This and next: difference of opinion

OK. So it seems that response has finally tailed off on my this week or next week quiz. The 22nd and most recent responder submitted their response a second before 09:23 this morning.

And what an interesting set of results we have. Only two of the ten questions yielded unanimity. On any given Monday, it seems This Thursday will never result in confusion, nor will Next Monday.

The phrase most likely to cause confusion is Next Sunday when used on a Monday. 55% of responders believe it to mean the next Sunday to occur; 45% believe it to mean the one after that. And arranging a meeting This Monday on a Monday will also likely get people turning up on the wrong day. 64% think the meeting is scheduled a week from today, 36% thinking it’s happening today.

For completeness, below are the rest of the results.

Best be careful next time you use this and next in relation to dates. It’s more confusing than you might think. The quiz is still open, btw, if you’re interested in submitting your views.


5 Responses to “This and next: difference of opinion”

  1. Shanahan on March 28th, 2009 15:53

    You missed two VERY important questions. Perhaps more important than all others:

    1st: If you’re relating information to someone and you say “next X day” how comfortable are you that they know what you mean.

    2nd: If someone’s relating information to you and they say “next X day” how comfortable are you that you know what they mean.

  2. Dan on March 28th, 2009 17:40

    That’s exactly my point, Francis.

  3. Shanahan on March 29th, 2009 02:17

    If that’s your point then I don’t get it (clearly). The survey data is inconclusive so all it shows is that folks have different interpretations of what is meant by “next” and “this”. This much is universal and we all already knew that.

    What I’d be more curious about is how many people are actually aware of it, which is what my two questions are aimed at.

  4. Dan on March 29th, 2009 10:34

    Good point. Not sure how you prove that through survey data though.

    As an aside, I’m not sure we did know just how significant the different interpretation of this and next was.

  5. Sean on April 11th, 2009 01:35

    Just caught up with this post, but thought it worth the late reply

    I’ve had this debate with friends many times, and I’ve never come across anyone who agrees with me that to say “next friday” could mean “the next approaching friday”. I now have to avoid my logic and assume it to mean the friday after next unless I’m drunk, in which case I’ll start the debate and both win (in terms of people accepting the logic) and lose (in terms of what it is socially accepted to mean).

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