No, NEXT Wednesday…

by H D Thompson

I keep having this ridiculous conversation with people which inevitably turns into a ridiculous argument with people about how to describe upcoming days of the week in relation to the inclusion or not of the word ‘next’.

Stay with me here.

So the way I was taught is that the next coming day is just as it were, and the one following was the ‘next’ one. For instance, if today was Saturday and someone said to me, “I will see you next Wednesday”, I would assume they meant the following Wednesday after the one coming, otherwise why would they bother saying the word ‘next’ and not just say Wednesday? Putting a word in front of the day assumes an extra week by implying the extra need to emphasise it. Days literally happen like clockwork, there is no need to emphasise the upcoming particular one as it is the next to happen.

To a lot of other people however, this is not the case. Apparently ‘next Wednesday’ is the next coming Wednesday. Which I know on paper makes sense, but it also seems superfluous to use the word ‘next’ here. Wouldn’t I assume that you meant the coming one if you didn’t state otherwise? Why bother using the word ‘next’ at all other than to imply the inclusion of another Wednesday getting in the way of the one you meant?

I think my logic is sane, but it is constantly contended.

I was discussing with a friend this exact thing, and his argument was that if he were to ‘catch the next tram’, he would be after the upcoming tram, not the one following. If you were to simply ‘catch the tram’, you could refer to any tram ever.

This is where it gets tricky to explain.

I think that something conceptual like days and physical things are different in this respect. Having physical things to show for the argument works in the case of the tram, but you can’t hold a Wednesday, or show someone a Wednesday for it’s case here. It seems silly, but logically I think it makes sense.

I don’t know how people can be taught two so polarising things. All I know is if someone said to me that I had a meeting the next Wednesday, I would turn up the Wednesday following the upcoming Wednesday and either be really late or perfectly on time, and then I would probably have this exact stupid conversation again.

#H