Semantics debate.

So apparently I’m out on my own here, but to me, when someone says “next Saturday”, they are talking about the very next Saturday that will occur.
Apparently I’m in the minority here. When someone tells me, on Wednesday, “Hey, we’re doing something next Saturday” – I naturally assume they’re talking about the day 4 days hence. Nonnon! They’re talking about the day 11 days hence! The one in 4 days is ‘this’ Saturday.
Who thought up this goofy plan? Days are individual entities. If I say ‘take the next thing in line’, you pick up the next available thing, right? You don’t ‘skip’ one and go for the next one after that, do you?
Is this a Boston regionalism or something? Was my brain just counter-programmed when growing up in New Jersey?

Dave Shevett

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A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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11 thoughts on “Semantics debate.

  1. This Saturday would be the one that appears next on the calendar.
    Next Saturday would be the one after that.
    I’m from Joisey too, so don’t be blaming your this/next issues on that. 😉

  2. Semantics

    Ok, what date would you pick if I said to you “hey, let’s do something next Saturday”? 3/20 or 3/27? This silliness brought to you by the letters D and P….

  3. okay, if “next” saturday is the one in four days, what’s “this” saturday? what’s “last” saturday?
    i tend to think of “this”, “next”, and “last” in terms of weeks, running monday through sunday. though i’m just as likely to make sure to use “this coming” or “this past” as anything. and i agree that “next” is ambiguous, but i still think you’re in the minority. 🙂

  4. Is this a Boston regionalism or something?
    Nope.
    The next Saturday on the calendar is “this Saturday”. The one after that is “next Saturday”. You’re just wrong. 😉

  5. I’ve heard both used. At this point, I treat “next Saturday” as an underspecification, and if I don’t think I can get the information some other way, push for clarification.

  6. I think “next Saturday” is so ambiguous as to be useless, because either the one closest on the calendar *or* the one after that are viable interpretations. And “this Saturday” is even worse! Do you mean “this coming Saturday” or “this past Saturday”?
    Moral of the story: always use qualifiers 🙂

  7. I agree that “next Saturday” is ambiguous, but I’m in the crowd that uses “this Saturday” for the Saturday in the weekend at the end of the week I’m in, and “next Saturday” for the one after that. If I’m worried about clarity, I’ll include a date. I disagree with Sarah that “this Saturday” is problematic. When it’s used, there will inevitably be a verb tense to tell you whether they mean “this coming Saturday” or “this past Saturday” plus, I’ve never heard anyone use “this Saturday” in the past tense.

  8. Here is Oz, “next Saturday” is the very next one in line; unless it’s tomorrow (or maybe two days time).
    Normally, anything that is not in the next 7 days is “x-day week”. For example; today is Sunday. If I’m doing something on Monday next week (ie not tomorrow) I would say “Monday week”; if I’m doing it tomorrow I would say “this Monday”.
    Because Monday is so close (ie tomorrow) if I was to say “next Monday” it would mean two Mondays away. BUT if I was to say “next Tuesday” – it could mean either this week or next. Wednesday however is far enough away from today that “next” would probably mean this week.
    And we wonder why people struggle to learn English!

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