Today is Wednesday and I received an e-mail asking that a task be done on Thursday. After further question the sender did mean Thursday as in tomorrow.

What is the correct way to describe the next day in this situation either saying "tomorrow", "Thursday", or does either one work? Since most of the public including me, usually don't follow rules what is the most common way?

I feel since the sender was being more descriptive by saying Thursday instead of tomorrow they were meaning Thursday of next week.

  • American speakers generally say "THIS" or "NEXT." If the day is in the current week, one would say "This Thursday." If it was the following week one would say "Next Thursday," even if the literal next Thursday is coming up. For example, if today is Wednesday and I say "let's do something next Thursday," I am most likely referring to one week from tomorrow. Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 22:20
  • There is no “correct way.” All one can do is try to be clear in one’s communication, and the receiver of a message can ask for clarification, as you and/or someone else did. Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 22:23
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    With communications that may not be received the same hour / day / week ..., the only sensible way to guarantee the correct date is to use say 'tomorrow (ie Thursday Dec 21 2020)'. Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 22:38

3 Answers 3


If I, a native speaker of BrE, receive something on Wednesday that asks for a reply by Thursday, then that means to me "tomorrow". If it needed to mean to me the following Thursday it would have had to say "Thursday week" or to give a precise date.

In the case quoted, I would surmise that the email was actually written or first drafted on Tuesday, at which time there would have been no possible ambiguity in the meaning of "Thursday".

  • "it would have had to say 'Thursday week' "Do you mean "Thursday next week"? Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 16:41
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    @Acccumulation No, “Thursday week” is a very common BrE expression meaning “Thursday next week”. Kind of like how Brits will often say “half five” to mean “half past five”. Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 19:58

To be clear, one should give the date. One can also give the day of the week, or "tomorrow", but it should be in addition, not instead of, the date. The problem with "tomorrow" is that it requires the reader to know when it is written. The problem with "Thursday" is that the reader then has to figure out which Thursday. The term "this Thursday" is used for a "near" Thursday (such as tomorrow), and "next Thursday" for a "far" Thursday (such as a Thursday six days from now), but just what is "near" and "far" can be ambiguous. Some people will use "this Thursday" to refer to yesterday if today is Friday, while others consider it to always refer to the future. So it's best not to rely on other people knowing what you mean by "Thursday" or "next Thursday".


Let's suppose today is Monday, Feb 26th and somebody asks me: "when are you doing it?" If I want to refer to this coming Thursday, March 1st, I would answer "I will do it on Thursday". If the listener asks "which Thursday", then I would say this Thursday. If I mean Thursday, March 8th I would say "I'll do it next Thursday". But today is Wednesday Feb 28th and most people will refer to Thursday, March 1st. as tomorrow. In written English it's always safer to write the date.

  • Note that if said on a Monday, “next Thursday” will mean the same thing as “this Thursday” to many people. Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 19:59
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Maybe following the discussion has skewed my impressions, but it seems to me that if said on a Monday, it's "the next Thursday" that's the same as "this Thursday". Without the, "next Thursday" would be about a week and a half away (Thursday week).
    – Lawrence
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 1:59

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