# How would you talk about relative time in the past?

I'm not sure if I'm overcomplicating this. I'm talking about events in the past, and I want to use relative time markers within that time frame. For example, "the day after that", or "the day before that", or "a year later". I'm not sure if I can use 明日【あした】, 昨日【きのう】 and 来年【らいねん】, because as I see it, I would be referring to the present timeline, the next day/previous day/next year for me. Is this so, or am I overcomplicating it?

Is there a separate set of words for talking about relative time in the past, or is this something that is simply understood from context?

There are a few ways to express this.

You can use 翌{よく} as in:

翌年{よくとし}（orよくねん）



These means year, month, week, day, following a particular point in time.

Other ways are to use 次の〇 or 前の〇 as in:

次{つぎ}の年{とし}　or 前{まえ}の年{とし} （前年{ぜんねん} for more of a 熟語{じゅくご} feel）

• Nice tips about 次【次】 and 前【まえ】, though I don't quite understand what 翌 is meant to mean in this context. – Lou Jan 6 '15 at 21:27
• 翌just means "following". So 翌日{よくじつ} is "the following day". Here is an example I pulled from alc: 過去最高気温となるカ氏65度を記録した月曜日に続き、翌日には気温が氷点下まで落ち込み大きな積雪となったことで、地域の2校が休校となりました。 After a record high of 65 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, temperatures plummeted ［slipped］ to sub-zero levels the following day, causing two local schools to close due to the large snow accumulation. – user224579 Jan 6 '15 at 21:44
• (Sorry for the ugly entry..no formatting in comments..) – user224579 Jan 6 '15 at 21:45

Past Perspective:

Formal

As usual, expect to hear lots of "on" sounds.

Preceding time: 「[前]{ぜん} + time word」　[前年]{ぜんねん}、[前月]{ぜんげつ}、[前週]{ぜんしゅう}、[前日]{ぜんじつ}

Succeeding time: 「[翌]{よく} + time word」　 [翌年]{よくねん}、[翌月]{よくげつ}, etc.

Informal

That means lots of "kun" sounds.

Preceding time: 「（その）[前]{まえ}の + time word」 （その）[前]{まえ}の[年]{とし}、[前]{まえ}の[月]{つき}, etc.

Succeeding time: 「（その）[次]{つぎ}の + time word」 （その）[次]{つぎ}の[週]{しゅう}、次の[日]{ひ}, etc.

「その」 is optional but is used frequently.