What does "next weekend" mean?
December 5, 2016 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Someone asks you on Sunday to do something "next weekend". Is that 5 days from now, or 12 days from now?

My friend took it to be what I consider "this upcoming weekend". I took it to be "next weekend", i.e., there's one weekend in between asking and plans.
posted by Automocar to Writing & Language (68 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Next weekend" is the next weekend on the calendar- totally 5 days from now.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:48 AM on December 5, 2016 [54 favorites]


"Next weekend" is 12 days from now, not 5. However, it is confusing enough that I always ask people to clarify whether they mean "this weekend" (i.e. 5 days from now) or "next weekend" (i.e. 12 days from now).
posted by barnoley at 10:49 AM on December 5, 2016 [19 favorites]


When exactly is it being said?

Saturday, Sunday-Wednesday: Next Weekend means the next Saturday or Sunday. This upcoming weekend.
Thursday-Friday: Not the upcoming weekend (not this Saturday or Sunday) but the following weekend.
posted by INFJ at 10:50 AM on December 5, 2016 [43 favorites]


context context context. If it's Monday or Tuesday, next weekend means 4 days away. On Thurs/Fri, you'd state "this weekend" to mean 1-2 days away, and "next weekend" to indicate 9 days out.
posted by k5.user at 10:50 AM on December 5, 2016 [14 favorites]


You have to ask them.
posted by janey47 at 10:50 AM on December 5, 2016 [22 favorites]


My interpretation of this is "the next weekend that is not this weekend," where "this weekend" means either the current weekend or the upcoming weekend if it is not currently the weekend. So if I heard "next weekend" on a Sunday I would assume 5 days from now.
posted by eugenen at 10:51 AM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


Could easily be interpreted either way. DURING the weekend, "next weekend" usually refers to the next upcoming weekend - i.e. five days hence, not twelve. During the week, "next weekend" typically refers to the weekend after the upcoming one.
posted by pecanpies at 10:52 AM on December 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


On Sunday, "next weekend" is 5 days away.
posted by kimberussell at 10:58 AM on December 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


""Next weekend" is 12 days from now, not 5"

I'm utterly baffled by this interpretation.
posted by uberchet at 10:58 AM on December 5, 2016 [20 favorites]


Someone asks you on Sunday to do something "next weekend": 5 days from now

Someone asks you on Monday to do something "next weekend": 12 days from now
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:59 AM on December 5, 2016 [26 favorites]


Technically, 12 days from now. I would probably hear it as 5 days from now though and end up calling..."You meant this weekend, right? Or did you mean the weekend after?" This is going to be one of those, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy questions. It's not worth arguing about, just ask.
posted by BoscosMom at 10:59 AM on December 5, 2016


I've always applied the "This" and "Next" to the week.

So this weekend is this week's weekend (5 days hence).

And next weekend is next week's weekend (12 days hence).

I also assume the week begins on Sunday. And the weekend on Saturday. So if asked about plans for this weekend on a Saturday I would assume they meant today/tomorrow. But asked the same question on a Sunday they would mean 6 days later.
posted by zinon at 11:02 AM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm almost certain we've fought about this in AskMe before, but I can't seem to find the thread right now, so:

This is one of those things where there is no One Accepted Way, so if it's important to get it right, you'd better ask for clarification . In my house, I'd mean 5 days from now and my partner would mean 12 days from now. We've mostly learned to catch ourselves using that phrase, stop, roll our eyes, verify what date we actually mean, and then mutter semi-seriously about how this wouldn't be necessary if the other person would just stop being So Wrong.
posted by Stacey at 11:03 AM on December 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


I'd say that, semantically, 'next weekend' is predicated by first establishing an understanding of what 'this weekend' refers to.
If you've plenty of weekend left, then 'this weekend' is still precisely that; if it's almost weekday, 'this weekend' is yet to come.
(Upon writing it so many times, the meaning of weekend has started to weaken, in my mind. Weak end? What is language even)
posted by a good beginning at 11:03 AM on December 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


On a Sunday, "this weekend" is still this weekend. Next weekend is the upcoming one.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:04 AM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Just ask. This coming weekend (4 days away)? or the following weekend (12 days)?
posted by Chrischris at 11:04 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


To end this confusion once and for all, I present: Oxt Weekend!

Might be tough to get all your friends onboard with using "oxt," but everything worth doing is tough.
posted by ejs at 11:04 AM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


""Next weekend" is 12 days from now, not 5"
I'm utterly baffled by this interpretation.


For many people, This weekend comes before Next weekend. When you are in the middle of a weekend, it is pretty ambiguous because you may or may not be counting the current weekend as This weekend. This month is the current month and Next month is the upcoming one and the same is true of This year and Next year. However, when you are speaking of a time you are not currently in, like This June vs Next June, people mean different things when they say Next and clarification is necessary.
posted by soelo at 11:05 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Like - if it's currently the weekend, what else could "next weekend" mean besides "the next weekend after this weekend"?

Or... are you not considering Sunday as "weekend" because it technically comes at the beginning of a calendar week rather than the end, like Friday and Saturday do? Because that is really really not a standard interpretation.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:06 AM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Since there is no common definition, you have to ask them to clarify. Neither of you is necessarily wrong, but if you both want to be in the same place at the same time, you gotta make sure you're talking about the same time.
posted by rtha at 11:12 AM on December 5, 2016


Agree with a good beginning above context is everything. During THIS week, "this weekend" is the upcoming Friday, Saturday, Sunday. During the weekend, "next weekend" is literally the next time F, S, Su happens on the calendar. If I meant "weekend after next" I'd say that.
posted by Medieval Maven at 11:13 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sunday is the hardest day for this question. But I agree with liz,

Someone asks you on Sunday to do something "next weekend": 5 days from now

Someone asks you on Monday to do something "next weekend": 12 days from now

Because on Sunday, this weekend = today.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:15 AM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


People are very careless in their speech, especially about casual issues. So even if there is a "rule" it always helps to clarify. On a Sunday, if someone said "next weekend" I would assume that they were in a casual way suggesting the next upcoming weekend, so 5 days away. On a Monday, if they said "next weekend" I would assume the weekend after this upcoming weekend. But I'd definitely seek to clarify by saying, "Do you mean X date?"
posted by amanda at 11:24 AM on December 5, 2016


The biggest problem with this is not just that it's ambiguous.

It's that the world is full of people who think it's unambiguous, and they disagree on what it means.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:25 AM on December 5, 2016 [33 favorites]


If you think that, on Sunday, "next weekend" is 12 days from now then what would you call the weekend that's 5 days from now and what would you call the weekend that the current Sunday is part of?
posted by I-baLL at 11:29 AM on December 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Another vote that you have to specify what "this weekend" and "next weekend" mean during the initial conversation. For instance, on Mondays, "this weekend" means yesterday and the day before. Using past tense makes that clear, but the term itself is flexible.
posted by Knowyournuts at 11:31 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've always done "this weekend" for the weekend that is coming up and "next weekend" for the weekend after that, but I can totally see how that would confuse people. I think that's how the English do it and that's why I do it that way.

If it already is the weekend the "this weekend" means the current weekend and "next weekend" means the one that's coming up.

Or you could just specify the date and avoid all confusion. As long as you remind people that the month goes first.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:31 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


N'thing that
1. There is no common definition
2. It is common for people to assume that their definition is the common definition

It's just something to watch out for.

(Another one of these problem mistakenly-ambiguous constructions is "X's do/are/believe/... Y"; some people assume that to specify "some" is so obvious and universal that it goes without saying, while some assume that to specify "all" is so obvious and universal that it goes without saying)
posted by anonymisc at 11:33 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


On Mondays, what do you (the general "you") say when you ask somebody about what they did Saturday and Sunday? Do you say "what did you do this weekend?" or do you say something else?
posted by I-baLL at 11:38 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


For instance, on Mondays, "this weekend" means yesterday and the day before.
I guess if someone said, "What did you do this weekend?" I would know they meant yesterday, but I don't usually think of "this weekend" as happening in the past. I would say "What did you do over the weekend?"
posted by soelo at 11:38 AM on December 5, 2016


Did you mean the 12th or the 19th? Just clarify. This is a mefi classic like which way to stand in the shower or how should the toilet paper hang. There is no authoritative source to cite. Just ask.
posted by fixedgear at 11:39 AM on December 5, 2016


Constant battle in our house. To me, next weekend means the first upcoming weekend from the conversation. To my husband, next weekend means TWO weekends from now, as the coming weekend is "this weekend."

Mostly solved the problem by specifying "this coming weekend" or "the weekend of the Nth" but it's still annoying. As far as I can tell different people interpret it differently and no one is actually wrong. Except my husband, he is totally wrong.
posted by lydhre at 11:41 AM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Next weekend" is reserved solely for use on Saturdays and Sundays to refer to a week forward in time. Otherwise:

5 days from now="This coming weekend"
12 days from now="The weekend after this..." where the ending is an unspoken but implied "...coming weekend"
posted by scantee at 11:42 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


For me this weekend means the upcoming weekend or weekend we're currently in the middle of. Next weekend also means the upcoming weekend up until about Thursday when it starts to mean the weekend after that. Let's not even start on what the weekend after next means. This is in no way consistent with how many of my friends and even close family use the terms, even ones who taught me how to speak. Ask them which date.
posted by SometimeNextMonth at 11:46 AM on December 5, 2016


They mean five days from now. They might not intend to mean five days from now, so you should ask to confirm, but next means next. If you're giving someone driving directions, and you say "take the next left", it doesn't mean "take a left a few blocks down the road". If you're playing pickup basketball and you say "I got next", it doesn't mean "you guys play another game after this one and maybe then I'll play". "I got next" means you are going to play in the game that begins after the completion of the current game. If you pull out a calendar and put your finger on the weekend that just passed, what is the next weekend you come to? It's the one that starts five days from now. I don't understand how this is controversial.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:49 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I say confirm with whoever said it, this is too inspecific of an date.

To me: Next weekend is the next upcoming weekend, regardless of when it is said during the week.

Just like: next door is two houses down, the next train the the train coming nearest in the future, next exit is the first exit you pass.

The odds of actually saying "next weekend" diminishes the closer you get to Saturday.

The weekend many are describing as "next" I would describe as "the weekend after this coming one" to be clearest.

Actually, since inspecific dates is a peeve of mine, I would say "the weekend of the 17th," where the 17th is the Saturday of that weekend.
posted by AzraelBrown at 11:53 AM on December 5, 2016


Avoid the issue altogether by using dates or a "a week from this" rather than using "next" at all, which is what and I and my closer groups of friends attempt to do. Or, if it's within 7 days, we will say, "What are you doing Monday?" implying the next Monday on the calendar. For the Monday following we would say, "What are you doing a week from Monday?" meaning, the Monday following the next Monday in the calendar. It's a lot easier.
posted by zizzle at 12:02 PM on December 5, 2016


Someone asks you on Sunday to do something "THIS weekend."

You say "what, like, tonight? Can't, I already have plans." 'This' clearly means the one we're in right now. So 'next' means the one after 'this'.

Late in the week, 'this' clearly means the one coming up, so 'next' is the one following. Early in the week, it's ambiguous and you have to be more careful to specify.
posted by ctmf at 12:17 PM on December 5, 2016


There is no correct answer to this as many others have said. You have to clarify. My wife and I argue about this too.

For the next=12 people they point out:
For "this weekend" and "next weekend" to mean two different things, thats the only way to resolve it.

For the next=5 people they point out:
When you are waiting for a half-hourly train, the next train is the one 15 minutes from now, not the one 45 minutes from now. "This train" has no meaning unless there is a train there/you are in the middle of a weekend.


As you might infer, I'm in the second camp but am often told that I am definitely wrong.
posted by vacapinta at 12:19 PM on December 5, 2016


"This train" has no meaning unless there is a train there

Even that can be ambiguous. When the train's parked there, "do you want to catch the next train?" depending how it's said, might be suggesting making a run for it and jumping on, or it could be suggesting letting that one leave and going for a coffee for 30 minutes.

It's even more ambiguous when the train is about to arrive, for varying people's varying definitions of "about to". If you can't tell from voice inflection, you have to ask. Same with the weekend thing.
posted by ctmf at 12:25 PM on December 5, 2016


ctrl+f "biweekly": no results.

Sometimes English is the worst.

See, for example: inflammable.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:26 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Someone asks you on Sunday to do something "next weekend". Is that 5 days from now, or 12 days from now?

Don't use this type of language, give or ask for an exact date, so there's zero confusion. That fact that there's so many different interpretations further argues for using exact dates. My previous question on this just lends further argument.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:26 PM on December 5, 2016


If they're asking you on Sunday, then it can't be this weekend, because any same day plans would say "today", thus "this weekend" is five days from now and then "next weekend" comes in 12 days.
posted by corb at 12:35 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is why I use the dates when making plans.
posted by Cranialtorque at 12:36 PM on December 5, 2016


If they're asking you on Sunday, then it can't be this weekend, because any same day plans would say "today"

Wha? If I say "this week" I don't mean "the week following the week we are currently in." This straight up makes no sense to me. If someone asks you on Sunday "so what did you do this weekend" they obviously don't mean "what did you do five to seven days from now"!
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:40 PM on December 5, 2016


Since your friend was asking you on Sunday, which is a weekend, "next weekend" would mean 5 days from then, and "this weekend" would mean the weekend in which you are both currently living.

If your friend had asked you one day later, your calculations would be different! "This weekend" would then mean this upcoming weekend and "next weekend" would mean the weekend AFTER this upcoming weekend.

All of this is my opinion, of course. It's also my opinion that this is a silly semantic argument and you could avoid confusion by just seeking to clarify.
posted by boghead at 1:03 PM on December 5, 2016


For me it is this upcoming weekend. For my husband, it is the weekend after this upcoming weekend. This use of "next" has caused no end of strife between us for years, and we have learned to be more precise with each other instead of using "next."

Second only to the "chives" vs. "green onions" debate, about which he is wrong wrong wrongety wrong because chives are not synonymous with green onions.
posted by telophase at 1:05 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Second only to the "chives" vs. "green onions" debate, about which he is wrong wrong wrongety wrong because chives are not synonymous with green onions.

Of course he is wrong. Green onions are scallions, not chives.

For the OP: context matters. If I asked my wife today, "Do you want to go to Boston this weekend or next weekend?", it's clear that the choice is between the 10th and the 17th of December. If I asked, "Should we clean out the garage next weekend?", it's not clear what I have in mind.
posted by brianogilvie at 1:10 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Next weekend" means the whole weekend that comes the soonest after the phrase is said.

However, as you can see in this thread, people have crazy personal ideas about a very simple-to-parse phrase, so in practice the phrase by itself carries almost no meaning.
posted by cmoj at 1:12 PM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Spoken from Saturday through maybe Tuesday or Wednesday depending on the nature of the activity: this coming weekend, the next one that is about to happen (so if counting from today, that would be the weekend of 12/10-11).

Spoken from ~Wednesday/Thursday through Friday, that means the weekend that comes after the one we are about to have (so if counting from Thursday 12/8, that would be 12/17-18). During this period, if we were talking about the weekend of 12/10-11, that would be "this weekend", or even just "Saturday", "tomorrow", etc.

Example: a group I'm involved with is currently not sure whether our next show is 12/11 or 12/18. So it's a question of "this weekend" vs. "next weekend".
posted by Sara C. at 1:13 PM on December 5, 2016


There is no "correct" answer. The best practice is to give a specific date. "Let's meet next Saturday, December 12th?" No muss, no fuss, right into the calendar.
posted by Tevin at 1:14 PM on December 5, 2016


It's because 'next' is a relative term. It's the one after some other one. If the conversational context has not established the comparative one, using the word 'next' at all is wrong.
posted by ctmf at 1:17 PM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think there is ambiguity when it is currently not the weekend. On a Monday, I think that "this weekend" and "next weekend" have roughly the same meaning. As you go later in the week, "this weekend" becomes more and more the weekend 3, 2, and 1 days away, and "next weekend" becomes more and more the weekend 10, 9, and 8 days away.

Asked during a weekend, I have a really hard time interpreting "this weekend" as anything other than the weekend that you're are currently living in.
posted by Betelgeuse at 1:39 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


To wring out an analogy: if you're on the train platform and can see the approaching train and say "let's take the next train" you no longer mean the next train to enter the station, you mean the train after "this" one. On Thurs and Fri, there's a weekend at hand, and that's "this weekend", and "next weekend" is the one after it.
posted by nicwolff at 2:03 PM on December 5, 2016


Next weekend is just that - the next weekend coming up. 5 days away. Sunday is still part of this weekend.
posted by SisterHavana at 2:17 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Someone asks you on Sunday to do something "next weekend". Is that 5 days from now, or 12 days from now?

A better question to ask is "Does 'next weekend' mean one specific thing, or does it have two very different meanings?" If you don't ask "Do you mean in x days, or (x + 7) days?" after hearing "next weekend", you're going to have unnecessary misunderstandings.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:18 PM on December 5, 2016


Sorry cannot resist another train analogy which demonstrates why it is all about context. Here's a conversation in which 'next' is used in both sense and unambiguously:

Alice: How long do we have to wait for the train?
Bob: It should be here in 10 minutes or so.
Alice: Well, I wanted to grab some coffee, so lets grab the NEXT train.
Bob: Ok.
Charlie (arriving): Do you know when the NEXT train is?
Bob: Yeah, its in 10 minutes.
posted by vacapinta at 2:21 PM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


Oh man, constant battle. I insist people give me a calendar date:
A: Let's get together next weekend.
BBB: You mean the 12th or 13th?
A: No, next weekend, the 19th.
No room for misunderstanding.
Why? Got caught once when someone booked a venue for an event we had to be at, and they told the venue they wanted the 'first weekend in May". Well, May 1 fell on a Sunday, so that's what the venue booked, when what we needed was the first 'full' weekend, the 7th and 8th. Cost alot of scrambling around. They now give dates.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 2:36 PM on December 5, 2016


Fortnight (two weeks) needs more popularity outside the Commonwealth! "Oxt weekend" indeed -- it's a fortnight away, simple..
posted by kmennie at 4:04 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's zero way to tell. This is why, no matter how casual the conversation, I ask someone if they want to do something "Saturday, December 10 or Sunday, December 11." Sometimes I throw the year in too just for the sake of completion.
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 4:44 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


this is funny -- just today, someone asked me out for "next sunday." she meant the 11th, but I had to clarify.
(I figured, since planning a first date two weeks in advance is unusual. but still)
posted by changeling at 5:09 PM on December 5, 2016


"Next weekend" = "The end of the next week" = 12 days from now
Well at least if you parse the words internally like that.
posted by miyabo at 5:59 PM on December 5, 2016


Adding on, "This" Tuesday/weekend/Christmas means the one coming up. "Next" Tuesday/weekend/Arbor Day will always mean different things to different people.

To people who use THIS vs. NEXT people (ha, not quite as big as ask vs. guess), "this weekend" is today on Saturday, and likely most of the day on Sunday, but from Sunday night through the following Saturday, "this weekend" refers to the upcoming weekend.

To people who are not This vs. Next but who only use the term next, it all depends on the individual's context. Usually, on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, "next weekend" will mean 7, 6, 5 days hence. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, "next weekend" will mean 10, 11, and 12 days hence. On Tuesday, it's anyone's guess.

If you don't know whether the person is a this/next person, for sure, you really have to clarify by dates.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 6:11 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Prior incarnations of this eternal battle:
Is it this weekend or next weekend?
Language for dates
Question about the language we use when telling the time.

I'll just go update the "You WHAT" article, shall I?
posted by zamboni at 5:52 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


People who consider "Next weekend" to be the weekend after the coming one, how would you interpret "Weekend after next"?
posted by HFSH at 6:30 AM on December 6, 2016


If I heard that today, I would consider that December 24th and 25th. I would not use that term myself though and would probably clarify.
posted by soelo at 10:40 AM on December 6, 2016


Not to change the subject, but if it's Monday, and you say "last weekend," when is that?
posted by sixpack at 1:59 PM on December 6, 2016


Not to change the subject, but if it's Monday, and you say "last weekend," when is that?

Not the weekend just ended, but the prior one.
posted by Automocar at 7:20 PM on December 8, 2016


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