How to Make Appointments

When making appointments for meetings and other get-togethers, you might hear Americans refer to, for example, “this Friday” or “next Friday.” Since there is a potential one-week difference between the two, it’s important to master the difference.

Even native speakers of English can disagree about the meaning of “this” vs “next,” since it often changes depending on how close the particular meeting day is to the moment you’re making plans. To clarify the terms in conversation, people either add the exact date, or jab the air with a downward pointing index finger for “this” Friday or a rolling hand gesture to illustrate “the next” (or “the following”) Friday.

In writing, it’s best to leave out “this” and “next” all together and simply state the exact date and time instead.

How to remember “this” from “next” in conversation?

In general, “this” is usually attached to things you can touch: this book is mine (you’re holding it); that book is yours (you’re pointing to it). In the same way, “this Friday” refers to the Friday closest to you — the one you can almost touch. “Next Friday” would never be “tomorrow,” though it might be the Friday five or six days later. But opinions vary, so here’s an example of what to say, and what not to say:

It’s Monday and you have a video call with clients on Thursday. You write to confirm the call.

NO: See you next Thursday! (Your clients could think you mean the Thursday AFTER the one coming up.)

YES (informally): See you (on) Thursday.

YES (informally): See you this Thursday.

YES (informally): See you this coming Thursday.

BEST: See you Thursday, May 30, at 12 pm, New York time.

(This last one is absolutely clear, especially in writing: the day of the week, the exact date, the time, and when necessary, the time zone.)