., "te" refers to a female, the participle needs to be vue.


Same sentence, different direct object:


...la dernière fois que je les ai vus. -- The last time I saw them.


"Les" is masculine (or mixed gender) plural, which makes vu becume vus.


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Theresa-Marie

Kwiziq community member

14 May 2018

2 replies

In your example: "Tu étais encore avec Stéphane la dernière fois que je t'ai vue." isn't the past participle of voir 'vu'? If so, the sentence should

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

16 May 2018

16/05/18

Hi Theresa- Marie,


As we don't know who the t' refers to it could be either.


Should probably say 'vu(e)'. Will let Aurélie know...

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

16 May 2018

16/05/18

Bonjour Theresa-Marie !


Yes indeed, "vue" implies that the person addressed here (tu) is a woman.


Have a look at our related lesson on agreement with "avoir":


https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/special-cases-when-the-past-participle-agrees-in-number-and-gender-when-used-with-avoir-in-le-passe-compose-conversational-past


Bonne journée !

Michael

Kwiziq community member

8 February 2018

1 reply

Dernière fois que

Un quizz demande traduire "C'était la dernière fois que tu m'as dit que tu m'aimais." Il y a deux réponses: 1. ... last time you told me you loved me. 2. ... last time THAT you told me you loved me. To me, those 2 responses have the same meaning in English. The 'that' adds nothing, but neither is it incorrect. Specifically, neither answer disambiguates between "the last (most recent) time" and"the last (ever) time. The word 'that' in English is often just a filler and does not convey additional meaning. Je ne comprends bien encore.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

9 February 2018

9/02/18

Hi Michael,


I believe you are focusing on the wrong word here. The issue is not about "that" but about whether it is "the last time" (as in last week) or "the last time" (as in the final and last time).


"C'était la dernière fois que tu m'as dit que tu m'aimais." -- That was the last time you told me that you loved me. (There won't be a next time.)


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Michael

Kwiziq community member

18 January 2018

1 reply

Dernière fois

I got this wrong: "C'était la dernière fois que tu m'as dit que tu m'aimais." means: Mauvais: It was last time that you told me you loved me. Correcte: It was the last time you told me you loved me Was it the last of several times and in that last time 'tu m'a dit que tu m'aimais.' Or... Was it the last time (of several times 'tu m'a dit que tu m'aimais') ? The former implies something like 'in our last meeting you told me you loved me.' The latter implies the final time you told me you love me (and you have not since) Me me suis perplexe.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 January 2018

19/01/18

According to a native French speaker "la fois dernière" sounds stilted and is hardly ever used. She would use "la dernière fois" to express both meanings: the last time ever, as well as the last time in an ongoing succession.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Lisa

Kwiziq community member

6 July 2017

1 reply

So this is the most confusing ever! Is it this:

Lisa

Kwiziq community member

6 July 2017

6/07/17

I am no good with buttons, this is the second question I have pressed too soon! Is it 1/ absolutely everything has "dernier" going after, EXCEPT 2/ if meaning a previous something, unless that previous something is a previous "fois"..

Kenneth

Kwiziq community member

3 January 2017

2 replies

So "la fois dernière" and "la dernière fois" are interchangeable

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

3 January 2017

3/01/17

Bonjour Kenneth !

They are interchangeable when used on their own (meaning without a "que" clause) and only to mean "last time".
To express "the last time" (i.e. no more time after this), you can only use "la dernière fois".

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne Année !

Jane

Kwiziq community member

13 February 2018

13/02/18

The problem with this is in the English answers -- they don't make the necessary distinction between whether it's the FINAL time or the most RECENT time.
"C'était la dernière fois que tu m'as dit que tu m'aimais."

The answer choices are:

It was last time that you told me you loved me.
It was the last time you told me you loved me.

In English, these sentences have the same meaning. So the quiz should be rewritten to provide an answer that it's the FINAL time. As is, there is no distinction between the two sentences.

Getting that for you now.