Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

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
  • 31 comments

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Comments

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 Oct-05-2015

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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are committed to listening to and learning from the many communities around them, but rather the attitudes of stuffy, outdated cartographers attempting to justify the use of their outdated maps.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 Oct-05-2015

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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" !)

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1597064

http://www.1066andallthat.com/english_middle/standard_04.asp

http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam032/99087473.pdf

jayles the unwoven Oct-05-2015

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

Peggy Roberts May-09-2016

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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 Jun-01-2016

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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 Aug-10-2016

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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 Sep-04-2016

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

RedBikeGirl Sep-29-2016

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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 Nov-03-2016

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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 Nov-07-2016

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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 Jan-16-2017

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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 Apr-27-2017

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

Dre Sep-03-2017

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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 Nov-07-2017

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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? ?

chrissy1 Nov-08-2017

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@ Chrissy

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

http://random-idea-english.blogspot.co.nz/2014/01/random-thoughts-about-on-tomorrow.html

jayles Nov-09-2017

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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 Nov-18-2017

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Thank you for this reference. As others have said, I have mostly heard this as Black usage in the South and find it a charming idiom, but I needed a discussion to reference about why I would leave "on" out when transcribing for reports.

scylla Jan-09-2018

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It is not correct to say on tomorrow, on yesterday, or on today. These words are adverbs and do not require the preposition "on". Prepositions require an object. Since days of the week are nouns, they are objects for prepositions. It is incorrect to assume it is OK to use 'on' with all expressions of time. The redundancy is not that the word 'to' is in tomorrow. The redundancy is that tomorrow, is an adverb that already designates a place in time, and does not require a preposition.

Although it has become common usage in some parts of the county to say 'on tomorrow (yesterday, today), it is poor grammar and makes even the most educated person sound stupid.

kadrn Jan-17-2018

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KING HENRY
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 tomorrow bid them march away.
Henry V Act 3, Scene 6, Page 7

So Shakespeare used "poor grammar and .... stupid."

http://nfs.sparknotes.com/henryv/page_132.html

http://random-idea-english.blogspot.co.nz/2014/01/random-thoughts-about-on-tomorrow.html

It is perfectly normal to say "until tomorrow", "for tomorrow", "by tomorrow", "after tomorrow", so "on tomorrow" is not that much of a stretch.

https://goo.gl/FBSZMx

jayles Jan-18-2018

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It’s a church thing. I’m willing to bet that the people heard saying “on tomorrow” are heavily influenced by the church. Church folk are the people I’ve ever heard say it.

Joshua Sattler Feb-15-2018

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This has nothing to do with being Southern. Only black people say it, and it is an insult to correct English, just like "axe" for "ask." Nomesayin?

camedon May-17-2018

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CONVERSATE IS SLANG. Recently I was corrected that the word is, in fact, in the dictionary, though it is not correct English, and it is considered slang. The correct English word is "converse" which is less to pronounce. Many feel those who use "conversate" are less than literate and not well educated.

camedon May-17-2018

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I just had this conversation with my husband a few days ago. He has never heard it but I have been hearing the phrase “ on tomorrow “ frequently. I was born and raised in the Baltimore area and never heard it until about 8 years ago. It makes me cringe when I hear it. I never hear it 50 miles away on the shore.

debmcc Sep-04-2018

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I've only heard black people use "on." Definitely not a southern thing, maybe just a southern BLACK thing. They have their own version of English. Lmfao

TheReal Oct-18-2018

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Wow, this convo has been going on for 9 years! As someone who has lived on the west coast, Texas, NY and VA, I can tell you that I’ve ONLY heard “on today/tomorrow” in Virginia. I work as a supervisor in a call center and review calls for analysis and hear it quite often. It seems to be a southeastern thing and not northeastern.

“Axe” instead of “ask” is NOT just a cultural thing. It was heavily used in NY by all cultures and I hear it in VA as well. I’ve heard it used by folks from Massachusetts, too.

It irks me, but who cares? I am a mutt when it comes to dialect so who am I to talk? (Pun intended) From “fuggedabowdit” to “I know y’all ain’t gonna..” folks never can tell where I’m from. I’m totally okay with that. ????

SynicAlyssa Nov-21-2018

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I’m originally from Southern California and moved to South Carolina in 1981. I’ve heard “on tomorrow”, “on yesterday”, and “I’m not for sure”, “on accident” and most recently “this yesterday” ???? These errors in grammar continue to vex. I wonder what Ann Landers would have suggested as a polite way of correcting people in a spirit of educating them.

user107475 Dec-09-2018

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You folks obviously need a life...as if anyone of you is the authority on language! It's amazing the types of difference people will use to ego trip. As if anyone's "English" here isn't a derivative of some other, older English...get a life! Do you have any idea how many standards of English exist on this Earth--primarily because of how language was exacted throughout history?! Skin color, eye color, hair color, skin texture, height, origin--folks find any reason to try and make themselves feel better than someone else. You folks are sick. When that ghastly-colored, wrong-eye-color-having, wrong-height, super-bonics-speaking scientist makes a life-saving drug that you need...I bet your snobbish asses will drink every last drop! It's better to unite than to divide.

Rakeem Jan-15-2019

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This is NOT a southern thing (Or maybe I should say GA thing). My supervisor is from TX and she uses it and it's the first time I've heard it used. I grew up just outside Atlanta and currently live in West GA. It bothers me when she uses it because she is educated and posses a master's degree.

MASeu01 Apr-01-2019

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I found this forum as a result watching Bible Study from my local church on TV with my wife, I finally asked her if she ever noticed “church folk” while speaking in church use the phrase ‘On Today’ or ‘On Tomorrow’ but the same people don’t phrase it that way anyplace else?
It’s been a curiosity to me for some time but I’d never inquired aloud about it. I’m no closer to an answer but I’m relieved I’m not the only one to wonder.

G-Dog Aug-15-2019

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I found this forum as a result watching Bible Study from my local church on TV with my wife, I finally asked her if she ever noticed “church folk” while speaking in church use the phrase ‘On Today’ or ‘On Tomorrow’ but the same people don’t phrase it that way anyplace else?
It’s been a curiosity to me for some time but I’d never inquired aloud about it. I’m no closer to an answer but I’m relieved I’m not the only one to wonder.

G-Dog Aug-15-2019

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