Do you say ‘this weekend’ or ‘next weekend’? It depends on your age

Patrick EnglishDirector of Political Analytics
September 16, 2021, 10:12 AM GMT+0

Younger Britons back 'this weekend', but older folks prefer 'next weekend'

It has often been said that Britain and America are two nations divided by a common language. But that can often hold equally true within a single country, with different people understanding the same turn of phrase to mean different things.

For instance, a 2017 YouGov survey showed that should a Southerner invite a Northerner over for ‘dinner’, a third would turn up expecting to be fed in the middle of the day rather than in the evening.

Now a new YouGov survey shows that Britons making weekend plans may find themselves missing each other by a week, but this time it is age rather than region that makes a difference.

On Monday and Tuesday 13-14 September, YouGov asked Britons whether a series of weekend dates represent ‘last weekend’, ‘this weekend’, ‘next weekend’, ‘the weekend after next’, or ‘the weekend after the weekend after next’.

The results show that Britons are heavily divided is on how they would describe the weekend coming up: 18-19 September. While 40% of Brits think that is ‘this weekend’, a majority (56%) think it is ‘next weekend’.

The generations are at odds on this matter. Both 18-29 year olds (by 59% to 30%) and 30-39 year olds (by 51% to 41%) tend to think that 18-19 September is ‘this weekend’, 40-49 year olds are evenly split between ‘this’ and ‘next’ (47% to 52%), but the vast majority of those aged 50+ call it ‘next weekend’ (71, 70%) rather than ‘this weekend’ (27%, 25%).

Similarly, while 18-29 year olds tend to think that 25-26 September is ‘next weekend’ (49%) rather than ‘the weekend after next’ (39%), a majority of everyone 30 and over think it is ‘the weekend after next’.

The older Britons are, the more sure they are of this point. In the 30-39 age category, a small majority (57%) would describe 25-26 September as ‘the weekend after next’, but this rises to fully 79% of those aged 50+.

In all, around a quarter of Britons (23%) think that 25-26 September is ‘next weekend’, while two-thirds (67%) think it is best described as ‘the weekend after next’.

One in five (18%) think that 2-3 October is ‘the weekend after next’, with no fewer than 80% believing it to be ‘the weekend after the weekend after next’.

Again, even at this far end of the scale we see age differences: a third of young people (36%) think 2-3 October is ‘the weekend after next’ vs just 10% of those aged 65 and over.

See the full results here

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