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I want to change the following sentence into indirect speech with backshift:

“There will be a show next Saturday.”

He said there would be a show the following Saturday.

Is it also possible to say the following?

He said there would be a show the Saturday after.

I think “after” has to be followed by an object, e.g. “the Saturday after Christmas”. Am I right?

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  • In your context it's entirely a stylistic choice whether to put following before or after the dayname (Saturday) that it modifies. This has no effect on meaning (but imho the Saturday following is a slightly "higher register" than the following Saturday). But the (far less common) alternative modifier after can ONLY come after the noun (it's always the day after, never the after day). Commented May 6, 2023 at 10:55

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It might be argued that Cambridge Dictionary licenses this usage (though POS assignment may well be contested):

after [adverb] A2

later than someone or something else:

  • soon after Hilary got here at midday and Nick arrived soon after.
  • I can't go next week – how about the week after (= the following week)?
  • [not standard] She got back at 4.30 and went to see Emilie after (= after she got back).

[highlighting mine]

However, there is a retrievable 'that' / 'that one' / 'next week' in the relevant example given in CD, with antecedent 'next week' earlier in the sentence. Hence Jespersen and others see 'after' here as better classified as an intransitive preposition.

With He said there would be a show the Saturday after, there is a lack of antecedent. The Saturday after what? In my opinion, this somehow seems more of a problem than with 'following' in 'He said there would be a show the following Saturday', where the default interpretation is 'following the time when 'he' was speaking'.

I'd say John mentioned that the show scheduled for the last Saturday in April had been cancelled. He said there would be a show the Saturday after is again acceptable ... though probably not the most idiomatic choice.

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  • There are a few contexts where after comes before the noun it modifies (the after party, aftermath, afternoon, after effects,...). But that doesn't work at all with the after day, regardless of whether it's a specifically named day or not. I don't know why after is different to following in this context. But as to "after what?" in this context, I have no problem - it just means the Saturday after the current one (if he said it on a Saturday, that one; otherwise it's [after] the first Saturday after the reported speech). Commented May 6, 2023 at 11:02
  • I think that 'Jo spoke at the meeting. He said there would be a show the Saturday after' sounds far less natural than 'Jo spoke at the meeting. He said there would be a show the following Saturday'. Commented May 6, 2023 at 11:25
  • I agree absolutely - as I noted in my comment under the Q itself, "after" is far less common for this exact context. But at least both "after" and "following" are more obviously relative to original time of speaking, whereas "next" (the word actually used in the original utterance) is susceptible to being incorrectly interpreted as relative to time of reporting an earlier utterance. Commented May 6, 2023 at 15:59

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