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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with a passion. Learn More

“This Wednesday” vs. “Next Wednesday”

Why do we say “this Wednesday” when we are talking about next week? Shouldn’t we agree that “this” modifies an assumed week and that the week in question is the current (Sun or Mon thru Sat or Sun) one? If it’s Friday today, we could say “this coming Wed” or “next Wednesday” but not “this Wednesday,” because if we did that, then “next Wednesday” would either mean Wednesday of the week after next, strictly speaking, or given ambiguity could mean the very same day as was indicated by “this Wednesday.”

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Yes strictly speaking you would say "this coming Wednesday" for future events, and "this past Wednesday" for events in the past - but in most situations "future" and "past" tend to be omitted, as the timeline is implied by the context.
I went to the gym this Wednesday.
I will go to the gym this Wedneday.

Ing Sep-09-2011

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Must be a British thing ... I only use "this + day" to reference the current week.

For the NEXT week, I use NEXT + day.

Otherwise, there would be confusion:

On Monday a person asks: When is he coming?
Answer: He's coming this Wednesday. ... If you do not say NEXT Wednesday, then you clearly, to me, mean the Wednesday of the current week!

You can also use "on".

He's coming on Wednesday. ... Again, clearly meaning the Wednesday of the current week.

I went to the gym on Wednesday.
I'm going to the gym on Wednesday.
I went to the gym this past Wednesday. (I wouldn't ever leave out the "past" modifier" with "this". It sounds awkward without it).
I'm going to the gym next Wednesday.

AnWulf Sep-11-2011

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In the Southern US, I often hear people say "Tuesday week" to indicate that the event is not the coming Tuesday, but the one after.
E.g. :
"I'm leaving for Vicksburg Thursday week, and I need someone to feed my crickets."

The Entomophagist Sep-23-2011

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@Entomophagist ... Very true, Tuesday week means "a week from Tuesday" in Suthren!

AnWulf Sep-27-2011

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To me speaking BrE the following seems normal:

Th: "next Wednesday"
Fr: "next Wednesday"
Sa: "next Wednesday" / "this Wednesday (coming)"
Su: "this Wednesday"
Mo: "this Wednesday"
Tu: "tomorrow" / "tomorrow, Wednesday"
We: "today"

And for me "Wednesday week" means the Wednesday after the Wednesday following the day on which I am speaking :-)

Josef Essberger Nov-05-2011

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I agree with Josef.

I might also use 'this Wednesday' to mean the one just past, as opposed to 'last Wednesday' which would be the one before.

Percy Oct-19-2012

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This is a very complicated subject and requires some date math skills or a calendar or an assistant.

Most civilian calendars start the week on Sunday. God calls it the last day of the week but I call it the first day I had to start dealing with this world she made. But I digress.

The term "this Wednesday" always means the very next occurrence of the day. The term "next Wednesday" always means two Wednesdays out.

So on:

Monday the 1st "this Wednesday" means Wednesday the 3rd.
Monday the 1st "next Wednesday" means Wednesday the 10th.
Thursday day the 4th "this Wednesday" means Wednesday the 10th.
Thursday day the 4th "next Wednesday" means Wednesday the 17th.

To avoid all of this hassle I just tell people I want it now damn-it!

I was going to explain this in Yiddish but I don't know Yiddish.

Howard Taylor Sep-23-2015

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"How about never? Does never work for you?" Quote, possibly inexact, from a cartoon in, I think, The New Yorker.

I agree about the structure you laid out Howard, on a mathematical calendrical level. However, we have to allow for fuzzy logic. I think many people have an understood "of next week" in the phrase "next Wednesday," especially if it's Monday or Tuesday.

Thanks for not being a pain in the Yiddish.

kellyjohnj Sep-24-2015

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When somebody makes an arrangement to meet, I often need to ask them for the day of the month to clarify which day they mean. If it is Friday and somebody says to meet "this Wednesday", that to me is nonsense because "this Wednesday" has gone two days ago. If they say "next Wednesday", that is clearer but still I would want confirmation of the actual day of the month, say "Wednesday the seventeenth".

If it is Monday and somebody says "this Wednesday", I would assume they mean in two days' time, but if they say "next Wednesday", I would assume they mean in nine days' time.

I still find both terms inexact and irritating.

Jane2765 Oct-08-2015

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The main point is "next Wednesday" is ambigous; it just comes down to who is using it. If someone does use it, one needs to clarify: "this Wednesday" or "Wednesday week" ?

jayles the unwoven Oct-08-2015

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Yes, there's occasional ambiguity, but that happens in language: "I met a funny man man the other day." "Funny ha-ha or funny peculiar?"In any case, it's usually used in a spoken context and easily resolved - "Do you mean this coming Wednesday or the one after?"

Warsaw Will Oct-13-2015

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It could of course be argued that there are occasions when "this Wednesday" and "next Wednesday" might refer to the same day.
However, in my experience "this Wednesday" refers to the Wednesday in the current week regardless of whether it has yet to come or has in fact passed, "next Wednesday" refers to the Wednesday of the coming week, and "last Wednesday" refers to the Wednesday of the previous week.

user106928 Oct-13-2015

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Fascinating...because I had always assumed that "this" implied the future. Therefore, on Thursday the 4th, "this Wednesday" would mean the one immediately coming in the 10th, and "next Wednesday" would be the 17th. What to do about the 3rd? That's *yesterday*...and Tuesday the 2nd would be "two days ago."

Furthermore, past and present tense verbs could clarify things. "I *went* on Wednesday" would imply the most recent Wednesday in the past (but you probably wouldn't use it if Wednesday was the day before, since you would just use "yesterday"), while "I went *last* Wednesday" is a little stickier, since it could imply either the Wednesday before the one immediately past or the most recent Wednesday in the past that's more than just a few days out.

Keith Gatling Feb-20-2016

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Well, I don't get the point. When you speak about the next train, it means the train which arrives in the station... "Will you take the next train ?" - "yes by if I am late I will take the one after".
When you ask for scheduled time of the next train to go to London, there is no confusion, this is the closest in time that you are looking for, why is there a confusion when you speak about days ?

GGREGG Mar-10-2016

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USA, UK, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, etc… Why not take an advanced English grammar teacher from each of those countries, lock them up in a room, and tell them the only way to unlock that door is to agree on this topic?

Obviously, as what's correct differs vastly between these countries, such a move should hopefully result in proper documentation outlining not only what's correct in each country, but also details how the grammar on this differs between the countries.

Wheelye Apr-13-2016

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@Wheelye With so much international emailing, it is just a matter of avoiding ambiguity. In the same way it is better to avoid ambiguous date formats such as 03/04/2016 and always to spell out the month: March 4, 2016 or 4th March 2016. Similarly if one simply says "this Wednesday" or "Wednesday week" or in an email adds the day as "Wed 12th", then all is clear.

jayles the unwoven Apr-13-2016

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My daughter argues that next wednesday means the one after next!,i say it means the next wednesday on the calender!.

anthony1 Jun-12-2017

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Depends on the point of the person asking and the person answering.
If you say this Wednesday, I would assume this coming Wednesday; especially if today is Sunday and you are conveying some info as to an event that will happen.
I have been a teacher in Japan for the past 15 years ,and for the Japanese , it's pretty hard for them to discern future events as well as coming events in English. So for them everything is last or now. This past weekend is a pain for them, the weekend after next goes right over their head.
Please, if you are going to convey this Wednesday, convey it so there is no confusion. This past Wednesday, or next Wednesday.

akinyele Jan-28-2018

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Reading these comments just confirms what I've been sure about for years - that there's total confusion about this. It's beyond me how the English speaking world got to the moon when not only can we not agree about what "next Wednesday" means but when most people don't even realise what a minefield for miscommunication it is!
I avoid using the word "next" in this context as much as possible, try to use language that can't be misunderstood and - to their bemusement - almost always check what exactly people mean.

Feanor Oct-19-2018

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The issue here is because the days of weeks are in blocks of weeks, there seems to be a confusion because of a Wednesday being placed into a future week, If we had a line of poles across 2 paddocks say 7 in each and you are standing at the first pole, the next pole is the second pole, not the second pole in the next paddock, same as if you are on Monday the next Wednesday is 2 days hence not Wednesday of next week. Similar to the earlier reference of next train, no other units of measurement places next as anything but the very next item, the options to clarify what seems to be an incorrect evolution of the term here is, next is next, a day in next week is a day of next week or as was known previously E.G. Wednesday week, meaning Wednesday of next week. or give the specific calendar date to avoid confusion.

Headache Jun-28-2019

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Being in the recruiting business, I learned early on that this causes a huge amount of confusion. Further complicating matters is the insistence that "next" needs to be used. Completely unnecessary. For instance, today is Tuesday. So I might say, "my daughter is graduating on Saturday." There is no need to say "this" Saturday, since it is implicit. Conversely, If I said, "my daughter graduated on Saturday." it is implicit that I am talking about the past Saturday which is obvious as the sentence is in the past tense.

Simpler is always easier and less fraught with confusion, so if your daughter is graduating on Saturday, there it is. I often ask people, "what is the difference between Saturday and this coming saturday?" The answer of course is there is no difference. So why bother with superfluous words?

Of course if I say, "next Saturday" obviously that means the Saturday after the upcoming Saturday. So the question to the confused person might be, "What is the difference between Saturday and next Saturday?" QED

user109068 Jul-28-2020

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"Next" means "next", always. When we say, "This Wednesday", it is short for "Wednesday this week". "Wednesday next week" can be shortened to "Wednesday next", but not "Next Wednesday" as that means, literally, the next Wednesday, chronologically.

Gresley Oct-21-2020

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Absolute rubbish

user109249 Oct-22-2020

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I posted this question about a year ago and since there are now 23 comments and my birthday is on the 23rd I thought I should chime in. Thanks to everybody for commenting. I just read through all of them. I have come to a couple conclusions and thought I'd share them.

First when we talk about this or next we are elevating from a structure of days in one week to days in a series of weeks. That is, if I'm only talking about days I can say on Wednesday. I think it's safe to say that on Wednesday means Wednesday of the week I am currently in. It doesn't matter if Wednesday has passed or not. However inside this structure of consecutive weeks we have to contend with the weekend. So if I say on the weekend that I'm going to the movies on Wednesday it obviously means of the coming week. I hope I would be speaking clearly if I said the same thing on a given Wednesday through possibly Monday. As someone pointed out if you get too close to that movie night it becomes ridiculous to speak in terms of weeks and you have to just say tomorrow or yesterday.

For disclosure I am a non-southern American. While I enjoy the grammatical efficiency of such southernisms as y'all and Wednesday week, I cannot bring myself to use them. I'd feel like a poser.

For the person who suggested we think of polls in a paddock I would like to suggest refining the analogy so that each poll of the seven in one paddock is somehow differentiated from all the others. Then restate the result. I don't think it would be the same as when all poles are identical. A further problem with the analogy of course since I was just talking about weekends is we don't have any special language introduced about the polls that are close to the border between the two paddocks.

I find myself rarely saying this Wednesday or next Wednesday. Since I posted this question I have tried to pay attention to my own usage. I tend to say Wednesday of next week. If I say this Wednesday I might be more inclined to add a little and say Wednesday of this week.

I think I have an idea of how people in Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand would deal with this issue. How do people in India deal with this?

kellyjohnj Oct-23-2020

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My view in the "next" vs "this" confusion is that it's lazy English that had become common usage that's caused it.
Clearly the dictionary definition of next is the next occurrence. There's no latitude for which week you're in to confuse things.

My view is that it started as "this week Thursday" and "next week Thursday" and the week part got dropped as happens very often in English (shop "open 24 hours" strictly means after a day it's opened it's closed. "A day" got lost somewhere!)

I suppose the answer is to be very clear on what is said and not assume that local idioms are understood by everyone.

Another example is time where half three can be half past three or half to three (half past two) in some areas.

English is ever evolving!!

37p Jan-27-2022

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Thanks for sharing “This Wednesday” vs. “Next Wednesday”
Also read Fun Facts about Wednesday

user111446 Jun-04-2022

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