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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.

  • Posted by biz
  • Filed in Usage
  • 35 comments

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Comments

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.

Shanimal27 Jan-30-2014

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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 Feb-07-2014

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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 Feb-07-2014

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

fisky Mar-12-2014

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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".

user106928 Mar-12-2014

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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 Mar-12-2014

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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. :-))

user106928 Mar-12-2014

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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 Mar-13-2014

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@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.

user106928 Mar-13-2014

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

jayles Mar-13-2014

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@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"

user106928 Mar-13-2014

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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.

Jayles,

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

Jasper Mar-14-2014

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@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

jayles Mar-14-2014

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

jayles Mar-14-2014

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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
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=you+on+Monday%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cyou+Monday%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cyou+on+Monday%3Aeng_gb_2012%2Cyou+Monday%3Aeng_gb_2012&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cyou%20on%20Monday%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cyou%20Monday%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cyou%20on%20Monday%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cyou%20Monday%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0

takes place (on) Monday
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=takes+place+on+Monday%3Aeng_us_2012%2Ctakes+place+Monday%3Aeng_us_2012%2Ctakes+place+on+Monday%3Aeng_gb_2012%2Ctakes+place+Monday%3Aeng_gb_2012&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Ctakes%20place%20on%20Monday%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Ctakes%20place%20Monday%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Ctakes%20place%20on%20Monday%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0

starts (on) Monday
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=starts+on+Monday%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cstarts+Monday%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cstarts+on+Monday%3Aeng_gb_2012%2Cstarts+Monday%3Aeng_gb_2012&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cstarts%20on%20Monday%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cstarts%20Monday%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cstarts%20on%20Monday%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cstarts%20Monday%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0

Warsaw Will Mar-14-2014

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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 Apr-01-2014

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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 Apr-18-2014

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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 Apr-29-2014

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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 Aug-27-2014

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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 Apr-01-2015

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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

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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 Jul-07-2015

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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.


Regards,
xxx

Fran Sep-11-2015

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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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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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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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@ 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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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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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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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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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 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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My posts are not getting published. They don't reply email either.

Gotham Oct-25-2019

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