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ell.stackexchange.com:
(1) The next three Mondays I'll be out of town. — common
ell.stackexchange.com:
(2) Next three Mondays I'll be out of town. — informal
I was told (1) and (2) mean the same where (2) is just an informal version of (1).

my variant:
(3) The following three Mondays I'll be out of town.
Is (3) correct?
If it is, does (3) mean the same as (1)?


Also I'd like to consider the following examples.

oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com:
(4) The next six months will be the hardest.
As far as I understand, since today is 18 December 2023, the hardest time will be approximately from today to 18 June 2024.
Am I right?
If not, then why not?


my variant:
(5) Next six months will be the hardest.

By analogy with (1) and (2):
(4) and (5) mean the same.
(5) is just an informal version of (4).
Am I right?
If not, then why not?


my variant:
(6) The following six months will be the hardest.
Is (6) correct?
If it is, does (6) mean the same as (4)?

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  • Most of your examples aren't very idiomatic because we wouldn't normally "front" the time-based adverbial. It's more natural to say "I'll be out of town for the next three Mondays". Dec 18, 2023 at 12:09
  • "The following three Mondays" refers to three Mondays in succession immediately after a specified future date, as Kate mentions in her answer, whereas "(the) next three Mondays" could be in relation to "today" or to a future date. The same is true with other calendar items, "months", "quarters". With "the following" there must be a future time as the "anchor". Dec 18, 2023 at 13:07
  • Or a past time, just not today. "On Monday, May 2, 2022 I was in Barcelona. The following|next three Mondays I was in London." Same is true with "previous". It must be anchored by a specified date other than today. Dec 18, 2023 at 13:12
  • @TimRonsomedevice From your comments I'm inferring that the following example can be both with "the" and without "the": "On Monday, January 1, 2024 I will be in Barcelona. (The) next three Mondays I will be in London." Am I right? Thanks.
    – Loviii
    Dec 18, 2023 at 13:40
  • Yes, the parentheses there (the) next three Mondays indicates that the definite article is optional, with the caveat that omitting it is informal/conversational, as you mentioned in your question. I should probably say "conversational and terse". Dec 18, 2023 at 13:50

2 Answers 2

1

To me, the following three Mondays means 'the three Mondays after a certain date', not 'the next three after today'.

On January 8th and the next three Mondays I shall be out of town.

2
  • Does "the following six months" in "The following six months will be the hardest." also mean "'the six months after a certain date", not "the next six after now"? Thanks.
    – Loviii
    Dec 18, 2023 at 14:01
  • Yes, it does to me. Dec 18, 2023 at 14:36
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It's correct, just a little too formal to be most people's first choice of words. It kind of makes me want to rewrite the examples to "the following three Mondays I will not be present" and "the following six months will be the most difficult" to match the style.

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