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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.

  • March 10, 2009
  • Posted by biz
  • Filed in Usage

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I'm a school teacher in Macon, Ga. I had never heard the usage of the preposition "on" in this context until I started teaching at an inner-city school. My principal, vice-principal, academic coach, and the superintendent of school all use this vernacular. It is very common in the educated African American community of middle Georgia. It drives me nuts. It changes an adverb into the noun of a prepositional phrase modifying a verb. If I had hair, I'd pull it out.

Daniel Swem November 17, 2017, 7:40pm

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@ Chrissy

Since you are college educated at least get the facts straight:

jayles November 9, 2017, 2:25pm

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I am 29 from North Jersey and college educated. I too cringe when I hear "on tomorrow". There was a time when I only heard it while visiting the South but it is spreading. I just heard a NY politician use it twice on television.

To anyone who has a problem with their principal: It is NOT your place to ever correct the grammar of your superior at work. "On tomorrow" is not something learned in school, obviously it is picked at home. Most people I confront really do not notice their error and are terribly embarrassed.

To say that this is exclusive to Black people might sound a little racist but it is unfortunately true. I feel embarrassed when other Black people jack up English in front of White people. After reading all of your comments my worst fears have been confirmed. You guys hear a black person speak a little differently and automatically assume we've had a subpar education. Smh! Even if the person is your boss, you still question their intellect! Sad.

Teachers! : While it is highly inappropriate to correct a colleague it is Your job to properly educate your students. Teach them! This is exactly why HBCUs are so important. White "teachers" giving up on their Black students grammar??? Allow me to insert another Black colloquialism here, "where they do that at?" Shame! You may not have to take an oath like a doctor but you too have a duty, to educate!

I will no longer roll my eyes when I hear Black people say "on tomorrow" or "axe". I will correct them at the appropriate time. Now, which of you is going to teach my landscaper to stop saying "yous"? ! That's an uneducated white Jersey thing, right? ?

Chrissy November 8, 2017, 2:55pm

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You are absolutely correct. I believe it is something that was in the southern region and has found itself in the northeastern region. It is somewhat redundant to have a preposition indicating when and then use a word indicating when.

Robyn Spencer November 7, 2017, 3:36pm

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I moved to Houston, TX and I have heard it many times, but only in the African American community.

Dre September 3, 2017, 5:58pm

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I live in the South and have heard this quite frequently. Funnily enough, the speakers who engage in this linguistic homicide are from the NORTH!

Gail Padgett April 27, 2017, 5:34am

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This is an old world English term sometimes trapped in areas of Appalachia, like many other old German, Scottish, Irish and English phrases (or variations thereof). It's commonly used among religious African American folks in Georgia and Alabama from my experience. The reason so many comments have referenced NE Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina etc.. is the Appalachian connection.

JBS January 16, 2017, 9:22am

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I live in Tennessee, which is home to southerners from every state. I began hearing my African American boss use the expression "on today" in her emails. Usually the context was along the lines of, "I hope all is well with you on today." I thought it was just a quirk she had because I had never heard anyone else speak that way. Then, a few months later, another African American woman joined our team who also uses such expressions. Could it be an aspect of southern dialect that is exclusive to African American culture? Have y'all noticed this or have you heard "on today" and "on tomorrow" from white people?

Erica Runnels November 7, 2016, 5:18am

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It is not proper grammar. However, it does seem to be a popular phrase in the south, since I live in South Carolina and hear it a lot. I teach ELA and have for years. I explain it this way: You cannot do something ON tomorrow. How are you going to do that? Stand on tomorrow, or a piece of paper that has the word tomorrow on it? It is always best to leave that out. EX: We have a test tomorrow. NOT: We have a test on tomorrow.

Susan Mars November 3, 2016, 7:55am

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I live is south Louisiana and I hear it more and more. It's driving me nuts.

RedBikeGirl September 29, 2016, 7:30am

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It is ironic that I come across your blog. I too have felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand when someone is speaking of a time frame and specifically tagging the "on", to it.
Unfortunately, it is now accepted as part of speech and even presented in public forum.
Imagine if you will, president of the University presenting graduate degrees and referring to a special program that is going to begin "on tomorrow." I knew then it was a losing battle.

yolanda garcell September 4, 2016, 3:59pm

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We may not be used to hearing it, and we may not like the way it sounds, but grammatically there is nothing wrong with it. "Tomorrow" is a noun, the object of the prepositional phrase "on tomorrow." The entire prepositional phrase is adverbial, but the word "tomorrow" by itself is a noun. Whether we say or write "on" or not, structurally it is there.

Nancy Tuten August 10, 2016, 6:06pm

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Until I moved to Atlanta, I'd never heard the anyone use the "on tomorrow", and I'm from the South. As an educator, I hate listening to my principal say this on the morning announcements. I have to say that I feel I've done my job as a teacher when one of my second graders asked me why the principal used a preposition before the word tomorrow.

GATeacher June 1, 2016, 1:05pm

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It isn't a southern thing.'s an African American thing exclusively.

Peggy Roberts May 9, 2016, 6:07am

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@Byron: Over the centuries a form of "standard" Enlglish has come about, used by government, business and education so that all may communicate clearly. This does not mean that any one dialect is wrong or bad; just different and perhaps not so widely understood.

"wrong" in this context should mean "not conforming to generally accepted anglo principles"

(cf "GAAP" !)

jayles the unwoven October 5, 2015, 12:40pm

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To continue ... The most prevalent attitudes expressed on this page towards the varying and uses of the English language are not the attitudes of enlightened intellectuals who are committed to listening to and learning from the many communities around them, but rather the attitudes of stuffy, outdated cartographers attempting to justify the use of their outdated maps. I am not trying to tell you what to do, I'm just telling you how I feel. Would anyone be able to explain to me why the nit-picking of dialectical English found on this page is in any way constructive, or are we just trying to vent our repressed rage at those who will not conform to our prescriptive grammar? I would honestly like to know. Thank you all.

Byron October 4, 2015, 8:13pm

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With all respect to the people posting on this page, I simply don't understand why everyone is so upset with a use of English that they deem "incorrect" simply because it has not fallen within their personal experience of the language. The differences which exist between a mid-west, Boston, Texan, Australian, Canadian, or Nigerian English are simply dialectical, are part of the geographical nuances of English (which nuances exist in any and all languages), and therefore should not be considered, as one person has said, "wrong, wrong, wrong".

Byron October 4, 2015, 8:12pm

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For the past decade, I have been receiving emails bi-weekly from the same secretary.... She keeps using the preposition "on" in front of "tomorrow". I noticed it long time ago but I just googled it today.

Dear all,

Please be reminded that the Weekly Meeting will be held on tomorrow, 11 September 2015 (Friday) at 2:00 p.m. in Room xx.

Thank you for your kind attention.


Fran September 10, 2015, 9:42pm

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@Ash78 - As a matter of interest, "where do you stay?" (for "where do live?") is very common in Scotland.

Warsaw Will July 7, 2015, 7:05am

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I've lived in Alabama for 20 years and only started noticing it in the past few months from a coworker in Texas. I may have tuned it out before, but I swear I just started hearing it for the first time time my life. 100% of the handful of users who have used it have been African-American, for whatever it's worth. I don't consider this to be any kind of racially-charged Ebonics issues (like "axe" vs "ask"), just a cultural nuance. It's akin to "where do you stay?" for "where do you live?" I have never heard a white person use that expression, but I fully accept it as an alternative and have even used back at people as an alternative term. Language is a rich and living thing, and unless there is a flagrant grammatical issue, I usually adapt more than I try to correct.

Ash78 July 6, 2015, 10:19am

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I live in Louisiana and started noticing this phrase about a year ago. I have only heard it spoken by black people, including professionals . . .such as a journalist. I do not see how pointing this out is racist. It is what it is. If it is a southern black thing, so be it.

Nuff Said May 30, 2015, 5:18am

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I live in a suburb of Dallas and work as an Educator. I hear this expression often, mostly from African-Americans. It sounds wrong to me and it makes me cringe but ... This isn't common practice in my household!

L R April 1, 2015, 8:44am

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I completely agree with Confused in Dallas! It has always been an African American who has used it in my presence. This happens a lot at my place of employment and the persons that are saying these phrases sound quite uneducated. Unfortunately, these are the leaders in charge of our children's education.

North Texas Mommy February 25, 2015, 11:00am

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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.

Confused in Dallas August 27, 2014, 4:45pm

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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.

AR April 29, 2014, 6:42am

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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 (, I wonder if this is where it has come from.

Warsaw Will April 18, 2014, 8:43am

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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. :)

Kalar April 18, 2014, 7:58am

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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.

Laura Jean April 1, 2014, 1:27pm

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@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

takes place (on) Monday

starts (on) Monday

Warsaw Will March 14, 2014, 2:50pm

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

jayles March 14, 2014, 9:48am

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

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

jayles March 14, 2014, 9:46am

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@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.


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

Jasper March 14, 2014, 8:14am

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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"

Hairy Scot March 13, 2014, 6:33pm

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

jayles March 13, 2014, 3:47pm

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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.

Hairy Scot March 13, 2014, 11:20am

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@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.

Jasper March 13, 2014, 3:38am

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

Hairy Scot March 12, 2014, 5:16pm

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@Hairy Scot,

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

Jasper March 12, 2014, 5:10pm

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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".

Hairy Scot March 12, 2014, 2:49pm

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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 ..thoothoor parish celebrates St.Agathammal feast on tomorrow, 5th Feb 2014.

fisky March 11, 2014, 11:21pm

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@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.

Warsaw Will February 7, 2014, 7:17am

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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....

momofthree1999 February 7, 2014, 4:15am

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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 I'm from CT and never heard that until I moved below the Mason-Dixon.

Shanimal27 January 30, 2014, 2:18am

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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

onandonandon January 22, 2014, 3:37pm

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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"

Warsaw Will January 16, 2014, 11:35am

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@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.

AnWulf January 16, 2014, 8:03am

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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.

ME2 January 16, 2014, 2:35am

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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.

JLB January 9, 2014, 1:14pm

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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.

AR December 23, 2013, 9:27am

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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.

Technical Writer December 14, 2013, 7:14am

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* I mean spoken prevalence.

Jasper November 24, 2013, 7:33pm

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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.

Jasper November 24, 2013, 7:32pm

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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?

Teacher November 24, 2013, 12:39pm

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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...

StacM August 10, 2013, 9:55am

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*Scratch out the second 'not'.

Jasper July 25, 2013, 7:08pm

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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.

Jasper July 25, 2013, 2:44pm

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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. .

Man In Memphis July 25, 2013, 1:58pm

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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 -

You can find more US regional variation maps at -

Warsaw Will June 7, 2013, 9:28am

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@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:

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.

Warsaw Will May 12, 2013, 9:07am

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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.

Brus May 12, 2013, 7:58am

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"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".

Warsaw Will May 12, 2013, 4:40am

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@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?

Warsaw Will May 12, 2013, 4:08am

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@ 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.

Zee May 3, 2013, 11:29am

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

Zee May 3, 2013, 11:22am

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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.

Brus April 14, 2013, 7:06am

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@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.

Warsaw Will April 14, 2013, 6:51am

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@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.

Wackyruss April 14, 2013, 5:33am

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@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.

AnWulf April 14, 2013, 2:09am

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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.

Brus April 11, 2013, 3:33am

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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.)

Brus April 11, 2013, 3:12am

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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! ;)

Wackyruss April 11, 2013, 2:01am

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@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.

ShannonV April 10, 2013, 3:58pm

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@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.

Bleu April 10, 2013, 11:24am

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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!

Brus April 10, 2013, 10:09am

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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.

Brus April 10, 2013, 9:46am

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@ 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!!!

Zee April 10, 2013, 9:42am

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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.

ShannonV April 10, 2013, 8:48am

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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.

Catrice March 15, 2013, 2:03pm

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@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?

Warsaw Will March 15, 2013, 6:19am

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@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 !!!

Zee March 11, 2013, 7:57am

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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!

Catrice March 11, 2013, 6:20am

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@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.

AnWulf March 11, 2013, 5:14am

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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.

Memphis101 March 6, 2013, 2:56am

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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.

astudent October 29, 2012, 2:08am

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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.

Lisa October 23, 2012, 8:37am

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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!"

wytchwood October 23, 2012, 8:07am

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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.

Brus October 18, 2012, 3:34am

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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." :)

Leezie October 18, 2012, 12:55am

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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.

Born and Raised Southron October 2, 2012, 9:46am

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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.

Longtime Southerner October 2, 2012, 3:19am

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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:
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. Wood August 12, 2012, 9:40am

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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!!!

Zee August 9, 2012, 8:59am

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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.

Just A Thought August 8, 2012, 4:04pm

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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.

Ima Teacher May 19, 2012, 3:00am

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

Nick ¥ May 18, 2012, 3:46am

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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.

ESL Reading teacher May 9, 2012, 1:53pm

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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.

Brus May 9, 2012, 3:22am

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"...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 ...".

Brus May 9, 2012, 3:00am

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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. :-)

Objective Observer May 9, 2012, 12:21am

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Yes     No