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Which day does “next Tuesday” refer to?

This is October. We went to the hill station this year's (2012) summer. Now, how do I say this to others. I have been saying this summer we went to the hill station. Is last summer we went to the hill station means the same thing?

EDIT:

I got this from the answers: In essence you are saying: last summer is referred to summer of last year and this summer refers to summer of this year..

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There are tons of existing last vs. this vs. past vs. next questions you could look at. –  Merk Oct 19 '12 at 19:43
    
thanks, this is a helpful one –  Stat-R Oct 19 '12 at 20:13
    
    
@Merk +1, sarcasm or irony rarely play well in EL&U; and your comment is one of the rare cases where this happen. Congratulations. –  user19148 Oct 20 '12 at 0:24
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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, MετάEd, tchrist, Marthaª, Mark Beadles Oct 20 '12 at 0:15

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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Change "this" to "last" when the year changes. On January 1, say "last summer" for Summer 2012. Until then, keep using "this summer".

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This makes it very clear to me. –  Stat-R Oct 19 '12 at 21:36
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The general convention for this is as follows: "this summer" means "the summer of this year". "Last summer" means "the summer of last year". In the same manner, "next summer" means "the summer of next year". As such in the year 2012, saying "This summer we went to the hill station" refers to the summer of 2012. In 2013, "last summer" must be used to refer to the event, even if the summer of 2013 hasn't yet come.

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Your last sentence seems unclear. –  Robert Harvey Oct 19 '12 at 19:54
    
It means that, were you inclined to refer to the hill station event in the year 2013, you would have to say "last summer", as it happened in 2012. Therefore "last summer" is appropriate, as it refers to an event that happened in the previous year. –  Ataraxia Oct 19 '12 at 19:56
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In essence you are saying: last summer is referred to summer of last year and this summer refers to summer of this year. –  Stat-R Oct 19 '12 at 20:35
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While in early fall, a reference to this summer would probably invoke the summer just past, by November or December, ambiguity is likely to set in. The rest of many sentences may make clear as to whether you are referring to a past or future activity, but not always. Consider this Thanksgiving (in US, late November) dinner conversation

When did you rent the cabin?
This summer.

It was lovely in 2012? It will be lovely in 2013?

Rather, when referring to a summer completed, this past summer is much clearer. And when referring to a distant summer, especially before the new year, this coming summer solves the problem.

Similarly, next summer makes sense when the heat is distant, say before spring, but by January 1, this summer will also do.

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