Next Friday or THE Next Friday?

Thursday, March 26, 2009
I am involved in an on-going discussion with my father as to what "Next Friday" means on any given Tuesday.

It is my personal belief that the words "Next Friday" said when referring to when something is happening, never mean three days from the time said, but TEN days. I would argue that one should always say, "THE next Friday," or more simply, "Friday," if they are referring to the day three days away.

My father's rebuttal to this argument is simple, but in my opinion, flawed logically. He states that if on that same Tuesday a person said, "Friday AFTER Next" they would clearly mean TEN days from the time said. I agree with this point. So in agreeing, my father attempts to wall me in by saying, how can "Friday AFTER Next" mean the same thing as "Next Friday?"

My response back is simple and probably flawed logically as well. It has two parts. Either part is equally as effective at sort of proving my points.

Part 1 :: "Friday AFTER Next" does mean the same thing as "Next Friday." But it doesn't mean the same thing as "Friday AFTER Next Friday."

Part 2 :: My response is to ask him when “THIS Friday” is. His response is three days from now (still assuming we are on Tuesday.) So I say, how can “THIS Friday” and “NEXT Friday” be the same day?

In my opinion, the entire logic framework is solely based on a weekend being between the days discussed or not. If we are on a Tuesday and we say “NEXT Friday” we clearly mean TEN days away. However, if we were on Saturday and said “NEXT Friday” we would (not so clearly) mean six days away.

I will also forfeit the point that using months instead of days changes everything. I would never say “NEXT month” during February and mean to communicate April. “NEXT” when referring to months always means “THE VERY NEXT.”

Also, if we were on Thursday instead of Tuesday and said, "NEXT Friday," we would definitely mean 8 days away. Otherwise we would just say TOMORROW. If the word tomorrow could be used it should ALWAYS be used. This rule is not negotiable.

In conclusion, anyone that thinks they contain the end all be all solution to this issue, I am quite certain, is sadly mistaken. So the VERY next time someone says to you, “Meet me NEXT Friday,” remember to ask them if they mean the VERY next Friday, or the Friday after next, or NEXT Friday, or THIS Friday, and make sure they don't actually mean Wednesday.

From coach to comedian: Marty Simpson is a former USA Today high school All-American and collegiate Academic All-Conference player for USC who scored the Gamecocks' first 6 points in the SEC. During 8 years as a high school varsity coach, Simpson led his team to the state finals and saw one player advance to set an NFL rookie record. Simpson now divides his time between his family, running a multimedia company named Blue-Eyed Panda and getting the same pre-game jitters by performing stand-up comedy nationwide.

Check out Marty's performance dates here.

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