Tomorrow or On Tomorrow? Turning That ‘On’ Off
Should you refer to something happening tomorrow or on tomorrow? A largely-Southern expression adds the preposition before words like today, tomorrow and yesterday, and we need to turn that option off.
Like many other people, the first time I heard someone say they were going to do something “on tomorrow,” I thought it was a simple mistake. Since then, I’ve heard “on today” and “on yesterday” as well.
It’s a bizarre little construction that makes little sense, until you consider that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying, “I’ll meet with him on Tuesday.” When you consider that a day with an actual name needs the on preposition to make sense, then it seems like someone’s just trying to be consistent by adding the on across the board.
Okay, so even if there might be some degree of logic in play — or at least an attempt at some sort of logic — that still doesn’t make “on tomorrow” sound any more correct to those of us who don’t use such an expression.
Here’s where you have to let out your inner grammar nerd long enough to figure out why you don’t need on in front of words like today, tonight, tomorrow or yesterday.
Words like today used to be written as “to-day.” The preposition to eventually became a full-fledged part of the word when people started writing it without the hyphen. But even as one word, the preposition is implied, so on is redundant. Yesterday is only slightly different, but its definition is “on the day before today,” so adding another on is obviously redundant there, too.
So unless you’re referring to a specific day with its own name — such as Sunday, Monday, etc.; or an event on a calendar — like Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, etc.; you don’t need on.