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I know this is correct:
The next item is 3.
The following item is 4.
The following item is 5.
Call these three lines above variant № (1).

I know this is incorrect:
The next item is 3.
The next item is 4.
The next item is 5.
Call these three lines above variant № (2).

That is, in enumerating items, one variant is correct, the other is not.


I know this is correct:
Next year is 2023.
The following year is 2024.
The following year is 2025.
Call these three lines above variant № (3).

an example from a link:
Boss: Where are we at with long term planning?
Me: I would like to start planning for next year. (2023)
Boss: 2023? What about after that?
Me: No problem, I will also start planning for the next year too. (2024)

Therefore, I can add two more same lines here:
Boss: 2024? What about after that?
Me: No problem, I will also start planning for the next year too. (2025)

Hence, I can reduce all the lines to:
Next year is 2023.
The next year is 2024.
The next year is 2025.
Call these three lines above variant № (4).

Is (4) correct?

If the answer is "no", then why is it incorrect, whereas the example is correct?
If the answer is "yes", then why, with time, are both variants correct whereas, not with time, only one variant is correct?

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  • There is nothing wrong with your second example. Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 17:25
  • @KateBunting Do you mean "Next year is 2023. The next year is 2024. The next year is 2025." is correct?
    – Loviii
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 17:27
  • I meant The next item is 3 - the next item is 4 etc., but it would apply to years as well. We say the followng year to refer to the one after the year we have just been talking about. Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 17:29
  • @KateBunting I enumerated the variants for convenience. Do you mean: (2) & (4) are both correct? Thanks.
    – Loviii
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 17:52
  • 1
    Yes, that was what I meant. Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 19:08

1 Answer 1

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I don't see these as "correct" or "incorrect" but merely unnecessarily confusing.

"Next year" is generally understandable (although there are doubts). Speaking of "the following year" is somewhat confusing, but probably understandable, but then talking about "the following year" (to refer to the year following the following year) is too much.

I'd just use absolute dates:

Boss: Where are we at with long term planning?
Me: I would like to start planning for next year. (2023)
Boss: 2023? What about after that?
Me: No problem, I will also start planning for 2024 too.

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