If it is December 2017 and someone says “January of next year” are they still referring to January 2018 or January 2019?

e.g.: On December, my boss stated: You will be receiving a raise on January of next year.

  • 1
    It's ambiguous. You should ask your boss for a clarification – or check your pay stubs in January. – J.R. Dec 15 '17 at 16:43
  • 1
    How can January of next year be ambiguous if the present date is December 2017?? By the way, it's in December, but on 8 December or on December 8th. – Lambie Dec 15 '17 at 17:24
  • 2
    It doesn't sound ambiguous at all to this US English speaker. If it's 2017, then next year is 2018 and "January of next year" can only mean January of 2018. – stangdon Dec 15 '17 at 18:36
  • @stangdon - If it's Thursday, and I say, "Let's get together next weekend," does that mean the same thing as "Let's get together this weekend"? – J.R. Dec 21 '17 at 15:43
  • @J.R. let's get together next Thursday is ambiguous, but let's get together Thursday of next week is not to me. In fact, I would probably use the latter to disambiguation the former. – choster Sep 19 '18 at 12:39

This is one of those cases where what someone means and what someone says or even writes may differ. Not all native speakers speak or write carefully.

An idiomatic way to express next month during December is with the phrase in January. And, literally, the phrase next January expressed in December can only mean next month. But I am willing to bet that a fair number of people speaking on December 31 are trying ineptly to express the meaning of a year from this coming January with the expression next January rather than the meaning of sometime within the next 31 days. It is naive to think that all native speakers of English always use the language carefully.


Suppose 'next year' is a variable, If it is December 2017, the value of 'next year' is 2018. so January of next year is January of 2018.


I'm a non native speaker.

And in school we were taught; next means skipping one occurrence.

So saying "Next Wednesday we will leave" on a Sunday, means in fact leaving in 10 days.

According to this theory, 'next January' would mean in 13 months. But I guess nobody really knows...

  • 1
    Some people do use this rule and I was told this growing up. However, I wouldn't rely on everyone to understand since it's a tricky situation and people come from different places, so I would pretty much always say something like "not this coming Wednesday, but the Wednesday after." Yes it's clunky, but at least it won't confuse anyone! – Ethan B. Jun 16 at 7:45

Yes, it will be the very next month which of course is January,2018.

Your boss could also say:

You will be receiving a raise next January.

I will give you a raise next month. (assuming that you are still in December).

  • What would it mean if your boss says "You'll get a raise this January?" – The Photon Dec 15 '17 at 17:14
  • if it's January when he makes the offer then I would assume he is talking about now or before the month finishes. Of course, in everyday English saying this January can mean the very next January approaching. Failing all of this I wouldn't wait until January I'd just take the money and run!!!! – user242899 Dec 15 '17 at 20:12

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