By Nick Potter

potter

 

In this series we look at real-life examples of the most common mistakes in English by native Spanish lawyers.

These and lots more invaluable tips are compiled in two e-books/paperbacks, here: 50 English Tips for Spanish Professionals and More English Tips for Spanish Professionals.

 

the next Friday

 

Any plans for the weekend? Next weekend? And the weekend after that?

Before you check your diary…

Question: Which ONE of A – G below is correct?

A The seminar will take place the next Tuesday 12 of November in our New York office
B Realistically, we should be able to make an initial assessment of where we are at the beginning of the next week
C The court hearing has been fixed for next 25 March 2015
D On the other hand,  the joint and several liability for CIT purposes of the Spanish Obligors for year 2012 will elapsed next 25 July 2017
E The creditors’ meeting has been scheduled for the next 22 October 2015 at 12:00
F I am out of the office until next 7th June
G It’s difficult to know when this will happen, but I expect it will be during the next 7/10 days

■ Before you read the answer, remember:

It’s Monday.

Boo!

You have to prepare a short report.

You have to tell somebody in English that the deadline is el próximo jueves por la mañana.

What should you say?

You should say the deadline is Thursday or on Thursday.

If you say “next Thursday”, your English colleagues will think they have until Thursday next week – 10 days, not three.

Why?

When referring to la semana que viene, we say next week (note we don’t use the definite article, “the”):

  • El secretario general de la OTAN visitará Georgia la semana próxima / NATO general secretary to visit Georgia next week

However, próxima is often used in Spanish when we would not say next in English.

Take a look at this Spanish news headline on Wednesday the 1st of July:

  • Las temperaturas altas remiten hasta el próximo viernes cuando entra una nueva ola de calor

Brits may have a rather different idea of what a heatwave is, as you will know if you’ve seen us eating ice creams with our shirts off in mid-December.

But we would definitely have a different idea of what “next Friday” or “the next Friday” is.

For a Spanish speaker, el próximo viernes can be the same week, two days later – but to an English speaker, “next Friday” cannot be two days later. It is Friday next week.

So to make it clear that the heatwave is coming two days later, the headline would have to be translated as:

  • Temperatures to drop until Friday when another heatwave expected

We would not use the word next here.

Friday means this Friday (in the same example, the 3rd of July), not next Friday (the 10th) or the next Friday (the 17th), i.e. the following Friday in a sequence.

This means the same week e.g. speaking on Wednesday 1st:, there is no “this Tuesday” because it has passed. “Next Tuesday” means the 7th. “This Saturday” is the first Saturday after speaking, Saturday 4th.

Next is usually used to distinguish from this e.g. speaking on Wednesday 1st,  I would understand “next Saturday” to be the 11th, a week from this Saturday.

But the rules on this/next are a little hazy. Speaking two days earlier, on Monday, “this Saturday” would definitely be the 4th. But somebody else might also think of the 4th as “next Saturday”. Which is why you will often hear even native speakers asking each other “do you mean this Saturday or next Saturday?” to clarify.

The rule on the next however is clear – it means “the one after”, following another in sequence:

  • “We’re playing Derby on Saturday 11th, and the next Saturday we’ll probably be relegated” said the pessimistic Forest fan

What about with dates?

The rule on using “next” or “the next” with dates is much easier.

Don’t.

Ever.

We don’t say “next 15 November” or “the next 15 November”; this is a Spanish construction that does not translate. We might say “next Friday, 15 November” but that comma is essential because we only use “next” and “the next” with days of the week, not dates (Friday 15 November without a comma is a date).

Same goes with the word “last”. We can say “last August”. We don’t say “the last 28 August”  or “last 28 August”.

EVER!!

■ So:

A is wrong because we do not use “the next” with dates. We can say “next Tuesday” (i.e. Tuesday next week), however, so we need to remove “the” and add a comma:

A The seminar will take place the next Tuesday, 12 of November, in at our New York office

In B the author meant to say la semana que viene so should not have used the definite article “the”. Saying “the next week” makes no sense here – there is no sequence described.

B Realistically, we should be able to make an initial assessment of where we are at the beginning of the next week

In C-F, “next” and “the next” were again wrongly used with dates, so these need to be deleted (among other corrections).

C The court hearing has been fixed for next 25 March 2015
D On the other hand,  the joint and several liability for CIT purposes of the Spanish Obligors for year 2012 will elapsed next on 25 July 2017
E The creditors’ meeting has been scheduled for the next 22 October 2015 at 12pm
F I am out of the office until next the 7th of June

G is correct – “the next” refers to a sequence of days (starting from tomorrow).

G It’s difficult to know when this will happen, but I expect it will be during the next 7/10 days [CORRECT]

 

See you next week!