So we had a big debate over the concept of “this” vs “next” [insert day of week] at work a few weeks back. I took this debate and have gotten a few more people’s input on it, and now would like to know yours.
Before I infuse any sort of idea into your head, you might want to copy and paste the following blob and decide on your own what it means to you:
I’m posting this on Wednesday (4/16), but if you’re reading this not on a Wednesday, lets just assume this is a Wednesday for now. Which date would it correspond to if someone said the following:
- Today: __________
- This Tuesday: __________
- This Wednesday: __________
- This Thursday: __________
- This Saturday: __________
- This Sunday: __________
- Next Tuesday: __________
- Next Wednesday: __________
- Next Thursday: __________
- Next Saturday: __________
- Next Sunday: __________
One additional question to ask yourself: Which day of the week does your week start?
Now that you have your answers, lets go over what I’ve found.
First off, lets start with which day of the week does a week start on. For me, it’s always been Monday, so I’ve always disagreed with how the calendar is laid out, which typically starts the week off on Sunday. For me, Sunday is part of the weekend, which as the word signifies, the end of the week.
However, Ungsunghero told me he always thought of “weekend” similarly to “bookend”, as in they are the 2 ends of the week. That actually made a lot of sense and I confirmed with him that the adjacent Saturday and Sunday are part of 2 different weeks. I then asked what “this weekend” meant to him and he agreed that would refer to the coming Saturday and Sunday and maybe even Friday.
Before we go into This/Next [insert day of week], let me give 2 more examples (still assuming today is Wednesday). Does any one of the following sound weird to you?
- We are going bowling this Tuesday.
- We went bowling this Tuesday.
If you believe this Tuesday refers to the coming Tuesday (4/22), the 2nd sentence would sound weird/incorrect to you. If you believe this Tuesday refers to yesterday (4/15), the first sentence will sound weird/incorrect to you.
I’m part of the latter group that believe this Tuesday refers to yesterday.
Now we can get into the big blob above. Given today is Wednesday 4/16, as I mentioned above, “This Tuesday” typically refers to either yesterday (4/15) or the coming Tuesday (4/22). For me, “this” refers to “this week’s”, so “this Tuesday” refers to “this week’s Tuesday” and I’ve already defined my week to begin on Monday and end on Sunday.
However for some, this [insert day of week] can never refer to the past, so they’re more incline to think it refers to the coming Tuesday (I’m going to avoid using next since it just adds to the confusion. I assuming coming Tuesday is non-ambiguous).
Since we’re on Tuesday, let’s jump to “Next Tuesday”. For most, I would assume it means the coming Tuesday (4/22), however I believe a few would say it would actually refer to the Tuesday after that (4/29).
“This Wednesday” is another difficult one given that today is Wednesday, however I would say it would be referring to today (4/16), though I don’t think many would ever use that in context. I assume some would say it refers to the coming Wednesday (4/23). As for “Next Wednesday”, it refers to the coming Wednesday (4/23) for me and I assume some would think it refers to the Wednesday after that (4/30).
I’m pretty sure most people would agree “This Thursday” and “Next Thursday” refer to 4/17 and 4/24 respectively. However, I can also see people thinking both this/next Thursday referring to tomorrow (4/17).
Similar to Thursday, I believe this/next Saturday works the same way.
As for “This Sunday”, some think it refers to this past Sunday (since their week starts on Sunday), but for me it refers the coming Sunday, since my week ends on Sunday. Similarly, “Next Sunday” would be just 1 additional week after “This Sunday”, but I guess for some, it’s possible that both this Sunday and next Sunday refer to this coming Sunday (4/20).
There, does your head hurt now? Then I’ve accomplished my goal. ;p