When is "next Saturday", "next Wednesday" or "this Wednesday" - next, this, coming, following xxxday or month? (Also discusses "last Monday".

Discussion in 'English Only' started by panjandrum, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Today is Thursday 7 July.
    People say that we should meet "this Saturday" meaning Saturday 9 July or we should meet "next Saturday" meaning Saturday 16 July.

    But the Saturday coming "next" is 9 July:confused:

    My questions:
    What is the date of this Saturday? Local answer is 9 July
    What is the date of next Saturday? Local answer is 16 Julyl
     
  2. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    čeština
    Well, people simply think in terms of weeks...

    Jana
     
  3. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    (1) I'd say "this Saturday (approching)"
    (2) I'd use "the Saturday after next"
     
  4. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo Mod Chicken

    Arizona
    American English
    If you say "Let's meet this Saturday," it's clear that you mean July 9th. If you say "Let's meet next Saturday," many people will understand you to mean July 16th. Many other people, however, will understand you to mean July 9th, since (as you say) it is the next Saturday on the calendar. Sometimes they will ask you, "Do you mean this Saturday or next Saturday?" or "Do you mean next Saturday, or the Saturday after next?"

    Each person is different, though, so take this as one person's opinion. :)

    What is this Saturday's date? It's July 9th.
    What is next Saturday's date? It's July 16th.

    Some AE corrections there.

    Saludos.
     
  5. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Ooops....:eek:
     
  7. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    psst... just say you didn't know search was working again... how were you supposed to know?
     
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Thanks - I'll try that. I mean, how was I supposed to find a thread about this winter when I am confused about next Saturday.

    Sorry mod. I did not know that this topic had been raised before.
    I did not know that the search facility was working again.
    I am innocent.

    I think I got away with it this time. Thanks Kelly B. I could not have done it without your help.
     
  9. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    You weren't. :)

    That's why I posted a link to it. For anyone interested to see what had been said previously. :cool:

    Damn! I just can't make out that small print. I wish I knew what they were whispering about... :p
     
  10. jess oh seven

    jess oh seven Senior Member

    Scotland
    UK/US, English
    it completely depends on the person and their way of thinking - it has little to do with the language! :) i have friends who think "next Saturday" is this one coming, and ones who think that it means the one after this one coming! :)

    but I would say:
    this Saturday = the Saturday that's coming first
    next Saturday = the second Saturday
     
  11. matar0 Senior Member

    Salerno
    Italian, Italy
    In my view “next” is used for a singular temporal unit (a singular noun) otherwise “coming” or “following” are used

    What if he doesn't study hard in the next month?
    -If he doesn't study hard in the
    next month, he cannot be promoted

    (By the way is it correct to put "in" in the above sentences?)


    What if he doesn't study hard in the next coming/following months?
    -If he doesn't study hard in the next
    coming/following months, he cannot be promoted.
     
  12. User1001 Senior Member

    American English

    After this project, the following project will be even more difficult! :tick:
    This coming Friday, I'll be hanging out with some babes. :tick:
    Next month, I will be in school. :tick:

    I don't think there really are any set rules for using those three words. They can just be inverted in certain scenarios. Maybe those three examples I gave you can be applied to your question.

    And also, next/coming/following would all work for your first sentence:

    • What if he doesn't study hard in the next month? :tick:
    • What if he doesn't study hard in the coming month? :tick:
    • What if he doesn't study hard in the following month? :tick:
     
  13. maxiogee Senior Member

    imithe
    I would always be very cautious of being as absolutist as to say "cannot".

    As to "in" — although strictly speaking it only means "at some time in" it is used to mean "during" with overtones of "continuation".
    The sentence could stand without it — If he doesn't study hard next month, he will not be promoted.
     
  14. matar0 Senior Member

    Salerno
    Italian, Italy
    You all say that there is no difference between these words, but is it correct to say:
    What if he doesn't study hard in the next months ?
     
  15. Dalanis Junior Member

    Mexico City
    Spanish, Mexico
    Hello!

    The way I understand it from working with Americans and Canadians for 13 years is as follows. They refer to "coming" when they are talking about the current period, for example "We're meeting this coming Friday", means the Friday of this week. When they say "We're meeting the following Friday" they are referring to the Friday of next week, therefore, "We're meeting next Friday" also means, the Friday of next week.

    Hope this helps,
     
  16. User1001 Senior Member

    American English
    That sounds fine, but you would hear it more commonly said like this: "What if he doesn't study hard in the coming months?"
     
  17. supercyxo

    supercyxo Junior Member

    Washington State
    English, United States
    Sounds odd, but it works. It is more appropriate to give some idea of time, such as "What if he doesn't study hard in the next few months?" Also, next, coming and following are synonyms and can be used interchangeably, but "coming" is used best when relating to this very month, whereas "next" & "following" can be used when relating to this month or any other previously noted month.
     
  18. Snowman75

    Snowman75 Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Australia (English)
    "following" is only used if you have already established a time period in the past or the future (not the present) and you are talking about something that happens relative to that time period.

    "coming" will always be interpreted as relative to the present if possible. Only when this interpretation is impossible will it be synonymous with "following".

    Compare:

    (1) "In 3 months time I'm going to Italy. The following month I'm going to Germany."
    (2) "In 3 months time I'm going to Italy. The coming month I'm going to Germany."

    In (1) I am going to Germany in 4 months time. In (2) I am going to Germany in 1 month.

    But, if we move everything to the past tense:

    (3) "3 months ago I went to Italy. The following month I went to Germany."
    (4) "3 months ago I went to Italy. The coming month I went to Germany."

    In (4) "coming" cannot be interpreted relative to the present because we've used a verb in the past tense. That means it has the same meaning as "following" and so (3) and (4) mean the same thing.

    "next" normally works the same way as "following", however it can also be used in some special ways that make it the same as "coming". For example you can sometimes use it without an article:

    (5) "In 3 months time I'm going to Italy. The next month I'm going to Germany."
    (6) "In 3 months time I'm going to Italy. Next month I'm going to Germany."

    Here (5) = (1) and (6) = (2). In other words, "the next month" = "the following month", but "next month" = "the coming month". However there are only a limited number of ways you can use "next" to mean "coming", for example you cannot say "in next month":cross: or "next months" (without the article):cross: .

    Another special use of "next" is in phrases such as "the next few months", "the next 5 months" etc. - in these phrases it normally has the meaning of "coming", but it could have the meaning of "following" depending on the context.

    "The next few weeks will be difficult"

    Here "next" has the same meaning as "coming".

    "I'm going to Italy in 3 months. For the next 4 weeks I'll get to experience Italian culture first hand"

    Here the "next" could mean either "coming" or "following", but it will probably be interpreted as "following" because that's the only thing that makes sense in the context of the trip to Italy.

    And one final example:

    "We started a big project at this time last year. The next few months were difficult."

    Here there is no ambiguity because "were difficult" is in the past tense. In this sentence the words "following", "coming" and "next" really are interchangeable.

    Hmm... this is all much more complicated than I realised. There are probably even more rules that I haven't mentioned. I hope all this hasn't been too confusing.
     
  19. Snowman75

    Snowman75 Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Australia (English)
    If someone said to me "we're meeting the following Friday", I'd respond with "following what?". "following" only makes sense if there is some other time period (besides the present) that has already been established. "I'm sending an email out next Wednesday and we're meeting the following Friday".
     
  20. matar0 Senior Member

    Salerno
    Italian, Italy
    I learnt that there is a clear difference in meaning amomg "next, coming and following" , but I also learnt that people in speaking tend to ignore the rules and to use them interchangeably.
    Here is the rule I took in:
    Next:
    usually used as a synonym of "following" for a singular-noun time period, :
    Let's see next month (= if now it is March, we are seeing sometime in April)
    Let's see next Friday (= whatever day it is today, on Friday of next week)
    "In 3 months' time I'm going to Italy. The next(=the following) month I'm going to Germany."

    Although the context anyway steers you in the right direction, it should be incorrect to form sentences like:
    "In 3 months' time I'm going to Italy. The next months I'm staying there to work as a bankclerk."

    And:
    "In 3 months time I'm going to Italy. Next month I'm going to Germany."

    It is clear that in the first sentence we mean "following" and in the second one we mean "coming", but as a rule these are an incorrect usages of "next" (in the first sentence we are using "next" for a plural time unit, while in the second sentence we are using "next" as a synonym of "coming" whereas it is as a rule always a synonym of "following", and so if we were strict grammarians we should consider the meaning of that "next"="following", and so we should consider that I'm going to Germany in 4 months' time) and so we should avoid them (please give me a confirmation of that).
    The only exception to the rule is the fixed expression "the next few months", in which we have a plural time unit and "next" accompanied by "few" exceptionally means "coming" and not "following".

    Coming:
    Often strenghtened by "this" which is put before "coming", must be interpreted as relative to the present. It can be used both for singular and plural time units :
    "We're meeting (this/the) coming Friday", means the Friday of this week
    "In 3 months time I'm going to Italy. The coming month I'm going to Germany." , means I am going to Germany in 1 month's time.
    "In 3 months time I'm going to Italy. The coming two months I'm going to Germany." , means I am going to Germany in 2 months' time.


    "Coming" never acts as synonym of "following". For instance in the sentence:
    "We started a big project at this time last year. The next(=following) months were difficult."
    In this sentence "next", "following" and "coming" can't be used interchangeably. "next"="following" can be used interchangeably to mean the months after the beginning of the project. "coming"="the next few" can be used interchangeably to mean the future months with respect to the present.
    "We started a big project at this time last year. The coming(=the next few) months are difficult."


    Following:
    "following" is only used if you have already established a time period in the past or the future (not the present) and you are talking about something that happens relative to that time period:

    I had a very relaxing holiday, but I would study hard the following month.
    I had a very relaxing holiday, but I would study hard the following months.
    meaning the months after the holiday.

    Finally, is it correct to say:
    I will study hard in the months following the classwork. ??


    P.S. I wrote this message with reference to my previous thread http://forum.wordreference.com/showpost.php?p=1364840
    and espacially to the message of Snowman http://forum.wordreference.com/showpost.php?p=1364840&postcount=7

    Thank you Very Much
     
  21. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Here are a few selective personal comments.
    Don't assume that everyone will understand that.
    Check out [...] the link in post #5.

    I see nothing wrong with that? OK so normally I would write these sentences the other way round, but it is perfectly clear as written. I am going to Italy in ... January. I am going to Germany in November.

    Coming ... ?
    I would say coming is always collocated with this - this coming Friday, this coming week etc - and is always used with a singular time period.
    It is used sparingly, but specifically to avoid the confusion created by next Friday etc.

    The following should be related to a future point in time (or to future in the past).
    I had a very relaxing holiday, but I would study hard the following month(s). That doesn't work for me.
    I will study hard in the months following the classwork. ?? That is OK.
    I agreed that I would study hard in the months following the classwork. Also OK.

    Finally, I'm not sure why you didn't attach your summary to the existing thread.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008
  22. Snowman75

    Snowman75 Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Australia (English)
    Hi matar0,

    I'm not sure whether your intention was to restate the rules from my previous post, or whether you disagree with some of them. The rules as you've stated them are not the same as the ones I outlined in my post. For example:

    I never said that this form was incorrect. It does sound a little unusual, but here "next" is synonymous with "following". "following" would sound more natural.

    I never said that this was wrong either. I said that the plural version ("next months") without the article would be incorrect.

    There are other places as well where you appear to have misinterpreted what I said in my previous post - I suggest you go back and look at it more carefully. I've double-checked what I wrote and I still think it is all fairly accurate. I'd be interested to hear any other native opinions.

    If there is anything specific in my previous post which is unclear or which you have trouble understanding, please ask.
     
  23. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    (1) If today (October 1) is Monday, which is better for referring to October 3 with, "next Wednesday" or "this Wednesday"?

    (2) If today (October 5) is Friday, which is better to refer to October 7 with, "this Sunday" or "next Sunday"?

    (3) Which is the start of a week, Sunday or Monday?
     
  24. Lalajuela Senior Member

    Chicago (under a foot of snow)
    Spanish- Costa Rica, English-USA
    My answers are bold- hope it helps:)

    (1) If today (October 1) is Monday, which is better for referring to October 3 with, "next Wednesday" or "this Wednesday"?

    (2) If today (October 5) is Friday, which is better to refer to October 7 with, "this Sunday" or "next Sunday"?

    (3) Which is the start of a week, Sunday or Monday? Sunday (technically, even though Sunday is part of the weekend, it's how the calendar is formed)
     
  25. hly2004 Senior Member

    chinese
    "this Wednesday" means 'the Wednesday" of "this week"
    "next wednesday" means "the wednesday" of "next week"

    Just my 2 cents
     
  26. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Lalajuela, why did you choose "this Sunday" in (2)? If a week starts with Sunday, it's in the next row from today. Thus, isn't it "next Sunday"?
     
  27. Lalajuela Senior Member

    Chicago (under a foot of snow)
    Spanish- Costa Rica, English-USA
    The reason I chose "this Sunday" in number two is because when you are so close to the coming date (only a few days before), we say "this_____" because it's the closest one. I would usually say "next__________" when I am still over a week away from that date.

    Example: Today is Wednesday, November 22. THIS Friday is November 24, and NEXT Friday is December 1.

    I know this is confusing because "next" usually means the one that comes right away. To clarify what I mean in my example, one can add and change some words to make it more specific.

    Example: Today is Wednesday, November 22. This coming Friday is November 24, and the following Friday is December 1.

    Let me know if you want me to clarify any further:)
     
  28. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Lalajuela, :cool: my mentor! If I understood correctly, your explanation is as follows:

    (4) Choice between "this" and "next" has nothing to do with the start of a week. If today is Wednesday October 1, "this -day" ranges from Thursday October 2 to Tuesday October 7. [this Thursday, this Friday,...this Tuesday]. From October 8 on, "next -day." [next Wednesday October 8, next Thursday October 9,...]

    Correct me if I'm misinterpreting. Thanks a lot!
     
  29. Lalajuela Senior Member

    Chicago (under a foot of snow)
    Spanish- Costa Rica, English-USA
    You seem to have understood completely. Just so you know, this can be a confusing thing even for native speakers. Often times when this comes up in conversation we will stop each other and say, "Wait, do you mean this Friday coming in a few days, or the one after that?" because the terms can be so vague and confusing. I would say that what I have told you is simply how I have used it and heard it used my whole life. If there are other, more specific rules, I am not aware of them. Let me know if I can be of further help!:)
     
  30. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    There are problems here, and the use of "this" and "next" often lead to misunderstandings.

    If it is Thursday and I say "this Monday", most people will assume that I am talking about four days later. Few would think I meant three days earlier.

    But I think there are less ambigious solutions. I would suggest:

    This coming Monday (meaning the next possible Monday).

    If it is Thursday and I want to indicate a week later, I would say "A week from this coming Monday".

    Even then I might get a question: "Which Monday do you mean?"

    At that point you say, "Monday the ___". You give the date to remove all confusion. :)

    The whole "this/next" topic is complicated, in my opinion. If there is any doubt, it's always best to assume ambiguity and specify a date!

    Gaer
     
  31. volver Senior Member

    french belgium
    Hello,


    Today is Monday 6th August.

    Today, my colleague said that I need to book a flight next Wednesday.

    Would it be this coming Wednesday or the following Wednesday?

    Could you please enlighten me?


    Thank you

    VOLVER
     
  32. Trisia

    Trisia mod de viață

    București
    Romanian
    Oh boy. Here's a really interesting thread about it.

    My personal suggestion... ask him!

    (Oh, and next time, run a search in the forum before posting a question :p)
     
  33. volver Senior Member

    french belgium
    Thank you Trisia.


    I have checked the treads but I still don't get it.
     
  34. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    To summarise the other thread: you can't be certain which Wednesday he means.
    This is too important for you to act on the basis of the mixed advice you will get here.
    You need to ask your colleague.
    <...>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2014
  35. AVim

    AVim Senior Member

    Qingdao
    Chinese
    For the sentence: They're going to be married next May.

    Because it's August now, I can see it refers to the May in the next year; But let's assume it's April now, what does the 'next May' refer to? The May in this year, or the May in next year?


    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  36. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    To me, it would mean May of this year (if we are in April).

    But there seems to be some controversy, so wait for more comments.
     
  37. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    "Next May" usually means May of next year. May of the same year is "this May". In April, May of this year is also "next month".

    "The next May" may be a different thing, depending on context.
     
  38. Wobby Senior Member

    English [England]
    I think I would probably say that next May referred to the May of the following year, regardless of whether you were before or after May. I guess it would be a logical contradiction in that the next May would theoretically be the one in the same year if the speaker were in the months of the same year before May, but I guess a justification is that I wouldn't use the definite article... EDIT: As Forero just mentioned! ;)

    But there has to be some way of making the distinction: for me, I would say "this May" or "this coming May", or simply "in May" (with context suggesting I am referring to the May of this year) if I were in the months prior to May to refer to the May of the same year. I would say "next May" to signify the May of next year. But with people using different conventions, I still find sometimes I have to clarify the speaker's intention. The same would apply with weekdays. :)
     
  39. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I do not think there is clear agreement among native speakers about the meaning of "next X", whether dealing with a day of the week (next Saturday) or a particular month (next May).

    I think many speakers avoid the ambiguity by expressing it in some other way. Others simply argue that their interpretation of "next" is correct and any confusion is the result of ignorance on the part of the other person. :)
     
  40. marget Senior Member

    I would tend to think that it would mean May of the following year. If someone were to say to me right now, in the month of August: "I'm getting married next September", I would understand it to mean next year. But just to clarify, I might ask "this September or next"?
     
  41. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    JamesM has it nailed down quite well.

    To me, "next" September starts this coming Monday.

    I cannot see how some people can consider it anything else.

    I don't think they would consider "the girl next door" as living two houses down the street.
     
  42. Mr.X Senior Senior Member

    Singapore
    Burmese & English (2nd Language)
    Next (adj) according to SOED is "Immediately succeeding or preceding in order, precedence, importance, etc."

    Therefore, next May , in the time of April, is the May of the same year.

    If you confused, think "next bus stop".
     
  43. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    or "Next!" at the barbershop.
     
  44. Nikola Senior Member

    English
    I agree with this I have heard next to be both this May and the following May.So I think in popular usage it can be misinterpreted.
     
  45. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    If it is April and we stress the word next in "next May", I don't expect anyone in my part of the world to interpret it as May of the same year.
     
  46. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    You mean like this, Forero? :)

    I'm afraid this thread is just proving my point. There are adamant proponents of both interpretations, and even those camps are divided when it comes to different contexts.
     
  47. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I think the difference is regional, and it does depend on context. I meant to be reporting for my region (Mid-South) and this context (with month name, no the, future not past).
     
  48. Elwintee Senior Member

    London England
    England English
    As a speaker of BE, living in London, I would say it's far more usual to say 'this May' for May this year and 'next May' for May next year. This seems logical, as we are already 'in' this year (with its months to come), so the year immediately following is 'next year'. When referring to previous months in this year, incidentally, I would just say the month: "I went to Portugal in April". If my holiday happened a year ago, I would say "I went to Portugal last April".
     
  49. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    Spain
    U.K. English
    I agree that, in BE at least, it's far more usual to hear "this May" or "in May" if we're talking about the current year. This avoids any misinterpretation of next. If we're talking about September 2008, next is redundant - "in September" is clear enough. If I wanted to talk about September 2009 now, in August 2008, I would probably say "next September", or to be clearer; "not this September but the next one". If someone said to me "next September" I would assume it to mean September 2009 but would probably seek to confirm it, just in case; "September next year?".
     
  50. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    As you can see from the previous discussions on this topic, this terminology is confusing - so be careful.
     

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