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The word 今度【こんど】, though its literal meaning is "this time" is in my experience used pretty heavily to refer to tbe next time or some unspecified point in the future. For example:

今度【こんど】こそ一緒【いっしょ】に行【い】こう!
Let's go together next time!

This has confused me since I was just beginning to learn Japanese, and I messed it up again not too long ago, after years of study. Maybe some reasons will help keep this straight in my head.

Why is 今度【こんど】 so often used to mean "next time" or "sometime" rather than "this time"?

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Why shouldn't it be confusing? We basically have the same problem in English. –  istrasci Nov 26 '12 at 15:51
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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The reason is because that is generally the closest translation that you can get in English most of the time.

Let's look at some examples:

今度の仕事の方が前の仕事より厳しい (My new job is harder than my old one)

In English, when we think of "next time", we think of something that hasn't happened yet, something that is in the future. However, as shown in the example above, "the new job" is something that already has started. So, when we think about 今度, it is possible to think about something that has already happened.

今度九州に転勤しました

Notice that the above is something that has already happened (past tense).

So from the above we can gather that 今度 can talk about something that happened recently in future or the past. The idea is 今度 refers to something that happens multiple times and you want to refer to the time that just happened recently or will happen in the immediate future.

今度入社したA君です

Another use of 今度 is to mean the same thing as 今回 or このたび as a fixed expression when doing 挨拶, etc.

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This explains the usage well, but doesn't really explain why 今度 can mean "next time" whereas e.g. 今回 can not. –  dainichi Nov 27 '12 at 2:29
    
@dainichi: Yes, but that question is a lot more difficult. I can't put my finger on it, but I think it is related to the difference between 回 and 度. 回 usually implies something that happens more frequently at regular intervals, while 度 doesn't really have any notion of when something will exactly happen. –  Jesse Good Nov 27 '12 at 3:14
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It's easy if you think of 今度 as being like English days of the week. When we say "This Thursday", we don't necessarily mean it is Thursday today (that would be "this day") but we mean the Thursday of this week, or "this (coming) Thursday".

"Next Thursday" would denote "the Thursday of next week".

Likewise, the translation of 今度 as "this time" can stand to mean "this (coming) time".

Hope that's helpful!

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