1

Why is it correct to say:

We would like to thank the following contributors:

  • Mr. X
  • Mrs. Y
  • Mr. Z

while it is NOT correct to say:

We would like to thank the next contributors:

  • Mr. X
  • Mrs. Y
  • Mr. Z

I see how the word "following" makes sense:

coming next; listed or shown next

but I don't see why "next" is a bad choice, especially as it's part of the definition above:

coming after this one; in the time or place that follows or comes directly after someone or something : after this

I saw this answer on ELU which just says "'following' is generally used," and the question was closed as answerable by commonly available references, but I don't see this answered in those references (maybe I'm just missing it).

Is there any source, rule, or more general way to intuitively understand this?

  • 3
    If you say "next", it implies that there was also a "previous". You can say "I would like to introduce our next guest", but only if he's not the first guest. So you could say "The next contributors we would like to thank are Mr. X, Mrs Y, Mr. Z" if you've already thanked Ms. T, Mr. U, Miss V, and Mr. W. – Peter Shor Jul 25 '16 at 19:59
  • You actually have the answer in your post: next means "coming after this one". But in your example about thanking contributors, you haven't named any yet, so you can't say there's a "next one". – stangdon Jul 25 '16 at 20:18
4

If you say "next", it implies that there was also a "previous". You can't start a list with "next".

You can say

I would like to introduce our next guest,

but only if he's not the first guest.

So you could say

The next contributors we would like to thank are Mr. X, Mrs Y, Mr. Z,

if you've already thanked Ms. T, Mr. U, Miss V, and Mr. W.

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