Word Choice – This Versus Next

Doug’s question: “Will you please explain the difference between ‘this’ and ‘next’ as it relates to time?  When someone refers to this Friday, I think it is the upcoming Friday. But if someone refers to next Friday, I think it is the following Friday. Is this correct?”

BizWritingTip response: I agree with you, Doug. My preference is to use “this” plus the day when referring to the current week. And “next” plus the day to refer to the following week.

Example
I’d like to discuss your promotion next Wednesday. (next week’s Wednesday)
I’d like to discuss your promotion this Wednesday. (this week’s Wednesday)

However, this is my interpretation. People and dictionaries often differ on how they use “next,” and there is no standard worldwide pattern.

In the U.K., they use “next Tuesday” as the one coming up. And “Tuesday week” means Tuesday of next week. Very simple. They also tend to do this in the U.S. South.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines “next” simply as the time immediately following. So on a Tuesday, next Friday is three days away. However, The Oxford Dictionary, says next Friday can be either three or 10 days away.

When the date is important, I recommend being as precise as possible and adding the date.

Example
I’d like to meet with you to discuss this further. Are you free next Tuesday (the 19th)?

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