When referring to something that regularly happens alternately with one other thing, you can say that one of the things happens 'every other whatever', relative to your current point in the pattern.

For example, if this week x happens, and next week y happens, and this pattern repeats each week thereafter, we would say that 'y happens every other week'. Next week, when y happens, we would say that 'x happens every other week' (from the week we are currently in).

How can we refer to when the non-other (i.e. the current) event will happen in future? I've heard 'every other other whatever' used (as in 'x happens every other other week'), but that sounds quite clumsy.

Is there a single term that expresses the same thing as 'every other other'?

  • 2
    You just write the sentence so that the "origin" of your "walk" is different.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 13:26
  • Other people may understand this description, but I don't. You're not saying 'every fourth week', right? Are you trying to describe the occurrences of x? That's also 'every other week'. Or both x and_y_ together? That's 'x and y alternate. Do you also want to specify when the x starts? Then add that. 'x and y alternate (or 'x occurs every other week') starting this week'.
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 15:05
  • In other words, I can imagine 'every other other' might make sense to say but I just can't parse it.
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 15:06
  • The current event will happen again the week after next. "Other other" makes no sense to me. Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 9:53
  • @KateBunting Maybe 'other other' isn't as universal a phrase as I thought (maybe it's just be a UK thing), but the idea is that you're jumping ahead to the next week with the first 'other', and then to the week after with the second 'other' (i.e. two weeks from now). To my mind, 'happen again the week after next' lacks the implication of fortnightly recurrence.
    – 08915bfe02
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 10:08

1 Answer 1


The meaning of "every other week" is simpler than you're describing. It just means every second week, or once every two weeks.

See this discussion: Meaning of every other day/week

There doesn't need to be another related event that happens on the alternate weeks. The sentence "Y happens every two weeks" gives no indication that there is an event X that happens on the weeks that Y doesn't occur. It simply means Y happens on week one, not on week two, on week three, not on week four, etc.

The phrase every other week also does not imply not this week. If something happens today, and then not again until two weeks from today, it is entirely appropriate to say, "it happens (today and) every other week." Or, if something happens next Monday and then not again until two weeks later, it is equally appropriate to say, "it happens every other week."

There is some ambiguity in the phrase "every other." Imagine a class of students standing in a line; the teacher skips Allen, chooses Beth, and then every other student. Was every student except for Allen chosen, or were half of the students chosen? The only way to know is through additional context.

If you need an unambiguous version, trade "other" for "two" or whatever number is appropriate: Y happens every two weeks [and X happens on the alternating weeks]

  • Lewis Carroll famously played with the ambiguity when he had the White Queen offer Alice a job of which one of the perks was 'jam every other day'. This is explained as 'jam yesterday and jam tomorrow, but never jam today' because 'today isn't any other day'. Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 8:59
  • Is there another option to disambiguate the "every other student" scenario when not only using context? I am looking for an expression that means "all options, except the one I mentioned (every student except for Allen and Beth)? Would "each other student" be correct? Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 18:16
  • @LuizAngioletti, that's a good question, but you should ask it as a separate question, rather than as a comment, so that other users can benefit from the answer more easily.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 18:43

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