# Communication Tip: Don’t say “next Friday”. Say “Friday of next week”.

September 24, 2018 2 Comments

Today is Monday, September 24, 2018. Suppose that my co-worker Jessica asks me, “Can we meet on next Friday to talk about our report?”. Does she mean

- Friday, September 28, 2018?
- Friday, October 5, 2018?

*Image courtesy of rawpixel.com via Pexels*

The word “next” is tricky to interpret in this situation. By definition, “next” denotes the instance immediately after the present. Thus, “next Friday” *should* mean Friday, September 28, 2018.

However, most Anglophones would interpret this phrase to mean the Friday of the *next week*, which is Friday, October 5, 2018. This is not logical, but it is the dominant interpretation.

To prevent this confusion, I avoid saying “next Friday”. Instead, I say

- “the upcoming Friday” to denote Friday, September 28, 2018
- “Friday of next week” to denote Friday, October 5, 2018

These approaches are clear and unequivocal, and they eliminate any chance for confusion.

If this is communicated in an email, then I suggest confirming the correct “Friday” by adding the calendar date. Thus, I would write, “Let’s meet on Friday of next week, October 5, 2018”. This method helps the reader to know if we will meet during this week or next week, and it adds another way to confirm the date.

I disagree, when referring to the present you are in fact referring to the present week so if someone was to refer to the coming Friday they would say “this Friday”, or just simply “Friday”. In order to reference a day in the week, the week must be our time frame therefore it is completely logical for “next Friday” to refer to the Friday of next week.

I’m not sure why I feel so strongly about this, perhaps because “next Friday” is entirely logical.

The ultimate test is using these phrases in actual conversations and gauging how often people interpret what we say correctly. In my experience, nobody has ever misinterpreted “this upcoming Friday” or “Friday of next week”. On the other hand, I have encountered people who have been confused by “this Friday” and “next Friday”.