Submitted by biz on March 10, 2009

On Tomorrow

After moving from Chicago down to northeastern Georgia, I have noticed an extremely vexing trend among many of the native Southerners. The phrase “on tomorrow,” i.e. “We will have a staff meeting on tomorrow.” The first time I heard this spoken out loud I assumed it was a mistake; when I continued to hear the words spoken from several different, well-educated, people I assumed it must be dialectal. “On yesterday” has also found itself crept into everyday conversation...

Has anyone ever heard (or spoken) such a phrase? Is this a Southern thing? It just sounds unnatural to me and I do not understand why it is deemed necessary to put the preposition in front of tomorrow (and sometimes yesterday). “We will have a staff meeting tomorrow” sounds just fine to me.

Comments

Sort by

I thought that the usage of the phrase was a regional issue until I heard an MSNBC reporter use it yesterday. It's a growing trend and technically, it is grammatically incorrect.
Here's why:

The most common misuse of the phrase "on tomorrow" occurs where "tomorrow" is used as an adverb in a sentence, i.e.: "I'll return this report to you on tomorrow." Adverbs can not be the object of a preposition.

Part of speech is dependant on function within the sentence. If a word is used as an adverb and is acting as an adverb in the sentence structure, then it is an adverb.

The word "tomorrow" already includes the IMPLIED prepositions "on" or "to" and was once written as "to morrow". Later, hyphens were added (to-morrow) and then eventually, the words were joined without the hypen (tomorrow). "Yesterday", "Today" and "Tomorrow" do not require the preposition "on" for the same reason. "On the morrow" is already implied with the word "tomorrow". Adding "on" or "to" is redundant.

Generally, the preposition "on" is paired with holidays, specific days of the week, or dates. This has been the practice from Old English to the present.

Examples: on Christmas; on Bastille Day; on Friday; on Monday; on May 15th; on October 2, 2009.......

Had the sentence read "On the morrow, I will return this report to you", it would have been a correct, albeit obsolete, use of the phrase "on tomorrow".

I hope this clarifies the matter. For the record, I live and work in Memphis. I hear the phrase daily.........and it makes me cringe every time! I thought it a reflection of the local school system. Should I be glad it isn't just a local trend?

(I'm more and more thankful for the private school education I received! I think my parents daily!)

38 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have a principal that says on tomorrow on the loudspeaker during announcements almost every day. It drives me NUTS! I want to run up there and give him a grammar lesson every day. Perhaps I will... on tomorrow. Eeeekkkk!!!

He is of African-American decent. It is a Southern Black thing. It is incorrect.

37 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have been hearing this phrase for several years now. Unfortunately, I hear it from teachers and school administrators of African-American decent. I'm not sure if it is cultural or not - but I agree that it is incorrect grammar and should never be used in a school setting.

33 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

It's not a Southern thing; it's a "stupid" thing.

15 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have lived in Texas all my life. I am also a school teacher. I had never heard the phrase until last year when our new principal used it in a faculty meeting. Many of us thought it was just a slip-up. However, since then we have added a new counselor who always uses the phrase. I don't know where it came from or how it got started but it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

13 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

In my observation, I have never heard a white redneck in the South say, “on tomorrow.”

It is a southern black thing. As previously mentioned, it's usually used by public school teachers or administrators. In their efforts to overcome negative stereotypes about their intelligence and speech patterns they over enunciate and add extra words. It's tragic that they're trying so hard not to use Ebonics but just end up sounding ignorant anyway. And what teacher is going to have the courage to go up and correct their principal?

12 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

What bothers me—really bothers me—is intolerance. On this site we discuss the English language. One marvelous aspect of English is its variability, its malleability. English is spoken in all parts of the world, and it exists in standard forms (mainly British and American, but with others ascendant) and non-standard forms. It is a gross misunderstanding of the language to believe that non-standard speech equals ignorance. And it is intolerance to reject non-standard yet perfectly understandable phrases like "on tomorrow" as ignorant.

Is "on tomorrow" a "black thing?" Maybe, and maybe not. That is a question for linguists; it is interesting but beside the point. Is it grammatically wrong? No it is not wrong, any more than "on Tuesday" is wrong. Is "We'll meet tomorrow" more concise than "We'll meet on tomorrow?" Of course it is, just as "Tuesday" is more concise "on Tuesday." So what? Are we all suddenly Hemingway, with no room for rhetoric? I think not.

Regional variety is just that: variety. Enjoy it. Think of it as an unfamiliar spice.

Plus which—another non-standard phrase given currency by a certain Oxford-educated U.S. president—when you start talking about "otherwise successful black people" you risk expressing prejudice, and you invite it.

12 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

We are in God's hand, brother, not in theirs.
March to the bridge; it now draws toward night:
Beyond the river we'll encamp ourselves,
And on to-morrow, bid them march away.
- Henry V, act III scene vi

The OED notes that "on" is "Now also (esp. U.S. and Irish English) used with tomorrow, yesterday, etc., app. redundantly". I think they say it's redundant because etymologically "tomorrow" already contains the preposition "to".

But as the Shakespeare quote shows it's quite an old usage. And "on" is used with other expressions of time, for instance "on the weekend", "on nights", where just "the weekend" and "nights" could be used without any confusion.

Some usage books complain about it, tho.

12 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Maybe it's a sign that you should move back Nawth.

12 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have heard this "on tomorrow" so many times here in Georgia and I want to correct those who say it and don't know how, since I feel people would be embarrassed. But it grinds me the same way it does you. How do we get the word out that "tomorrow" and "yesterday" is simply all you need to say, especially in those church announcements.

11 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am a native Philadelphian, and am currently a senior at a university in Washington, DC. Until I came here I'd never heard it. It's nails on a chalkboard to me! I quite literally cringe everytime I hear it, and it seems as though I do several times each day.

10 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I work at LSU and one of my colleagues says "on tomorrow." She started in my department a month or two ago. I hadn't heard that phrase before I met her. It drives me bananas!

9 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

It's not an African-American dialect for all of you who have assumed such a position. It's more a regional dialect and drives me crazy! I am an African-American from New England from a very affluent Maryland family. We abhor the grammatically incorrect phrase. My english studies has always deemed the phrase "on tomorrow" grossly incorrect. But I've observed colleged educated (many many teachers) Baltimore/DC metro area people of all ethnicities and cultures using the phrase. The experience is like nails on the chalkboard to me as well. But truly, it's not a big deal. :)

8 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Douglas, calm down.

As you aptly pointed out, we had a white President who was infamous for mispronouncing nuclear, and I, a white man, have probably mispronounced asterisk myself. Just because someone else has made the same error, doesn’t mean it is proper or standard English. It’s great to celebrate the diversity in non-standard English or different dialects, but a professional setting among professional educators calls for standard English.

If you celebrate diversity among non-standard English, you shouldn’t be so offended at the observation that cultural backgrounds affect the way we all speak. I’m sure if we went deep enough into Appalachia or watched enough of The Beverly Hillbillies we would find plenty of uniquely white non-standard variations.

8 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

i have certainly heard it in Atlanta!

7 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have addressed the ask/axe issue elsewhere, but it seems to bear repeating.

The pronunciation of "ask" as "aks" is sometimes seen as a sign of ignorance or poor education, but it is not. Nor is it a race-based variant. I found the following explanation online:

"While the pronunciation /aks/ for ask is not considered standard, it is a very common regional pronunciation with a long history. The Old English verb áscian underwent a normal linguistic process called metathesis sometime in the 14th century. Metathesis is what occurs when two sounds or syllables switch places in a word. This happens all the time in spoken language (think nuclear pronounced as /nukular/ and asterisk pronounced as /asteriks/).

Metathesis is usually a slip of the tongue, but (as in the cases of /asteriks/ and /nukular/) it can become a variant of the original word. This alternative version in Old English was axian or acsian, as in Chaucer's: "I axe, why the fyfte man Was nought housband to the Samaritan?" (Wife's Prologue 1386). Ascian and axian co-existed and evolved separately in various regions of England. The ascian version gives us the modern standard English ask, but the axian variant ax can still be found in England's Midland and Southern dialects.

In American English, the /aks/ pronunciation was originally dominant in New England. The popularity of this pronunciation faded in the North early in the 19th century as it became more common in the South. Today the pronunciation is perceived in the US as either Southern or African-American. Both of these perceptions underestimate the popularity of the form.

/aks/ is still found frequently in the South, and is a characteristic of some speech communities as far North as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Iowa. It is one of the shared characteristics between African-American English and Southern dialects of American English. The wide distribution of speakers from these two groups accounts for the presence of the /aks/ pronunciation in Northern urban communities.

So in fact, ... /aks/ [is] a regional pronunciation, one with a distribution that covers nearly half of the territory in the United States and England."

Source: http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?dat...

Perhaps instead of making fun of your principal behind her back—hardly a professional thing to do—you should consider that she is merely quoting Chaucer.

7 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have never heard such an aurally odious phrase! I went to high school in Texas and have never heard (or spoken) such a phrase. If it is a Southern thing, it must have not made it this south. :)

Also, I agree--"we will have a staff meeting tomorrow" sound fine...and is grammatically correct!

7 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Sadly, On Tomorrow is alive and well in Central Florida. I moved from PA to Florida to work in the school system and was horrified when I heard teachers and principals using the term. It horrifies me!

6 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am an African American woman and I have heard many people use this phrase from many races. For any of you to agree with the myth that African Americans are the cause and sole carriers of this phrase PROVES that racism is probably worse off than it was 40 years ago. People look for someone to blame when something goes wrong and how convenient is it to say "Oh, the black person did it." I need all of you to get your lives together and look at yourself in the mirror before you judge an entire race.
Also, in regard to the cowards that stated "I didn't want to say it but I agree with the racist comment above me," you should grow and nurture a spine. It will do you some good in life. I live in Memphis, TN now, but I have also lived in Virginia, Georgia and Mississippi. I have spent large amounts of time in the North and vacationed for weeks in Hawaii. Never have I seen such blatant ignorance.

6 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I think that way back when (I am not sure how far back), people would have said "on the morrow" where we would now say "tomorrow." I wonder if "tomorrow" actually evolved as an elision of "the morrow." The Shakespeare quote given above may represent a sort of half way point in the evolution of the modern word, and perhaps "on tomorrow" is a slightly later stage, and thus not a new form but an older one.

On second thoughts, I wonder if these Georgians you are talking about might really be saying "on the morrow," and (perhaps because of the unfamiliar accent) you are mishearing it. "Morrow" still appears in modern dictionaries, although it is usually marked as literary, archaic, or obsolete (but maybe not so much in Georgia).

5 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I attended high school in Marietta, GA, and my homeroom teacher said "on tomorrow." She is the only person I have encountered that used the phrase in conversation. It always made me feel better about myself whenever she used it.

Wow. I'm sorry that I needed people like her to feel better about myself.

Although, I think it would be hilarious if the South revived "on the morrow." It would make life a little more interesting.

5 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am as Southern as they come in Charleston South Carolina and I have happened upon this site in a search to find why people say on when referring to tomorrow. I have a few colleagues that use this phrase not just in their speech, but they will write it as well. It is an awkward use of our language and it is NOT a Southern thing. It is simply a mis-taught, or better yet learned, use of the language and is no more correct than ain't, idn't, and y'all... which ARE all a Southern thing!!! but do not sound so ridiculous as 'on tomorrow.'

5 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Y’all come on down to South Carolina on tomorrow or any other time and you'll hear it everywhere you go....school announcements made by principals and guidance counselors, superintendents in district wide emails, and all sorts of other places. Why, it stretches every inch of I26 from the NC/SC border all the way to Charleston. There just aint no way of gettin away from it round here.

5 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Ryan,

The pronunciation of "ask" as "aks" is not an ordinary mispronunciation. It is indeed a Metathesis, but a very old one. It is non-standard, yes, but widespread. I agree that cultural background influences the way we all speak. But in the case of ask/aks the cultural factor is not merely race-based.

5 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Amy,
I hate to be pedantic, but as a student of Chaucer I can't help putting in my two cents. I don't think it's accurate to say that Chaucer "intentionally wrote as the uneducated folk of his English town spoke." Chaucer lived in London and, though he came from a middle class background, moved in aristocratic and courtly circles (to the point that his granddaughter ended up marrying an earl and then a duke). He did portray some uneducated folk in the Canterbury Tales, but the majority of his work was intended to be refined and elegant and to appeal to the upper classes (that's why some of his major influences were courtly French poets like Machaut and Froissart who were in vogue among English aristocrats). True, the fact that he wrote in English made his work accessible to a more "common" audience, but you have to remember that he was writing in a period when English was gaining authority as a literary language, and in fact Chaucer was regarded by his contemporaries and immediate successors as the poet who had infused English with the elegance and rhetorical stylishness of French or Latin. No one would have considered his writing akin to the speech of the uneducated.

I still wouldn't be caught dead saying "on tomorrow," but not for any reason having to do with Chaucer!

5 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Tomorrow is NOT and adverb. Even it to-morrow or to morrow was once separated - it has now been combined into one word. The one word is tomorrow, a noun. "On tomorrow" is a prepositional phrase. Is "on" needed? No. Is it incorrect to use it? No. If today is Friday and I say "let's meet on Saturday" it is the same as saying "let's meet on tomorrow". I could also say "let's meet Saturday" or "let's meet tomorrow". It may sound funny to some of you but it IS correct. "On tomorrow we will discuss World History 1600 - 1650. On the next day, we will discuss World History 1650-1700. On Monday we will not have class" - On (insert time placeholder) something will happen." There is nothing wrong.

4 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Sharon, I'm not trying to be mean, but while we're on the topic of correcting people's grammar, don't you mean "too bad"?

4 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I agree with Ryan.... I just didn't want to offend anyone... but now that someone else said it... :) It is a black thing. And it is predominantly heard by otherwise successful black people. It is annoying and I hear it daily!!! UGH!!! Which is why after all this time.. I am still obsessing about it on this post.

4 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I live in New Orleans and I have never heard it before I moved here and got the current job I have. Every so often it shows up in company emails and it drives me bananas. So much that I googled it to see if I could find anything.

"We will have a meeting on tomorrow Thursday."

I originally thought it was Outlook with a very bad error in the grammar/spell check suggesting it but nope.

Easily the most annoying thing ever. And its not just one person at work, its several.

4 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I like Angela G's answer. She is correct: "tomorrow" descends from "on the morrow." As such, "on tomorrow" is grammatically redundant. I'd like to think "on tomorrow" means "on t'morrow," but that usage went bye-bye in the 16th century.

I suspect that "on tomorrow" is a regionalism—a southern one, judging from the comments. I am a fan of regional talk. It both enriches the language and lets you know you are someplace else.

4 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am from Tennessee and have lived among rural as well as urban populations. I've also lived in N. Dakota and Kentucky. However, I had never heard this expression until I began working in metro Atlanta schools. The first time I heard it was from an administrator. Since that time, I hear it almost daily and always from African-Americans from the south. Recently a young African-American student from the N.E. informed her classmate who had used the expression that there was no such usage as "on tomorrow." Certainly this may have "hung around" since the early 17th century when slaves learned English from owners of that era. Still, it would seem that an educated person would have learned verb usage and would demonstrate good English usage especially in a school setting. After 10 years of hearing this term, I still cringe. Growing up I thought a good education should evoke some kind of change in a person. But I meet many masters and PH.D degreed persons who I would never guess had an extensive college education. To bad really, especially as they are educators.

4 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@ as always

Keep adding fuel and fanning the flames and your racism never dies. I believe that observations were being made. One thing communications ought to do is eliminate ignorance. If you think someone is wrong, just say so. Alluding that everyone here is racist is so typical of those who wish racism not to disappear so they can have something to build their lives around.

4 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

There is a lot of racism here. Why do you think that white usage is superior to black usage? I assume that many of you also think that ignorant people eat fried chicken and watermelon.

4 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Also Douglas,
I will add that while quoting Chaucer may be a very intelligent showing of your vast knowledge of the English language's History.... "Quoting" him unknowingly would only confirm our sentiments as Chaucer is famous and well known for his ability to "speak to and for the people" He intentionally wrote as the uneducated folk of his English town spoke.... leading him to be a well known niche in the history of literature. So to QUOTE Chaucer is one thing.... but to speak as Chaucer wrote is very much another meaning all together.

4 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I'm in St. Louis, MO. I received an email from a Texan today that happens to be an Assist. School Super that used "on tomorrow". I've also noticed a growing missuse of "on" amoungst my co-workers. It drives me nuts. So does the word amoungst by the way.

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I started hearing this about 7 years ago, and it has become a huge pet peeve for me. I work with a lot of educators, and I hear it often in meetings and presentations. In fact, the high school guidance counselor at my son's school said it just last night.

Examples include "on tomorrow," "on yesterday," and "on next week." It's like fingernails down a chalk board to me. grin

P.S. I also hear "on accident" (as in, I did it on accident). Where did THAT come from??

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

This is a commonly used phrase in India, by people who do not speak good (correct) English.

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I've lived in Virginia my whole life and have only heard one person say "on tomorrow" and "on yesterday." I'm pretty sure she says these things because she's an idiot. She also asks for an "ink pen" rather than just a pen, as if I was going to hand her a pen filled with something other than ink. This is also a woman who doesn't know the difference between atmosphere and hemisphere.

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

It is not a "Southern thing"; however, it is a Southern African-American thing! I have had three black principals who all use this expression. Many of my black co-workers also use this phrase. It drives me nuts, but doesn't bother me as much as educated African-Americans who say, "Let me ax you a question".

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Sounds like it's just an old-fashioned way of saying things that got stuck in some crevices. I like old-fashioned verbiage, idiom, regional dialect... but I find Brooklyn accents odious to the point of occasionally switching off the radio in horror, so I can't tell other people what to dislike about a switch in regional style.

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I too have a principal in Texas, she is black and says it every morning. We are all making a joke about it, but wish she would just stop. She also "axs"everyone to attend the staff meeting "on tomorrow". We are teachers for goodness sakes! I wish I had the nerve to send this to her;

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Willie Mead:

I’m more bothered by the phrase “black-educated” than I ever could be by “on tomorrow.”

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Thank you Ryan!! I was trying to find the right words on how to reply. You did it well and I agree completely that we are not talking about how you speak in the privacy of your own kitchen with your mama.... we are discussing common misuses we hear in the professional environment. I by no means meant to offend anyone or welcome prejudice. I was simply stating my observation that this use of the language is NOT a sign of ignorance but clearly a culturally influenced teaching of improper application. My comment... "otherwise successful" is admittedly misleading and I apologize.

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I live in Mobile, Alabama and have heard this phrase said by the older teachers at my high school, and I hate it! All of my peers would snicker whenever a teacher would say it, so I don't think it is spreading to the youth, atleast not where I live. I lived in South Florida for 13 years and have never heard the phrase uttered, not even as a mistake. I'm assuming it will mostly be heard in the bible-belt.

As for "on tomorrow" being for the older people in the south, the kids my age don't say they "live" somewhere, they say they "stay" somewhere. After I moved here from florida, someone asked me where I stayed and I had no idea what they were talking about,but they were simply asking me where I lived!

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I'm an elementary school teacher originally from California. I'd never heard "on" used with "today," "tomorrow," or with "yesterday" before I moved to Houston, Texas, where I live now. I hear it daily, by people from all walks of life. My school's administrators say it during morning and afternoon announcements. It hurts my ears. It bothers me that the kids hear this as a model for "proper" English. But, seriously, how do I bring THAT subject up with an administrator?!

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Let me revise: "on" is used with other expressions of time:
I work on weekends.
I work weekends.
Let's get together Thursday.
Let's get together on Thursday.

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I live outside Nashville, TN and I have yet to hear someone utter the words "on tomorrow" or "on yesterday." I have often heard "on the weekend" or "on Thursday."

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Amy,

Actually, I didn't quote Chaucer. The reference was in the cited passage from Random House, which is signed "Heather." I don't claim a "vast knowledge of the English language’s history," but I do know a little about factual research.

The fact is that the pronunciation of "ask" as "aks" is ancient. It predates the discovery of America. And as such, it is not a "southern thing," as you point out. But it is not a "black thing" either. It is a relatively common variant which crosses social and cultural boundaries.

The point I was trying to make is this: non-standard English is not the same as sub-standard English. Simply that.

3 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Amy,

What I said was "And as such, it is not a 'southern thing,' as you point out." In other words, I acknowledged that you pointed out that "aks" is not a southernism. Perhaps I could have been clearer.

2 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am very excited this is a topic that concerns people. I am from Memphis, TN but now live in Dallas, TX and hear "on tomorrow" everywhere I go. I don't recall ever hearing it in college (Knoxville, TN) or in Memphis. However, as an educator, I hear it in the schools,church, conferences, meetings, etc. Drives me crazy!!! Judging by this string, it's not a regional thing; it's a matter of an appropriate education! No matter where you're from, NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, or WEST, you will find people who use incorrect grammar on a daily basis; educated & non-educated. Maybe we should correct those who use it...all races, cultures, & regional dwellers. As for those of you who are trying to make this ONE more thing to add to the "it's a black thing list" get the speck out of your own eye first, pay attention, and re-evaluate your thoughts.

2 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I teach at a historically black school in South Carolina, and it is very common.

2 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am in Beaumont, Texas...SETX. I hear "on tomorrow" all the time!!! I am so tired of it because it is repeated daily. My child is hearing this and gets confused because the principal uses it in the announcements and I am telling her it is wrong. Geez!!!

2 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

When I think of the preposition 'on', I am reminded that people often use it in the place of 'upon'. Were 'on' in that phrase to be replaced with 'upon', it would seem to make more sense. "Upon dawn," for example, would mean, "when dawn occurs." But "upon tomorrow," or even, "when tomorrow occurs," makes hardly any sense, because I doubt the time they are referring to is 12:00 AM. There are some removed instances when using such a phrase can be correct, but generally, it seems to be a misuse of prepositions.

2 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I live in Virginia and I only heard one person say it. It drove me nuts. He worked with me and he passed away. I went to his funeral; his sister is a preacher and she said it during the eulogy. He is from Virginia also but I have never heard anyone say this besides him and his family. It makes me cringe everytime I think about it.

I thought "on tomorrow" only drove me crazy. Everytime I mention it at work, people didn't see a problem with it. Scary. But the same people who did not see a problem with it are the same ones who will add an S to everything. For example: Walmarts, Kmarts, checkings, etc.....

2 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Nigel, Biz is hearing it correctly. I've lived in the south all my life, and have only heard "on tomorrow" and "on today" used by blacks. I know that may sound stereotypical, but it is the truth. I've never heard anyone of any other race or ethnicity use it. And, I have only heard it used in the southeast.

2 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I'm so tired of hearing this phrase. As a medical transcriptionist/editor of 20+ years, it's wrong and I refuse to transcribe it and I always edit it out. These are educated doctors/nurses, etc. using it. It's like nails screeching on a chalkboard to my ears. I was born and raised in New Orleans and have lived here all my life. I have never come across it until the last few years or so. It's not a "black" thing and it's not a "southern" thing and shame on anyone for thinking that. I get so tired of people referring to those "stupid folks from the south" too. Just so you know, I'm white, I'm educated and I'm not stoopid! So please drop the "on tomorrow!"

2 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I googled "on tomorrow" because it was driving me insane. I am originally from Northeast Georgia and I have returned after spending 10 years in Arizona. I have two co-workers sitting next to me setting appointments "on tomorrow" and rescheduling appointments that were to have happened "on Yesterday".

The use of the word is not related to Southern dialect but is specific to African American southerners.

2 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am black, and from the south... so let's get that out the way 1st. Secondly, "on tomorrow" is a phrase that's very commonly used in the south, especially by black people. Most blacks from the west coast or north east rarely used this phrase. .

2 votes Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Douglas,
Please go back and reread my comment... I did not suggest that "aks" or "on tomorrow" are a Southern thing... I specifically said they are NOT a Southern thing. And my comments mostly pertain to the "on tomorrow" more than they do the "aks" issue since that is what this thread was originally about. I am aware that both of these actually derived from Old English... but it is just that... Old English - not standard and in my opinion (which we are all entitled to) is not a professional use or pronunciation.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I grew up in North Georgia, and I never heard this expression until I moved to the metro Atlanta area. Moreover, it appears to be an expression of non-standard English used by my peers who are African American. I cannot think of a single Caucasian who uses this expression. I'm in the teaching profession by the way, and I've heard this used daily since I moved to this area 6 years ago. It's definitely a dialect thing, but in my experience it's specific to the southern black culture.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am a native South Carolinian living in south Georgia, and not until the past 6 months have I heard this usage. I have been Googling it for several months; that is how I came upon this discussion. From the above posts, it seems to be a form of speech that has been migrating across the country.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I'm an African American born and raised in California, but currently living in Georgia...."on tomorrow" and "on yesterday" is a regional phrase not cultural. It irks the heck out of me to hear and read it on a daily basis, lol!!!

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I grew up in Atlanta suburbs and I first heard "On tomorrow" in middle school, from an English teacher. I argued with her until I turned blue, but could not convince her that it was flat wrong. I continued to hear it from time to time, mostly in school from educated southern African-Americans, and as the phenomenon continued, I started hearing other people also using the term. As far as I can tell, it's an invasion of the language that is abhorrent, and as Catrice said, I just want it to stop!
I don't think it is something that is only taught to "Black people only". but I think it is mostly those who are picking it up from the educated black educators.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I'm from Pennsylvania and went to school in Maine. The first time I heard this ridiculous phrase was when I first started working in Houston, Texas. I heard it and cringed. I looked around but everyone else seemed to not notice this horrible phrase. I assumed that the principal, the woman with her PH.D and the leader of our school had made a mistake...

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I live in South Carolina and my son's 4th grade teacher yes I said (TEACHER) uses this in e-mails to us parents all the time. It drives me nuts, because it is wrong, wrong, wrong. How do I correct her or do I just leave it. I am from South Africa where we have been taught to speak English properly. I can’t tell you how many phrases drive me up the wall her in the South but this one tops them all.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Funny this post is still going. I'm in Memphis and it is ONLY a certain demographic here that says it EVERY day... In a Fortune 500 company - and they don't know any better... I think it is an attempt to sound learned.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have a roomate that uses "on tomorrow" and "on today" quite frequently. It's like nails on a chalkboard every time that she says it! She is from New Jersey and I am from the South, so I don't think that it has anything to do with being from the North or South.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

It's very interesting that this thread has continued over such a long period of time. The use of "on" before tomorrow or yesterday irritates me to no end. As a 41 year old Black person with family of southern descent (not decent), I can say that this is not a term taught to or used mostly by this group. I had never heard the term until recent years, and it certainly is not used in my family by dentists, lawyers, judges, teachers, office workers, secretaries, or anyone else.

As an employee of a federal agency, I work with people from all over the country. Most recently, I have heard this term used by a white woman from Michigan. She always says things like, "I will check in with you on tomorrow and see where we are." My grandmother, who was raised in the Chicago suburbs by her southern parents, had never heard the phrase until recently. She says the secretary (white) at her doctor's office uses it. I have begun to hear the term more and more (from people of various races). I assumed it was a regional dialect. It's annoying to me no matter who says it or where they are from...But I am also annoyed by "ax" or "ass" rather than "asK", "yous" rather than "you", and the use of prepositions at the end of a sentence.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

My guess is that it is a blending of different versions of the Bible ... http://bible.cc/james/4-14.htm ... Hinging on which version that is being read, it is "on the morrow" or "tomorrow". I can see how it may hav started, but I can't say why it is more common among American blacks.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I can honestly say that it is not only the African-Americans that use "On Today" or "On Tomorrow". I've heard it several times in our board meeting by the event leader who is a White Alabama Tide grad... Again, as I stated in my previous post this isn't limited to one race. This is a phrase that I have never heard while growing up in Colorado - so I just had to investigate.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am from the south, and this bothers me to no end also. I am glad to see it is not just me annoyed by it.
http://musingsandvisuals.blogspot.com/2011/03/p...

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Milan ... read my post just above yours. The right phrase is "on the morrow" OR "tomorrow". When you say "on tomorrow" you're wrongly doubling up on the prepositions. Pick one or the other but not both at the same time!

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Pebbles--Just a minor comment on one of the terms you used, "higher-ups". It should actually be "highers-up". Check out the discussion entitled "Someone else's" and look at the comments about the plural of "passer-by".

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Leezie, of course you are right. These phrases are colloquialisms, not Standard English, and living actoss the Pond I have never heard them used. But I fear your friend has, too, committed a solecism in suggesting they have to do with grammar: they do not. The Romans had a similar trick with town names, where words such as "in", "from" and "to" were omitted ( Romam = to Rome, Romae = at Rome, Roma = from Rome) but were put in almost all other situations. In English we leave out "on" for tomorrow, today and yesterday, but Americans like to leave it out for names of days of the week, too, where across the pond we happily say "on Monday" or "on Mondays", for example. But all that is not under the heading of grammar, which concerns itself with working out such things as sorting out "he/him" or "they/them" or "she/her" according to the function of words within the context of a sentence.
I share your reservation about cute colloquialisms being used in schools, where we are supposed to be taught how to prepare for whatever life offers, as the pupils or students may confuse them with Standard English and make themselves look like dopes in future years at times when they must be able, when the occasion demands, to show their employers and customers they know better. Do their teachers not show them the way how to do it? Do they themselves not know any better? However, I like the idea of such colloquialisms being used in less formal situations, where they do not 'matter' in this way, churches, and most workplaces, where they just add to the fun of life's rich comedy. Nobody minds the overexcited pastor getting his words in a twist as he rouses the crowd to a frenzy of ecstasy, indeed it is known that speaking in tongues is all part of a good crowd-pleaser; the blue-collar worker is hardly expected to modulate his vowels nor his syntax in harmony with the strictest dictates of some grumpy old grammarian. But educate the young so that they might be equipped to know which is Standard and which is local dialect. It is not hard: give them books to read. The publishers would not publish them if they were not written in good English, would they?
Your kids who are pleased they are going to the football game on today may just be saying they are pleased that the match is not off today because of the bad weather, but has been declared on, after all. I speak facetiously, of course.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

"After moving from Chicago down to northeastern Georgia, I have noticed an extremely vexing trend among many of the native Southerners" - it really is so vexing when other people don't speak like we do, isn't it? For example, Americans have this strange habit of saying "on weekends", when everyone knows "at weekends" is the correct version. And what's this with "outside of" and "off of" when "outside" and "off" are perfectly good on their own?

I'm being ironic of course. My point is that although you might find somebody else's English strange and illogical, someone somewhere will probably find elements of your English just as strange and illogical. Does it really make all that difference to your life that some people say "on tomorrow", whether it's an ethnic thing, a regional thing, or a fashion thing?

There seems to be an unfortunate element on this and other PITE pages of looking down on people who speak differently from you. It might not come under the banner of racism (although ebonics seems to get mentioned rather a lot), but it's certainly snobbery. In the last few days we've all seen the example of somebody (in Cleveland) who talks a bit "differently" but who is a real hero. Just because people "talk proper" in no way makes them superior to those who don't, just "posher". They just speak the dialect which has more social cachet, that's all. And if they make an issue of it, I'd say quite the opposite. Similarly, when they accuse other people of being 'ignorant' or 'lazy', it is their own ignorance of language structure and historical development they are showing. As somebody once said - "a language is just a dialect with an army and a navy".

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Brus - Words change, this is from Oxford Dictionaries Online, for 'demographic' (not 'demographics'), and it means more than just class or race:

"noun - a particular sector of a population - the drink is popular with a young demographic"

You may see it as coy, but it is also efficient: one word where several would have been needed otherwise, and nearly everyone knows what it means. Actually, the bit about it being more common in the US was really only my intuition, but it seems to borne out by this:

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=de...

But my real problem is that you should take it on yourself to baldly criticise Zee's choice of words, especially when it is quite a normal word in the circumstances. The way I was brought up, that's simply bad manners.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

"We will have a staff meeting tomorrow" is just as bad a thing to hear as "We will have a staff meeting on tomorrow". Firstly, it should be "We shall have ..." and secondly, who would want to go a staff meeting?

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

My coworker just said to a customer "I'm calling to find out if your payment went out on last Friday." This did not surprise me. She mutilates the language constantly. By the way, I live in Michigan so if this is a southern thing, it has migrated. I hear people committing this atrocity all the time and the impression I get from most of them is that they are trying to sound intelligent. It isn't working.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Most of you are soooo silly. How do you feel about the use of "And" at the beginning of a sentence? Just a rhetorical question. Please don't answer. Most of the complaints about the use or misuse of words or phrases in the English language are coming from people that are subordinate to those whom they take issue with. What does that tell you. Oh oh...there's another one... "whom" or "who" ? :-) Time to come down off of the high horse everyone. If this forum is where you find "voice", then you have bigger problems that having to "hear" poeple around you say "on tomorrow"... which is a phrase I use very intentionally, very often. And (?), I could give a rats a%# what any of you think about it. :-)

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am from Rhode Island and we do not use that type of grammar. However, my first time in North Carolina I heard people using that preposition before today, tomorrow, and yesterday. At first I thought it was really weird, but now I've gotten use to it. I have also heard it used regularly in Indiana as well. I don't know what it is.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Red you must be mistaken. If you would have read the entire feed before making a "judgment call" you would realize that the conversation turned very racist. The fact that you were not offended is a problem. Racism DOES exist and it does you no good to try to bury it. Take a look at the following comments:
*****It is not a "Southern thing"; however, it is a Southern African-American thing! I have had three black principals who all use this expression. Many of my black co-workers also use this phrase.*****
*****I agree with Ryan.... I just didn't want to offend anyone... but now that someone else said it... :) It is a black thing. And it is predominantly heard by otherwise successful black people. It is annoying and I hear it daily*****
****He is of African-American decent. It is a Southern Black thing. It is incorrect.****

Do your research. It has been turned into a racist discussion. Racism will never die and until you wake up and acknowledge it, all you are going to do is piss a lot of people off. The ONLY way to resolve an issue is to address it. Maybe you should spend your time working on a college education and only then should you come back and post. My comments, as stated in my previous post, were only meant for those who decided to discredit an entire race based on a few people they have seen. You should take your time, sound it out and read it again.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have heard it many times. Only by certain groups of people though. I live in TN. It's painful to my ears whenever I hear it and painful to my eyes when I see it written.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

People are going to think what they want regardless of what you say. Although this bothers me a lot, I had to stop and take a look at myself after the above comment. The poster was right, there are many, many more things to worry about than people saying "on tomorrow." The thing is, we could show them this blog and they will not stop. I am saddened, however, by the number of people that keep speaking of "a certain demographic," or blatently saying it is an African American thing. I personally perfer the term Black, and no, no one in my "African American" family uses on tomorrow, on yesterday, or on today...nor do any of my friends, whether they went to college or dropped out of high school!

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

For the past year, I've been working with a wider group of folks from the company I work for, who are all in the training department. One woman had a habit of saying "on tomorrow, on yesterday, on today," and it puzzled me. It also set my teeth on edge. She currently lives in GA, but has lived in other places in the South as well. She happens to be black.

Recently, another coworker used this construction - I think she's from KY, and she also happens to be black. I started to wonder if this use was racial or regional.

This past week, a new coworker - who lives either in VA or GA, I'm not sure - sent an email expressing concern that she had "missed a lot on last week" while she was waiting for her company laptop to arrive. I don't know what her race is.

Today, my hairdresser - who happens to be black and whose family is from NC - used the "on tomorrow" phrase. I just had to see if there was anything on the web about this, and here I am.

It would seem, from the comments here, that this may be a combination of regional and racial habit, with exceptions - not everyone from the region uses it, and not every black person from the region uses it. (Just like not every New Englander says "wicked" to mean "very," though it is fun to take part in my own area's regionalisms - ayuh.)

In professional writing, I agree that standard English is the way to go.

Thanks for the various observations on this particular phraseology.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Zee - Just to complicate things, what we call "soda" in the UK is soda water, which I think you call club soda in the States. But according to Wikipedia "In many parts of the US, soda has come to mean any type of sweetened, carbonated soft drink." Which sounds rather like "pop" to me, and which is how Wikipedia also defines pop.

In Britain generally, Coke, Pepsi, Seven-up etc are referred to as fizzy drinks and sometimes as "pop" (American influence, I think), but in Glasgow they're often referred to as "ginger" (the presence or not of ginger is immaterial) and in Edinburgh as "juice", although they're certainly not what you or I would normally think of as juice. It's just all part of life's rich fabric. Are there are any other regional generic words for fizzy soft drinks, I wonder?

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I recently moved from the Midwest to Georgia where "on" is used before "tomorrow" and "today" by just about everyone in the southern region. And I found it is NOT limited to only one race, or the less fortunate. It is spoken and written by my Superiors who hailed from different regions throughout the S.E... I only “Goggled” this information to ensure that I wasn’t the one wrong for not using “on”.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

We called Coke, Sprite, Pepsi, Faygo, etc. "pop" when I was growing up in Michigan and still do. In the south, where I live now, they called it soda water which irritated me to no end. I think someone told me that pop came from the pop fizzing noise that usually happened when you poured it out at first, and someone else told me it came from the popping noise from popping open the bottle or can.

Perhaps because it is what I grew up with, I still prefer to say pop instead of soda water, and I always say pop when I am with my family otherwise they don't know what I am talking about.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Douglas,
Yes, I see now... I read it incorrectly... I ignored your placement of commas, which we all know can drastically change the meaning of a sentence.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I work in the non-profit sector and several colleagues use "on tomorrow" and "on yesterday". One colleague who uses this colloquialism is from Georgia, has a Master's degree and works in Upper Management. I am from the east cost and live in the midwest. I find the Shakespeare correlation reasonable of much of southern english is significantly poetic. Maybe not sonnetical (clearly not a word but thought it would be fun).
For me personally, I struggle with the Minnesota putting a preposition at the end of a sentence and omitting the indirect or direct object.
Ex: Instead of : Would you like to come with me to the store? They say: I am going to the store, would you like to come with?

Anyhow, cool site glad I found it!

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I think that phrase will be Ok in both way.
Use "on" or not just make it shorter. ><"Nick ¥" ^^

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I work in Memphis. There are a few people at my work that use "on tomorrow," "on yesterday," and "on today". I am also one that chringes when ever I hear it. The Memphis Public Schools must be teaching this. I went to a private school in Memphis and never heard this used until just a few years ago. As far as the African American southerner part, that may be correct. They are the only ones that I have heard use it.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

In Fort Worth I only hear "on tomorrow" used by African-Americans, particularly those in educational settings. I assumed it was a cultural thing and for some peculiar reason they seem to think they "sound educated." Of course, I'm sure to be branded a racist since I have noted this observation. As usual, any non-African-American comments are automatically branded as racist.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Haha, this just reminds me of archaic english. I haven't read all of this, but I'm surprised the people writing with their big, long words and short, hard words don't seem to have mentioned that "on the morrow" is a very, very old phrase.

Perhaps it is the rest of the country that phased out the use of the phrase, and not the other way around? Northeast Georgia is actually one of the places in the US where the language has changed the least over the past few hundred years.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

One more reflection here:

Sadly, are many stereotypes that prevail about all of us. Some perpetuated by media others by fear.
I am multiracial/multi ethnic- Creole (African, American, and French) and Eastern European Jewish And grew up in several regions of the United States including the east, midwest, and south.
Colloquialism is not bound to race, class, gender, or geography.
Xenophobia and fears of diversity can arise in many forms

My southern mother and east cost grandparents were raised with the value of knowing "proper" English as an asset, to be viewed as educated, or "learn-ed" and as a way to not be trapped forever in a life of poverty and struggle. They passed on this value to me. So they raised me to not use you plural aka "Yous". They also raised to embrace diversity, they never put down other colloquialism but recognized privilege in our country, that speaking in a certain standardized dialect would you to get through doors for employment and education.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I live in southern Louisiana and had never heard this type of usage until I started listening to the people from Mississippi, quite a number of them, who come here. They say "on yesterday" and even "on today", which are awkward, ungainly, unnecessary, and redundant phrases. But no one here in LA says these things. It's only the people from Mississippi.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Sorry, my typos were atrocious, wanted to claify- being Creole- African American, Native American, and French or Multi-racial.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Roxanne ... It's been many years since I graduated from an MCS (Memphis City Schools) school but I assure you that "on tomorrow" wasn't taught in the schools back then. If it is being taught now, then maybe the Shelby County-MCS consolidation will fix that.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

When will Americans stop viewing each other by race? Most people around the world view us all as Americans. The labeling of colors needs to stop!! That irritates me most about this country. It's an American problem that need to be corrected. Why not correct the person you hear or keep your opinions to yourself.

But Wow!! My husband corrected me today of misusing the phrase on today. I thought it was merely petty. In my opinion, the American English language is messed up anyways by all. It's not the Savior to life. My point, many are well educated and are living successfulregardless of their misuse of words or the pronunciation.There are more important matters that need or attention.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I'm from Hong Kong and people use the phrase very often. Maybe this a Hong Kong thing but is now spreading over to the US.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am Black and I am from Michigan. Never in my life did I hear on tomorrow, on yesterday, on today, until I moved to Dallas, TX...and I never heard it in Dallas until I started working in education. I see it in professional memos, hear it on the announcements, etc. I worked in several different places in Dallas, but not until I came to a SCHOOL did I hear these words. It drives me up a wall..and no one has really been able to explain to me where it originated from. I am glad I found this site because I had started to think it was a Southern thing, but either those other people migrated from the South, or it is everywhere! I would add that one of my parents was born and educated in Dallas and not once growing up did I heard her, or my father, from Texarkana, utter those words. If they are teaching it in the schools now, they were not teaching it to "Black people only" (as some people here seem to think),in the 60's when they were growing up. I don't know where it started, I just want it to stop!!

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I'm currently dating a guy that always uses the phrase "on tomorrow," and only minutes ago, I received an e-mail from a colleague that used it as well. So, I decided to Google it for clarification. The guy I'm seeing is from Georgia, and I am too; different parts, my colleague is from Texas (where we all currently reside). I too thought it was a slip-up when I first heard it, but it has become repetitious.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am black and from Houston, Texas and I do not say on tomorrow, on today, on yesterday. I have recently noticed some colleagues in a professional business environment using these phrases. It made be think maybe I missed a grammar class or something since I don't use on in this manner. I am definitely not a grammar champion or anything but it just sounds so off to me I had to google it! Lots of interesting opinions here...

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Even though, according to one commenter, the soda /pop thing doesn't belong on this thread, I thought this might regional variation map might be of interest - http://www4.ncsu.edu/~jakatz2/files/spcMap.png

You can find more US regional variation maps at -http://www.businessinsider.com/22-maps-that-sho...

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have lived in the south a good bit of my life, and have lived throughout other regions of the U.S. as well. From my experience, use of the phrase "on tomorrow" or "on yesterday" is not a "southern" norm, but rather more closely ties to a specific demographic profile, regardless of education.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I must say..I came upon this post because I, ,too,have heard it more than a person should have to endure!!! Sadly, I am a teacher, and my administrator uses it every day-yes, this phrase is broadcasted for all the students!!!! It drives me nuts, and we teachers snicker behind his/ her back-but none of us would DARE correct him/her. I've not done any research in the matter, & I do not claim to be an expert, but, I do have a couple of undergraduate degrees in education and a Master's degree with an add-on specialist certificate in Reading Education. With that said, I live in the South-Georgia, to be exact, and I was educated in the very system in which I teach-a public school system where I was never, EVER taught the phrase "on tomorrow".

Oh yeah, did I mention that my admin is African-American??????
"Just sayin"

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@JLB ... Answer one of her emails with the mistake in it ... only send it to her and not anyone else. Softly tell her that you believe this to be a mistake but if she thinks it is good English then to please cite her source for saying so. Otherwise she should stop writing it when she sends out emails to the parents. Don't jump on her and tell her how you were taught ... blah, blah, blah ... You're trying to get to take a look at the mistake and stop doing rather than put her on the defensiv.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I was a bit sceptical about jayles Ngram idea, after all there are perfectly standard incidences of 'on tomorrow', eg: 'it depends on tomorrow', 'reckoning on tomorrow', for example, and I assumed all the early instances would be of that nature, especially as many commenters here and on other forums have remarked that 'on tomorrow' is quite a recent phenomenon.

But in fact there are quite a few examples from the early nineteenth century, many of them from state legislatures - is this a special kind of legal English, or am I missing something?

"Mr. Keller gave notice, that on tomorrow he would ask leave to bring in a bill to incorporate the stockholders of the Bank of Circleville", Ohio House of Representatives 1816

"Which was read the first time, and passed to a second reading on tomorrow.", Indiana House of Representatives 1836

"Mr. Read gave notice that he will on tomorrow or next day introduce a bill in relation to the Florida peninsula and Jacksonville and the Union Rail Road companies", Florida Legislative Council 1836

"Mr. Ruttan gives notice that he will, on tomorrow, move that a select committee of five members be appointed to inquire ..." Upper Canada House of Assembly 1839

"On motion of Mr. Morris, Ordered, That the committee of Privileges and Elections take into consideration on tomorrow, the contested election from the county of Patrick." Virginia House of Delegates 1830

"On tomorrow eleven more are to receive the ordinance", The Religious Intelligencer 1822

Not all are from America:

"One of the most remarkable features of acute rheumatism is this metastasis of inflammation ; you have one joint attacked to-day, on tomorrow it will be quite free from disease", London Medical and Surgical Journal, 1833

"Mr. Speaker then put the question, which was agreed to — " that on tomorrow se'night the house resolve itself into a committee of the whole house, to take into consideration the state in □which the impeachment of Warren Hastings, esq. late ...", The Town and Country Magazine, London, 1790

And a couple from The University Magazine, published in Dublin (there's a suggestion at Grammarphobia that it could also be Irish)

"On to-morrow I will brave the storm, whether successfully or not, is doubtful"

"Tell Gerard Douw ... that Minheer Vandehousen, of Rotterdam, wishes to speak with him on to-morrow evening at this hour"

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22on+tomorrow%2...

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

This is such an odd little turn of phrase.

I live in Birmingham, AL and have only heard this in the past five years or so. I've only observed it with African-American co-workers, but I don't think that makes it an exclusively African-American "thing." I went to public schools here in Alabama and I've never heard an educator use it.

Although it may make sense that it derived from "on the morrow" I really don't think that most of the people I hear using it are trying to say that.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I've only heard it once since I moved to Baltimore, and it was from a woman from South Carolina. Never before have I heard the phrase.

I do have to admit that I love hearing regional dialects. It makes me glad I do not live in that region.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have taught at a public, inner city school in south Florida, and a rural school in South Carolina, and had never heard the phrase "on tomorrow" or "on yesterday" until I started teaching in Mobile, Alabama. I hear it just about every single day during the announcements from the principal. Every time she says it, I cringe! I simply thought she had horrible grammar! Tonight I was watching Saturday Night Live in which they did a hilarious skit at Booker T Washington high school prom. The principal used the term 2-3 times. I busted out laughing, then started googling the expression and found this site. I definitely think it is a southern thing, and it is regional to New Orleans, Mobile, and southern Georgia areas after reading the posts here.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have lived in the South my entire life...mostly in GA, but for the last 9 years in TN. As an English teacher I can honestly say that I have NEVER heard anyone use the phrase "on tomorrow"! It is definitely not a Southern thing!

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Hi,

I too heard about "on tomorrow", According to me it is right.

My supporting factors are :
Prepositions of Time: at, in, on

We use:

at for a PRECISE TIME
in for MONTHS, YEARS, CENTURIES and LONG PERIODS
on for DAYS and DATES

"Meeting will be on tomorrow" (grammatically its right :))

PS: Please correct me it is wrong..

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have never heard "on tomorrow." I have, however, heard "on the morrow" a few times when someone was just playing with the language....which I do myself to a very large extent. :)

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Typo error..Please correct me, if it is wrong.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

out of the mouths of some co-workers:

on today
on tomorrow
on below
on lunch
on later
on soon
speak on to
on next week
she do dat on to you?
on and on

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

As has been mentioned several times above, "on the morrow" is a very old expression, with the meaning the next day or the day, with nearly twenty instances in the King James Bible. It seems to have lasted after right up to the end of the nineteenth century. You can also find it in later, often in religious texts.

"On the morrow when Makbeth beheld them comming in this sort, he first marvelled what the matter ment, but in the end remembred himselfe that the prophesie which he had heard long before that time, of the comming of Birnane wood to Dunsinane Castell was likelie to be now fulfilled." - The History of Makbeth - reprinted from Holinshed's Chronicle 1577

"Whereat ye know not what shall be on the morrow" - King James Bible, 1611

"And on the Morrow , being the 1 2. day of January, about ten of the Clock, the Queens Majesty, with the Lords and Bishops in Parliament Robes, did ride from the Palace to Westminster-Church" - 1682

"on the morrow the weather proving tolerable fair, the bees went to labour as usual" - 1781

"On the morrow he presented me to the king, who received me very graciously" - 1789

"On the 17th July, 1828, a writ of summons was sued out against the defendant Jenner, returnable on the morrow of All Souls" - 1831

"it is no great contention, since, by her own avowal,
she began to love me on the morrow.
And yet on the morrow very little took place." - Robert Louis Stevenson: The Pavilion on the links - 1880

Given that this expression is well know from the bible and the fact that the use of 'on tomorrow' appears to have strong connections with Afro-American church communities (http://random-idea-english.blogspot.com/2014/01...), I wonder if this is where it has come from.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Today, tomorrow and yesterday: no preposition.

Days of the week: preposition 'on', eg: on Tuesday, on Wednesday, etc. (Americans leave out the 'on', however.)

Dates: 'on the' for numbers, eg 'on the 5th of November'

Months: 'In' November, 'on' the 5th of November.

Years: 'In' 1776. On the 24th of August, (in) 1776. 'In' is a bit redundant here, and is usually left out.

Americans use a shorthand version of the above, leaving out many of the prepositions.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have heard "on tomorrow," "on yesterday," and "on today" so much from my principal that I want to bonk him on the head every time he says one of those phrases. He also uses them in emails on a regular basis. I never heard anyone do this until he arrived at our school a couple of years ago, but now some of the teachers are starting to do it too. It's getting on my nerves, but it's hard to say something to colleagues and higher-ups about such a matter.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

A comment from above:
"I'll return this report to you on tomorrow." Adverbs can not be the object of a preposition.

Your problem is that in English "tomorrow" is either noun or an adverb. See this Web site that presents results from multiple dictionaries and it is clearly labeled: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tomorrow...
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hence. "tomorrow" is a valid object for a preposition. Why not?
Perhaps saying "on tomorrow" is merely an emphatic way of saying "tomorrow" (the adverb). Has that ever occured to you? English often has empatic expressions for ideas. We even have the "emphatic mood" for verbs, and many other languages do not have this feature.

Back to "tomorrow". In German the noun and the adverb are clearly distinguishable because in German, all nouns are capitalized, and also nouns take articles. Therefore, "morgen" is an adverb, but "der Morgen" and "ein Morgen" are nouns. However, it is confusing because "morgen" means tomorow or morning, and "Morgen" means "morning", but "Morgen ist auch noch ein Tag," means
"Tomorrow is another day." --------- (Scarlett O'Hara ?)
They get around all of this because there are a lots of idiomatic phrases.
"Morgen" is also the first part of a lot of compound nouns in which it usually means "morning".
"morgens" is an adverb that refers to things that happen every morning, or nearly so, and in "Morgens fahre ich nach Arbeit", which means, "Every morning,I drive to work."

German has a lot of these time advebs that end in "s" for habitual actions, such as:
nachmittags, nachts, sommers, winters, montags, freitags,
"Nachmittags" means "every afternoon". An example sentence would be:
"Winters fahre ich nach Osterreich furs Schnee und Schii," means
"Every winter I go to Austria for the snow and the skiing."
D.A.W.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

This post is hilarious! That's all I got :)

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@ Brus, Bleu, Shannon & whoever (whomever) cares....All the English professors are out with their red pens, lmao. I didn't make it into a black and white issue, until it was presented that way. So please re-read some of the comments made before mine. You didn't jump down anybody else's neck or correct their grammar for saying it was a black expression, so get off my back when I disagreed and said it's not a black only expression.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have never heard this "on tomorrow" phrase, but one that drives me batty is "graduate high school." "To graduate is an intransitive verb. One may graduate from high school, but what is happening when one graduates a school? Can anyone give me an action analysis of that?

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I think is comes from the old saying "on the morrow" and over the years became on tomorrow. I'm from the west coast and was perplexed to hear "on tomorrow" stated on the news, in board meetings, and even by an english teacher during a course.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Thank God, I am not the only one to be annoyed by " on tomorrow"! I cringe when it is uttered in the pulpit of all places. I do believe that Southeners feel more educated when they kill the English language. And yes, I am a Yankee!

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am not bothered by "on tomorrow." Its meaning is clear—as clear as "on Tuesday." It's the same construction. I hear it rarely, I admit. But really, haven't you— Tom, and Millie and all you others—something better to vex over?

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I work in a call center where I hear my co-workers use the words ax, on tomorrow and I have a ppointment rather than an appointment on tomorrow..lol. I'm from CT and never heard that until I moved below the Mason-Dixon.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I am so glad to see this string. The many emails I get with this term are driving me crazy. I just got one that said, "She sent me the message on yesterday." I want to write back and say "do you mean she sent you the message yesterday". Would that be awful? Any other suggestions other than to just grin and bear it? It made me so frustruated that I looked up this string while at work!!! Incidentally, the term is used by my African-American colleagues mostly in Mississippi.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@kph - I'm with you. I lived in Memphis for many years and I don't recall hearing it. If I did, it must not have been often enough to make an impression. What I have heard is "onto tomorrow" at the end of day to wrap it up meaning "until or 'til tomorrow" and that's ok with me.

As for ask, aks (axs) ... I always reply to the person who says, "I'm aksing you." with "Why to do you want to chop me with an ax?"

In OE the verb was ascian (the c=k) and the noun was ascung (and frain) ... in ME the verb was asken and the noun ascung had been dropped for frain and the Latinate word - question.

While the spelling in OE is steady ... it's all over the place in ME from asken to eskien, aschen, eschen, ocsien, acsien, axien, axen, and past tense asked to escade, easkede, and haxede.

In this day and age, I'd rather be clear when I say, "I'm going to ask the boss" that the person doesn't report me to security for threatening to "ax the boss"! lol

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Come to Richmond City Public schools in Richmond, VA and hear "aks," "on tomorrow," "I be, he be...", and more from teachers, administrators and students. Then try to teach "Standard English" and spelling to students from other countries for their daily use and standardized tests without saying, "Say what I am saying, not what you hear on the loudspeaker or from other teachers."
I am all about respect and tolerance. I also know that high stakes reading and writing tests will be scored with rubrics, and Scantrons-not respect.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have been reading these posts, which are all very interesting, re. "on tomorrow". I am 60+ years old and what no one has mentioned is that the usage is fairly new. Until about 10 to 15 years ago, I had never heard this from anyone, black or white. It makes me wonder how, when, and where did it all begin?

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Teacher

According to Google's Ngram, it started about 1781 with a infinitesimal percent of 0.0000010225(%) in comparison to tomorrow with a slightly higher percent of 0.0001739213(%). Both have grown since then but with tomorrow dominating (in 2008, tomorrow: 0.0022047169%; on tomorrow: 0.0000071577%). Because Ngram searches books, it can have holes in its data, but because Ngram is not dialectological, it seems hard to accurately gauge the prevalence and distribution of the usage.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

* I mean spoken prevalence.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

In our metro-Atlanta school, the Caucasian teachers do not use the expression "on tomorrow." I mention this only because I saw a commenter earlier who said this as well. I don't know if it is ethnic in origin or regional, but as a native Southerner, I never heard it in my entire life until I moved closer to Atlanta. We didn't use it in Mississippi, nor did we use it in North Georgia.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

We have some people that say on tomorrow where I work and it drives me nuts! We are teachers! I think it is from a location in the US that speaks like that, but it is not the south, We are in Texas and I have never heard it until this school year....

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

on tomorrow means.... if something is said to b tmw as the end of t ... for eg... am hvng a feast these days and tmw s said to b end of t ..eg ..thoothoor parish celebrates St.Agathammal feast on tomorrow, 5th Feb 2014.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@momofthree1999 - Maybe not in your part of the South, but comments on the web and here would certainly suggest it's centred on Georgia and Louisiana. Book evidence would add Maryland and South Carolina, and at least one writer who uses it grew up in French Town, Houston, which was originally populated by creoles from Louisiana.

Most of the examples I found at Google Books were by writers strongly expressing their Christian faith. I don't know if that's just normal for (black) people from the South, but it does seem a very high proportion. Which makes me wonder if this an expression that has been picked up at church, church seeming to have been a common factor in a few of the earlier comments.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I know I am years behind on this post, but I thought it was just me who felt this way! I live in Tennessee and I've been hearing this prepostion now for a couple of years. It really bothers me because it's so uneccessary when speaking of the day before, the current day, or the day after. I totally disagree with "on yesterday" and "on today" and "on tomorrow." Believe it or not, I have heard all three combinations mentioned in schools, churches and the workplace. It wasn't until a reading specialist at one of the schools I tutored at finally shared her frustration, "I wish people with correct grammar would get on the intercom...and we wonder why our students struggle. Next we'll have kids saying, "Yay, I get to go to the football game on today." :)

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@brus - I don't really see why you think the use of "demographic" is weird. Its use is not uncommon, especially in the States:

"And in this case, it seems, the commanding officer of a precinct is suggesting an entire demographic be placed under suspicion"- NYT

"If Google+ wants to be the next Facebook, it has to capture the key demographic that drove Facebook's early ... - CNN

"America edging toward demographic cliff?" - Fox News

"Marketers' Dream Demographic: The Smartphone Mom" - Time

"Why the Apple Demographic Is So Important to Orbitz and Retailers" - WSJ

And did your little Scottish girl really pronounce arse with a hard S?

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I live in Mississippi...the state known for being first in everything terrible! I thought it was only used here. I am happy (and sad) to see that it is not, and that I am not the only person who is thoroughly irritated by this phrase. It has only been this past year that I have heard this phrase, and like most of you, I thought it was initially a mistake, but it has become more and more common, and I have ONLY heard it used by African-American women. This is not meant to be a slander against any race, this is just FACT!!! I have yet to hear the phrase "on today" "on yesterday" or "on tomorrow" from ANYONE other than black women. However, this would irritate me to hear from anyone. I just wonder where it started and why it is a thing now. How did it come about? Are there lectures or magazines or websites devoted to this sort of issue?? How to Be Grammatically Incorrect and Make it Acceptable. When did adding "on" become "the thing" to do? When did adding the R sound to certain words become the norm? Such as, "I have an appertment (appointment) on tomorrow?" It's almost as if the person in question is going out of their way to be as grammatically incorrect as possible or sound unintelligent. It is apparently different in different locations from reading the above posts, but here, it is almost exclusive to the African-American race.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@ ShannonV...don't you just hate it when something is not suppose to come off as racist, and it's an epic fail. Wow I'm very irritated by the use, and as an "African American" woman I feel that you are just surrounded by a bad example of a small demographic. I do nothing to my R's I speak proper English, and I could list examples of the improper use of the English language by the Caucasian community "in the South"...but this is about "on tomorrow". And you are very wrong, along with anybody else who says it's a black thing, but to give you the benefit of the doubt if it is an African American thing, it is a very minuscule part of that demographic, I assure you. ....Please do not report as FACT, thank you!!!

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

To me "on tomorrow" does sound strange, especially in American English where prepositions and conjunctions do sometimes seem to be out of favour and are frequently dropped.
eg: "We will have a meeting Monday" instead of "We will have a meeting on Monday" or "We will have a meeting next Monday".

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Ag pleez! I grew up in South Africa where the wonderful speech patterns, accents, and cute ways of saying things were not stupid, or embarrassing, or shameful, but rich material for emulation and use among the cognoscenti, ever since. "Howzitt you ous?" for "Hello, everyone, how are you?" for example. You could write a book about these phrases and indeed it has been done, by 'Rawbone Malong' for example.
'Lekker bly, en level met die grevel', inane but a richly fun way to say "See you on tomorrow, hey?". The "hey" invites the interlocutor permission to find room for argument.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Hairy Scot,

I think the exclusion of the preposition is that Monday can act adverbially (which is what it is doing here).

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Our [black-educated in Tennessee at Lane College] principal uses the phrases "on yesterday," "on today" and "on tomorrow" CONSTANTLY, especially on the intercom during morning announcements. This is the first person that I have ever heard do so. Everyone is afraid of her except me, but I don't feel like going to the mat on this one. I will let her continue to show what I consider to be poor grammar. To me, it reflects her upbringing and presents a bad first impression. Of course, at our school, her grammar is much better than about 30% of the teachers.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Ag, Zee! I thought my little offering was impenetrable, but yours is filled with weird things like "demographic" and, er, actually that's the worst one. I like your reference to " I do nothing to my R's". It reminds me of the Scots lassie who was told, admiringly, "I like the way you roll your Rs" and she said "Och, it's these high heels I'm wearin'".

The Caucasian community? Do white folk all live in the same areas, like in South Africa with apartheid before 1994? Or do you really mean Caucasian? I have not been to the Caucasus, but I plan to visit Georgia and Azerbaijan sometime soon. African-American?! It reminds me of the American politician who said that Nelson Mandela was probably the finest African-American of his time, only to remember that our national hero Madiba actually has no connection with America, so "African" would be better, only there are lots of white Africans too, so maybe "black" would be sounder, or maybe not because ... he ended up babbling, or indeed, he had babbled from the start ...!

Would "black and white" make things clearer and save a lot of bollock-speak? I am suspicious that you are a victim of folk who think political correctness, rather than the joke it is, is meant to be serious, and you believe them too. Oh, please! Sharpen up your ideas!

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Warsaw Will -
I don't like 'demographic' here because it is a euphemism, meaning in the example I cited something along the lines of 'class' or 'race' but too coy to say, and it is ungrammatical in all the examples bandied here because it is an adjective, from the noun "demographics" = 'the science of population statistics' but in your examples it is being used ungrammatically as a noun, a nasty habit creeping into modern English usage, and popular in the Antipodes. You say it is in wide use in the USA too. Yes, it is. That's what I'm grumbling about.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Hadn't thought of it that way, but I must confess I do have my doubts.
Mind you, I am a pedantic old sceptic. :-))

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Zee...first of all, your post to @Catrice is full of grammatical errors. I would not be quite so judgmental if the entire post wasn't about how well you use the English language.
Now that we have that out of the way, I would like to address the issue at hand. "On tomorrow" is unfortunately used at the school where I teach. The administrator that uses this phrase, along with "on today", "on yesterday", etc., is indeed a black woman. Nothing racist about that FACT. Just because you are an exception to the black population, doesn't mean that our observations are not true. "It is what it is"(for lack of a better/more grammatically correct phrase). I have also heard her husband use the "on tomorrow" phrase, and he, too, is black. Racist? No, I think not, but people such as yourself seem to always be on guard-ready to defend the entire black population simply bc of the color of their skin. There are poor examples of people in every race and culture, but that doesn't mean that you and I are represented by those bad examples.

Also, one last note : The topic referring to the "soda water" vs "pop" does not belong on this thread at all. These are true examples of cultural terminology; the difference being that any of the terms for a fizzy drink are mere preferences according to the region from where the speaker originates and is not "slang" nor grammatically incorrect phrases as opposed to the controversial "on tomorrow" faux pas.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Hairy Scot,

Well, Monday is answering the adverbial question of "when". It fits into:

We went shopping today.
I went shopping yesterday.
I went to the story a few days ago (or ereyesterday [the day before yesterday]).

And, like some adverbs, can be relocated to the front of the sentence:

Today, I went shopping.
Yesterday, I went shopping.
A few days ago/ereyesterday, I went shopping.
Next Monday, we will have a meeting.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Jasper

I'm not saying your explanation is incorrect.
It's just that although there is nothing grammatically wrong with "we have a meeting Monday" or "on tomorrow .................." both sound strange to me.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Keying in; Monday_* , _ADP_Monday to the ngram view suggests plain adverb is a minority usage.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@jayles
I'm probably being a little thick today but could you please expand on your last post?
Does it mean that "We have a meeting on Monday" is more common than "We have a meeting Monday"

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Hairy Scot,

Um, yeah, sorry about that. After I had just posted the comment, I reflected on it and realized how much like an ass I sounded. Anyway, I find "on tomorrow" strange sounding.

Jayles,

What is ADP? All I can think of is adpositional phrase or adposition.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@HS+J a bit criyptic, yes; mea culpa. Go to:

books.google.com/ngrams

copy and paste in :

Monday_*,_ADP_ Monday,monday_*

and you will get a graph breaking down the book usage of monday by part of speech.
_ADP_ stands for adposition ie prepostion or postposition -see "About Ngram Viewer

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Zee...Yes, ma'am, I do find it very irritating to be labeled a racist when I am only stating what I have observed. I work in the field of forensic psychology, and mostly with DHS, Youth Court and the Social Security Administration for approximately ten coastal counties in South Mississippi. A majority of my colleagues are brilliant and well-educated black women, and I respect them immensely, and I have great concern and care for the children of all colors that I help on a day to day basis. What I stated as FACT, and still stand behind, is that I have ONLY heard this phrase from black women, and only as of late. These same women I have had the pleasure of working with for the past 14 years did not use this phrase two years ago, nor did they say appertment. This is not dialect they grew up using or gained their degrees using. I grew up here, and I went to school with a few of those ladies, educated by the same people, and it was not common practice. I am asking why has it become common practice to use on before yesterday, today and tomorrow? If this was regional, we would all be using it in our region, and it wouldn't be shocking enough to prompt blogs being written.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Also you need to change the timespan to 1800 to 2008 to get ADP results

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

The phrase in brackets means that "she is black and was educated at Lane college."

Which part bothers you? Is it he fact that she is black or that she was educated at Lane college?

This morning, she used the phrase "who attended the book fair on last night."

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@jayles - the problem with that is that Monday can be used in all sorts of ways as a noun, not just in expressions such as I'll see you (on) Monday - using your formula, the results for British books and American books are pretty similar, whereas in practice that's obviously not the case.

Here are a couple of different ways of doing it:

you (on) Monday
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=yo...

takes place (on) Monday
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=ta...

starts (on) Monday
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=st...

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I never heard it until I began working in predominantly African American schools in California and Texas. I'm a music teacher, and I am also a "white" person. I was raised on the other side of Houston in the Clear Lake area, which is known for aerospace industry (NASA) and most parents are well educated. We were taught strict grammar rules and my mom was also a Reading teacher so I wasn't let off the hook! It seems very strange to me beause you can say On Monday, On Tuesday etc. all the way to On Saturday, but "Today", "Yesterday", and "Tomorrow" are not actual days of the week in the same vein as MTWThFSaSu! They are terms to describe the present, past, and future. Putting "On" in front seems redundant to me as well. I cringe when my predominantly African American co-workers (including my boss) use this on the morning announcements and at "professional" staff meetings. But, in this PC society, you can't say anything or you are an instant "racist" especially since I'm white as a lily. 'Tis sad, indeed. Maybe I should just start speaking ebonics to fit it around here: I's a-gon aks deez co-workers to speak good 'anglish, but den dey fixin' to say I's a racist! ;)

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I hear a lot of nouns used as verbs...my personal hate is the misuse of "action". You can commit to an action, you can perform an action, but you do not "action something"!!! Everytime I hear that I want to slap someone in the head.

A close second is the misuse of dialogue. Why can't they just say they're going to talk or have a conversation rather than "dialogue each other"! Business Analysts and Project Managers...bah... they are the bain of English...

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Great letter from Wackyruss who I assume has Russian ancestors (the name). No preposition with 'yesterday' etc, as in Latin. It does remind me of the quirky thing in South African speak where we said if asked 'when?', "just now" as our answer, which elsewhere means "I am already doing it, it is happening and being done as we speak" but in those parts means, or meant "soon, sometime" or even "I'm not actually going to do it, ever, but you don't want to know that". "I'll get it just now" meant therefore "it is now on my list of things to do soon, or sometime, or never".
This may have been peculiar only to English speaking white South Africans. Black South Africans did not in my time use this expression, as I remember. Or am I meant, in the light of the 'African American' euphemism for 'black' to call most of my countrymen "African African South Africans". I must confess that to me is almost more silly an expression than African American.
(Why ever do we need a euphemism for 'black'? Is there something wrong with being black? By the way, love the comic expression 'ebonics' employed there by Wackyruss. That one was coined with a healthy dose of humour.)

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Wackyruss he belong to a PC society: "in this PC society, you can't say anything or you are an instant "racist"". Oh dear, resign from this society at once, I advise you, especially if, as I suspect, you mean "politically correct". The term was invented in the 19th C as a joke and used, tongue in cheek, by socialists such as Lenin in the early days of the Soviet Union to enforce ideas which did not bear too much scrutiny. it is a bit like saying "it is so because I say so, and I'm your mother". Lefties all knew it was said in jest all through the 1980s, and in the 1990s we all heard about it, and knew it was a joke, then suddenly by the '00s lots of people began to take it seriously. It is a mighty dangerous doctrine, to tell people to believe what they are told because "we say so" which is the same thing as "politically correct".
If you think I am havering, look at "political correctness" on Google. There are many hilarious entries there, as well as a great deal of wisdom. I have yet to find one single site to suggest there is anything good about it.

It is astonishing that Americans seem drawn into it.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Glad I'm not the only one that gets really annoyed at hearing this! I live in the South (Nashville) and hear it from time to time...especially from my boss! My boss is an African American female but I have heard it from a variety of races. I don't know if it's a race thing or a regional thing or a modern thing but I wish it would stop. Sadly, I doubt it will. I've noticed it seems like some people have made a deliberate effort to add that to their vocab and change the way they talk. Such as some radio DJ's. 1-3 years ago. Ugh. It's one of those sayings that has crept up in occurence over the recent years. On tomorrow is just one of the annoying "new" ways to talk I've been hearing. Things have a way of doing that whether we like it or not.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Joy Clark, I also hate being "axed a question." It's so painful! ;) Seriously though, that is also a black or African-American pronunciation, although I knew a teacher from the Virgin Islands who also axed questions too.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

It's heard here in Louisiana particularly among African-Americans. I'm from the northeast and had never heard it until moving here. Grates on my grammar nerves, but I generally just leave it alone. I've given up correcting the incorrectness here a long time ago.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Shaune has my total agreement: it is refreshing to read that I am not alone in wanting to strike people who commit such atrocities upon the English language as to use "action" as a verb. For years I had a boss who had made his way to England from the colonies, who always wanted to "action" things, and "farewell" people. ( In my case he eventually did. ) Of course we all mocked him for these examples, but the one which gives me the greatest annoyance these days is used by so many people that I dare not laugh: people who go about "sourcing" things. Source is not a verb. It comes from "surgo" in Latin, to rise, and is not transitive. "Soudre" in French, too, is a verb, and it means to spring forth, also not transitive. You cannot source a thing. Source is a noun. "It sourced in Africa" sounds all wrong, because it is, (intransitive) but "I sourced it in Africa" (transitive) is even more horrible, I reckon. "Its source is in Africa" is an odd way of saying "It comes from Africa", but at least it is grammatical. But there is no need whatever to coin a new word for "find a supplier" or whatever these folk think they mean when they talk about "sourcing" things.
I thought all these grammatical and linguistic horrors came from American English, but I see from the comments throughout this site that I was wrong. The British seem not to care at all about what is happening to the English language; Americans do. Keep up the good work!!

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Shaune has my total agreement: it is refreshing to read that I am not alone in wanting to strike people who commit such atrocities upon the English language as to use "action" as a verb. For years I had a boss who had made his way to England from the colonies, who always wanted to "action" things, and "farewell" people. ( In my case he eventually did. ) Of course we all mocked him for these examples, but the one which gives me the greatest annoyance these days is used by so many people that I dare not laugh: people who go about "sourcing" things. Source is not a verb. It comes from "surgo" in Latin, to rise, and is not transitive. "Soudre" in French, too, is a verb, and it means to spring forth, also not transitive. You cannot source a thing. Source is a noun. "It sourced in Africa" sounds all wrong, because it is, (intransitive) but "I sourced it in Africa" (transitive) is even more horrible, I reckon. "Its source is in Africa" is an odd way of saying "It comes from Africa", but at least it is grammatical. But there is no need whatever to coin a new word for "find a supplier" or whatever these folk think they mean when they talk about "sourcing" things.
I thought all these grammatical and linguistic horrors came from American English, but I see from the comments throughout this site that I was wrong. The British seem not to care at all about what is happening to the English language; Americans do. Keep up the good work!!

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Brus: From the OED: Source verb [ with obj. ]
• obtain from a particular source: each type of coffee is sourced from one country.
• find out where (something) can be obtained: she was called upon to source a supply of carpet.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

OED is describing an ugly use of the word "source" because it has accepted that it is in common currency. The examples you give are exactly what I mean.

Each type of coffee is/comes from one country. She was called upon to find a supply/supplier of carpeting.

What next? "He doored it" = He left by the door. "She windowed" = "She opened the window. Is "We railroaded it to Chicago" the same as "we went by train"? We automobiled it to Chicago. He treed his golf ball. Cleopatra was carpeted to Caesar.

Okay, so I was carpeted by the boss a few times, and it was nothing like Cleopatra's experience.

retired teacher

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have also heard this. It actually drives me nuts because it sounds ignorant and really pains the ears. The people I hear it from live in Atlanta GA. It has to be some kind of southern thing because I have traveled all over the world and have never heard it spoken anywhere else.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I don't know how far south the expression goes, but I have heard many people say it in Kentucky.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Brus ... Changing a noun to verb used to require a prefix ... knave (n), beknave (v); friend (n), befriend (v) ... but now one can friend (v) someone on Facebook. I'm not sure if the opposite is defriend or unfriend.

But we see it in other ways. One can xerox something and then fedex it overnight. I'd only get a little bent out of shape if the meaning wasn't clear.

BTW: ... railroad (v) : 2 [ no obj. ] (usu. as noun railroading) travel or work on the railroads. (OED)

@Sabu ... If your coworker had said, "on Friday" or "last Friday", she would have been ok. But the two together "on last Friday" doesn't work.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@AnWulf...I know.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

[...] it a couple of time recently. Naturally, being a grammar geek, I did some research and I found this conversation about the very same subject on Pain in the English. Some of the commenters said that they thought [...]

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I have lived in Texas for 38 years, about half of that time in South Texas and half in Dallas. It's been only during the past several years that I have been hearing/reading "on" attached to "yesterday", "today", "tomorrow", "last month", "next week", etc. It seems to be only African-American individuals, regardless of educational level, who present this usage. I am annoyed by what I consider poor use of the English language and wonder why some people resort to it.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

"...people that are subordinate to those whom they take issue with." Surely you mean "...people who are subordinate to those with whom they take issue." You are evidently not one who avoids the relative pronoun and replaces it with the ugly "that" - you have used the "wh-" words quite a lot elsewhere in your rant, and unlike the majority of people who couldn't give a rats a%# you state very positively that you could.

Subordinate clauses I know about, subordinate people not. Is it something to do with the army? Schoolboys rebuked for insubordination yes - very old-fashioned idea, I think, suggestive of the notion that their superiors are owed subordination ex officio. But that's all about something else - my own mystification is why people use " that", desperately avoiding "who" and its variants, no matter how ugly the result. For instance "people that are subordinate ...".

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

To clarify, I mean that 'subordinate' (people) are not, by definition, those who dare take issue with their superiors, so Objective Observer's remarks are a wee bit mysterious.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Well then, I suppose spell check use is even more important to me than O O's use of "on tomorrow" and attempts to dis' those of us who do know standard spelling and grammar.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I'd never heard this expression before, but I think it's a little bit beautiful. I might try it out some time.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I feel the same way. I was in an educational setting and the gentleman who used the phrase had a beautiful, "preacher-like" bass voice. I heard the 20-something students start to use the phrase. It bothered me so much I had to pray to let it go! On today, not on tomorrow! lol.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Wackyruss ... Hav you ever ask'd your coworkers why they say "on tomorrow"? I would hope that you're friendly enuff with them that they wouldn't be offended by the question.

@Zee, I don't know what deal of the South that you're in but as a Sutherner, I haven't heard "soda water" hereabouts. It's more often cola or coke (sometimes soda by itself). Truth be told, "coke" is somewhat generic in South. I'v heard folks say, "Bring me a coke from the store" and will be ask'd, "What kind of coke?" I think "pop" is a yankee word. I'v only heard that when up in yankeeland.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@AnWulf - there is a growing moving amongst, let me be PC here now, "lower socio-economic status groups" to speak in this manner. Perhaps it first began as improper English derived from a lack of education, but the 'African American Vernacular' has spread like wildfire to the point that it is now almost a "second language". I did not believe this myself until I worked in predominantly "black" schools. I believe speaking with a dialect or accent is a big part of your cultural identity. It can also be charming. For example, even though I am "white" and grew up in the "educated" suburbs of Houston, Texas, my parents still said "y'all" and "fixin' to". I still say those things today and it is a part of my heritage as a Texan. However, we were also taught that this is not proper English at school and should only be used in a less formal setting with your family or friends. When you are at a professional or formal function, using proper English is desire- like on the News, they speak in Standard American English and avoid slang. However, nowadays at my job, people use the vernacular at work around the children. We have a state test that is not written in the vernacular. Children must know standard English to pass this test, and speaking to the children with the vernacular does them a great disservice. However, you can't say anything because everyone will say you are racist.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I live in Memphis and hear this almost every day. I have never heard anyone outside of the African American population use it. The ages of the people using it are in their 20's, 30's and 40's. I cannot stand it.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Wackygrass - Most people in Britain are brought up speaking a non-standard regional dialect, and have been for centuries. It has been estimated that as many as 85% of children arrive at school with their dialect as their mother tongue. Historically, many of these have had problems speaking and writing standard English, although they all understand it of course. Traditionally, many teachers have discouraged dialect, others talk to the kids in it. (As in the film "Kes")

Nobody doubts the need for kids to be able to use standard English competently, but there is a growing body of research in both North America and Britain which appears to show that children brought up speaking a non-standard dialect learn standard English better when it is studied in a comparative way with their own dialect, rather than being forced on them as a replacement for their own dialect, thus denigrating the way their own parents speak.

There was a bit of debate about this in the UK recently when a Teedside school tried to get the parents to stop their children using dialect in school.

http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news...

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Agree entirely with your argument, Wackyruss, except the bit about having to be PC, (you most certainly don't, and mustn't) and I say again, please Google "political correctness" and read the Wikipedia stuff about it for the history and so on, not to mention all the other pieces.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I hear it daily by teachers and students at the school where I teach.
(Miami Gardens,Fl)

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Along similar lines, hearing "aks" and "maff" (math) from teachers makes me cringe every time.I won't even get into spelling.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@astudent ... Maybe you should at least read the title ... "on the morrow" is ok ... but what we're talking about here is "on TOmorrow" which is not ok.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

This is so true! I have experienced this many times and I hear it almost daily. I have coworkers and friends who always say "on yesterday, tomorrow, today, etc." It drives me crazy but most of them are actually educated. For example, people will say "I am glad God brought us here to worship on tonight." I have also heard people say things like "I enjoyed speaking with you on yesterday." I was very confused the first time I heard this and actually brought it up to my coworker as I was helping her write a letter as a follow up to a job interview. She seemed very confused as to why anything was wrong with the phrase. I am from Kansas and I have only heard people say this since moving to Tennessee.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I don't think the phrase is not even logical. Tomorrow, I believe, is a blend of the preposition 'to' with morrow, which means the following day. Other phrases that have merged are hereto, herewith, nevertheless, nonetheless, etc. So technically the phrase on tomorrow is actually on to morrow.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

@Catrice....It makes my blood boil, when some people's ignorance is showning. The phrase absolutely drives me crazy. However, being "African American" with family and friends raised in the north, west,east and "deep" south....and not one member young or old says "ON" any day. From my personal experience I have to agree it's not a ethnic or racial trend. It's an annoying trend,lol...I think it may a regional thing, just like the use of the word pop instead of soda..that also drives me crazy !!!

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

*Scratch out the second 'not'.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

I hear it occasionally and it sounds silly to me.

0 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

Your Comment