This vs. Next

I’m a person of efficiency. I have limited time on this earth, and I try to minimize unnecessary interaction and undue clarification whenever possible. I’ve found that throughout life I’ve been plagued with the scourge that is the general fuzziness concerning designating upcoming days of the week. That is to say, what exactly does ‘Next’ Thursday actually mean? The coming Thursday, or the Thursday after next? I’ve found that people interpret this question and others like it in different ways and for different situations have different answers. So, I will now lay out my (quite simple) plan of clarification from now until the end of time. Please use this as an iron-clad guide for your life, or at least whenever you interact with me moving forward.

– THIS Thursday should be the terminology WHENEVER referring to the closest upcoming day bearing that name. For example, if it is currently Sunday, and you tell me, ‘Evan, let’s meet at the Five & Dime this Thursday at 3PM, I’m low on my stash of Bit O’ Honey and Charleston Chew,’ that would mean 4 days from Sunday. You can also just say ‘Thursday’ or ‘On Thursday’ to denote the upcoming Thursday. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCE should you say ‘Next Thursday’ as that will only cause undue confusion. It will result in, ‘So, the upcoming Thursday then?’ from me in reply. Of course, when referring to the very next day, you would ALWAYS say ‘Tomorrow’, or again, more unnecessary clarification will be conjured, such as ‘So Tomorrow then?’ to which you will reply, ‘Yes, sorry. I mean Tomorrow.’ When referring to two days from now, you would have the option to either utilize the aforementioned phrasing, or ‘The day after next’ would be sufficient as well. 

– When referring to not the upcoming Thursday, but the Thursday AFTER the upcoming Thursday, the correct terminology would be ‘Two Thursdays from now’ or ‘The Thursday after next’. Not ‘Next’, not ‘The following’. This gives a clear, unambiguous description of which day you are referring to. Simply picture in your mind’s eye the upcoming Thursday, and then the Thursday after that — and you my friend are home free.   

Now, I realize the demonization of ‘Next’ may be controversial. I never said I wasn’t going to hurt feelings or tear families apart. But the bottom line is, however popular ‘Next’ is in the vernacular, it is simply too ambiguous of a word to avoid having to clarify. Because really, what does ‘Next’ actually mean? If it’s a Wednesday, ‘The next day’ is assumed to be Thursday. So in that sense, it is ‘The following.’ However when talking about days of the week, saying ‘Next Wednesday’ on a Tuesday could mean either 2 days from then or 9 days from then, depending on who you are talking to and their personal interpretation of the word. I’ve probably wasted 3-4 hours of my life muddled in these extraneous interactions, when that time could have been spent blogging about iPhones, ham sandwiches, or how wind ruins everything (coming soon). 

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