Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Possible Duplicate:
Which day does “next Tuesday” refer to?

Suppose today is Tuesday. What do last Monday, this Monday and next Monday mean?

share|improve this question
add comment

marked as duplicate by jimreed, FumbleFingers, Will Hunting, Matt Эллен, Jim Feb 6 '12 at 19:36

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Let's analyze this Monday first.

I saw him this Monday.

Obviously, the speaker means yesterday.

I have a meeting with him scheduled for this Monday.

If it were Friday today, you'd be sure the speaker refers to the upcoming Monday. If it's Tuesday, you would think that too, but you might want to confirm the date to make sure the speaker hasn't mixed anything up. Why is that? I think that's because the next Monday is somewhat too distant from this Tuesday to be called this Monday.

Not let's look at next Monday.

I will see him next Monday.

Of course the speaker means the upcoming Monday. Now imagine it's Saturday or Sunday today. The same sentence should seem a bit strange. Of course, logically next Monday is the same upcoming Monday, but again, you might want to ask to specify what the person means just to make sure.

Similar considerations can be applied to last Monday.

Now, do I have any source to back up my answer? No, I do not. But does that matter? I'm pretty sure a lot of people would understand different things when hearing the ambiguous this, last, or next Monday. So, even if there were a strict rule (which I doubt there is) what good would it be if the terms are still ambiguous? Language is not mathematics, it's very ambiguous.

share|improve this answer
add comment

English has only tenuous rules for this kind of expression; i.e, it varies a lot from day to day and from speaker to speaker.

For details, consult "Time", Ch. 3 from Fillmore's 1973 Deixis Lectures.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.