JS Tip 209: From the Writing Workshops: When is “next Friday”?

Colette Graddy of Wells Fargo asked us to address “this” vs. “next” as in “this Friday” or “next Friday.” She explained, “To me, this Friday is the 15th and next Friday is the 22nd, but that seems to create issues in my life.”

Ponder this.

Let’s suppose today is Tuesday the 1st.

When is “this Friday”?

That’s simple: this Friday is Friday the 4th.

But when is “next Friday”?

Uh-oh. It starts getting complicated.

“Next Friday” could be Friday the 4th (because it’s the next Friday). Or it could be Friday the 11th (because it’s the next Friday after this Friday).

There’s no easy answer. An internet search for “this Friday vs. next Friday” will get you 824 million hits.

One site acknowledges, “Many people use the terms interchangeably and confusingly.”

Another says, “There doesn't seem to be any universal meaning for which Friday is ‘next’ friday.”

Our suggestion: Use dates.

Your boss: “Let’s meet again next Friday.”

You: “You mean the 4th?”

Your boss: “Um . . . no. I mean the 11th.”

You: “No problem. See you then.”

No confusion. English is not a logical language. Sometimes we have to sort it out.

Keep asking questions. We love this stuff.