The Difference Between Siguiente vs Próximo [With Quiz]

The Spanish words siguiente (next, following) and próximo (next, near/close) cause a lot of confusion among Spanish learners. When I was first learning Spanish, I certainly made my fair share of mistakes mixing the two up.

If you want some clarity, keep reading. I’ll give you a full breakdown of the difference between these two words and when to use each one. 


Siguiente vs. Próximo

Siguiente and próximo are both adjectives that can mean “next” in English, but they take different time reference points.

Siguiente takes a previously-mentioned or implied time element as its reference point. This means that siguiente can refer to past or future events. It can also be translated as “following” and is often used to refer to the next thing in a series, such as the next person in line. 

On the other hand, próximo always uses the moment of speaking as the reference point. This means próximo can only refer to future events or actions, never to things that happened in the past. 

Check out this example of how both words can be used to refer to a future event:

Quiero organizar la próxima fiesta. (I want to organize the next party.)
Quiero organizar la siguiente fiesta. (I want to organize the next party.)
While they can sometimes be interchangeable, this isn’t the case when talking about past events. Take a look at the difference between these sentences:
El próximo lunes tenemos una reunión.  (Next Monday we have a meeting.)
In the sentence above, we could replace próximo with siguiente to refer to a future meeting. However, in the following sentence, we cannot replace siguiente with próximo to refer to a meeting in the past.
El lunes siguiente tuvimos una reunión.  (The following Monday we had a meeting.)
Here’s another sentence that demonstrates the difference between these two words: 
No me voy la próxima semana. Me voy la semana siguiente. (I’m not leaving next week. I’m leaving the following week.)
A simpler way to say this would be:

No me voy la próxima semana sino la siguiente. (I’m not leaving next week but the following.)

How to Use Siguiente

Siguiente can mean “next” or “following.” You can easily remember this because the word comes from the verb seguir which means “to follow.” It can go before or after the noun. 

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Siguiente typically refers to something that comes immediately after the previously mentioned or inferred point in time or sequence. For example:

La siguiente pregunta es difícil. (The next question is difficult.)

Pasen a la siguiente página. (Go to the next page.) 

En la siguiente reunión, discutiremos el presupuesto anual. (In the next meeting, we’ll discuss the annual budget.)

We can also use siguiente to talk about something that followed something else in the past. For example:

Joaquín suspendió su primer examen, pero aprobó el siguiente. (Joaquín failed his first exam, but he passed the next one.)

Tenía un vuelo temprano al día siguiente. (I had an early flight the following day.) 

It can also be used as a noun:

¿Quién es el siguiente? (Who’s next?)

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Check out this short clip from a news report on FluentU for another example using siguiente: 

Desde Esmeraldas nos llega esta siguiente historia de esperanza, de emprendimiento
From Esmeraldas comes to us this next story of hope, of undertaking

How to Use Próximo

Próximo can also mean “next.” Unlike siguiente, we can’t use próximo to talk about past events. This is because próximo uses the present as its reference point and refers to something that’s coming up or approaching.

Próximo can also go before or after the noun, but we typically put it before the noun. For example:

El próximo mes iré de vacaciones. (Next month I’ll go on vacation.)

Te devolveré el dinero la próxima vez que te vea. (I’ll pay you back the next time I see you.)

El próximo episodio de la serie se estrena el viernes. (The next episode of the series premieres on Friday.)

Check out another clip on FluentU to see the word próximo used in action:

Gracias por cantar conmigo, nos vemos en el próximo Canta con Isa.

Thank you for singing with me, we’ll see each other on the next Sing with Isa.

Próximo has another meaning that it doesn’t share with siguiente: “near” or “close.” For example:

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Mi casa está muy próxima al parque. (My house is very close to the park.)

Changing the Ending of Siguiente vs. Próximo

Another difference between siguiente and próximo is how we change the ending of the word. Siguiente is gender-neutral, so it can be used with a masculine or feminine noun. For example:

El siguiente estudiante (The next/following student)
La siguiente pregunta (The next/following question)

However, we do need to add an -s when talking about a plural noun:

Los siguientes estudiantes (The next/following students)
Las siguientes preguntas (The next/following questions)

With the adjective próximo, we must change the ending to match the gender and number of the noun it’s modifying.  

El próximo lunes (Next Monday)
La próxima semana (Next week)
Los próximos días (The next days)
Las próximas elecciones (The next elections)

Quiz on Using Siguiente vs. Próximo

Now that we’ve gone over the difference between these two words, it’s time to test your understanding. Take the following quiz and just refresh the page if you want to start over or retake it. 

El ____ cliente puede pasar a la sala de espera.
Correct! Wrong!

Vamos a discutir este tema en la ____ reunión.
Correct! Wrong!

El ____ libro del autor será una novela histórica.
Correct! Wrong!

Las ____ páginas tratan este tema.
Correct! Wrong!

Ya es el 28 de junio. Julio comienza la ____ semana.
Correct! Wrong!

Mis ____ vacaciones comienzan en dos semanas.
Correct! Wrong!

Los ____ cinco estudiantes pueden subir al escenario.
Correct! Wrong!

La ____ vez que nos reunamos, discutiremos el plan.
Correct! Wrong!

El ____ vuelo no salía hasta las cinco de la tarde.
Correct! Wrong!

Me acosté temprano porque teníamos una reunión a la mañana ____.
Correct! Wrong!

Siguiente vs. Próximo
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Congratulations! You've mastered the Spanish words siguiente and próximo!

To see more examples of when we use siguiente vs. próximo in realistic contexts, you can use an immersive language learning program like FluentU.

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Confusing word pairs such as siguiente and próximo cause Spanish learners to trip up all the time. The key is to keep it moving and learn from your mistakes. Eventually, differentiating between these words will feel like second nature. 

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