Suppose it is Wednesday:

  1. Does the expression "This Monday" mean:

    • The Monday of the same week.
    • The Monday of the following week.
  2. Does the expression "Next Monday" mean:

    • The Monday of the following week.
    • The Monday of the week following the following week.

As an aside, I'm not even sure if the fact that this would work one way rather than another is a matter of which language is spoken (e.g. English), or whether the same reasoning as would be given by answers on this group would apply to other languages as well (as a matter of pure logic).

  • Interesting reading on an attempt to disambiguate the word "next": oxtweekend.com
    – Cat
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 1:58
  • 1
    Seed also What day does 'next Tuesday' refer to? at ELU. Without having read all the answers, in general folks try to communicate with the least amount of ambiguity as possible when referring to a future time, so often a negotiation of meaning of "this" or "next" occurs between the interlocutors on the spot.
    – user6951
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 10:04

9 Answers 9


I agree with Tetsujin; native English speakers differ. I've heard native speakers use both meanings in each of the examples you give. I most often hear "this Monday" and "next Monday" to both mean "the Monday of the following week". And of course contextual cues can be used to determine if the speaker is intending "this Monday" to be in the past. "This Monday the weather was so nice I washed my car" is pretty clearly in the past.

I personally am in the habit of saying "this past Monday" and "this coming Monday" to clearly indicate which I mean.

  • 1
    I'm certainly with you on that @EricLippert - the 'definition' of 'this', 'next' etc really depends on where in the country you are & whether you're talking to natives of that area, or trying to be generic. It's the equivalent dialectic confusion of "what time of day is dinner?" ;) Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 18:09

I doubt you will manage to tie this down.

Even among regular English natives, there is the constant need to clarify after any such statement, leading to such convolutions as…

"This Monday - the 4th"

"Next Monday - not this one, the one after"

"This coming Monday"

"A week Monday"

"This Monday - the one we just had - two days ago"
[which should better be referred to as 'last Monday' but would still need confirming as this week, not last week...

  • 1
    "A week Monday" is not valid English. I think you mean "A week from Monday".
    – anon
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 15:53
  • 2
    It's certainly 'valid' English where I come from. The noted confusion above aside, "A week Monday" is definitively 'not this coming Monday but the one after'. If you don't grok that, then you've never lived in the North of England ;) Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 18:03
  • Equally, in Northern UK, "next Monday" is not the one 5 days hence, but the one after that. In the south, that causes confusion, because it would be the 'next occurrence of the day Monday' to them. Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 18:05
  • 1
    And here I was, forgetting that English dialects vary wildly. Apologies for that. Where I am, "a week Monday" is when you accidentally a word.
    – anon
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 19:00
  • @QPaysTaxes: "A week Monday" is a pretty common elision in Canada where I grew up as well. People from Pennsylvania I have noticed elide "to be" as in "do you have anything that needs washed?" which sounded very strange to me when I first heard it. Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 19:05

"This Monday" normally means the Monday of the current week. That being said, I don't think I've ever heard someone refer to that as "This Monday" during the rest of the week. If you are talking about events that happened on the Monday of the current week, you could simply say "on Monday". If I wanted to talk about something that occurs on the Monday of this week (It's currently Sunday), then I would use "This Monday" or more likely "Tomorrow". For the Monday of the next however, I would use "Next Monday" until Sunday or maybe Saturday.


My observation is that the situation is worse than that expressed by other answers for the phrase "Next Monday". In my experience there is no way to tell whether that means "Monday of the next week" or "The next Monday, which may occur in this week".

I have observed both usages amongst people born and brought up in the same area, speaking the same dialect of British English. I have seen the same situation in various places in the UK and amongst members of the same family (including mine).

As far as I can tell it is an individual stylistic choice that is not systematically harmonised across dialects. For that reason, endless confusion reigns.


A good rule of thumb is to look at the tense. No rule that does not pay attention to tense will be viable. (And then, as others have noted, there is dialectal/idiolectal variation.)

  • this Monday + past = the immediately preceding Monday
  • this Monday + future = the immediately following Monday
  • last Monday + past = one week before the immediately preceding Monday
  • next Monday + future = one week after the immediately following Monday

This usually has nothing to do with the week boundary, but is relative to the reference time: on a Wednesday, this Monday + future is next week; but on a Monday, this Wednesday + future is the same week.


Next Monday week - a week from the next coming Monday. Next Monday fortnight - two weeks from the next coming Monday.


This is an age-old dilemma and was even part of a Seinfeld episode because it's confusing. This Monday can mean the Monday just passed (though we usually just say "on Monday") or the Monday coming. Depending on the context, the Monday just past can be said as "last Monday" especially if it's late in the week. But the Monday coming can be said as this Monday or next Monday. Often, if we mean the Monday coming, we say "this coming Monday" to clarify it, and if we mean the Monday after that, we say "Monday week" but Monday week can also be spoken as next Monday which makes it confusing and also incorrect. It is one of those anomalies that we need to specifically clarify what we're meaning.


I learned this by working at a call center i told the customer "Sir , don't worry you will receive your order next monday , and he got like "What , next monday ? are you serious?" the right answer was this monday but i didn't knew that expresion so i found it out by myself with this funny situation" So this monday it's for the current week and next monday for the next week


"This" and "next" ambiguity isn't limited to days of the week. There isn't a fixed interpretation. As an example, I spent years in a city where the highway signage followed this meaning:

ABC Exit Right
XYZ Exit Next Right

In this case, ABC was the upcoming exit, and "next" meant the one after the one upcoming.

I moved to a city where the signage was like this:

ABC Exit Next Right

In this case, "next" meant the one upcoming.

It took me a while to stop missing my exit. There isn't a reliable, universal interpretation for "next" in these kinds of situations.

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