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  1. #1
    Nicky_K is offline Junior Member
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    Default What does actually 'by tomorrow' mean?

    Hello,

    I know that 'by tomorrow' means, depending on context, either 'any time before tomorrow' or 'any time today or tomorrow'. But I've heard many times phrases, where 'by tomorrow' means exactly 'tomorrow' and not 'today'.

    For example this dialogue, which you can hear on 'Two And A Half Men':

    Mia: - Frankly, I'd love to have a boy in the class. It's hard to get males that age excited about ballet.

    Charlie: - Really? 'Cause Jake is just "ballet" this and "ballet" that.

    Mia: - Yeah, I'm sure. Tell you what. Why don't you bring him by tomorrow?

    Charlie:- Great. Maybe afterward, you and I...

    Mia:- Charlie, listen carefully. You and I? Never gonna happen.

    Charlie: - Understood. See you tomorrow.


    In this context 'by tomorrow' means precisely 'tomorrow'. Because this conversation happened after (or during) today's ballet lesson and the next lesson will start tomorrow at a certain time. It makes no sense to bring Jake today.

    Why did Mia say 'by tomorrow' and not just 'tomorrow'?

    Thank you

  2. #2
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    Barb_D is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: What does actually 'by tomorrow' mean?

    [Bring him by] [tomorrow]

    Bring him by = bring him around = bring him to the dance studio, etc.
    When should he do that? Tomorrow.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. #3
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: What does actually 'by tomorrow' mean?

    Barb is right - you misunderstood 'bring him by tomorrow' in this case.

    However, 'by tomorrow' is a common phrase meaning - as you proposed - 'tomorrow (at the latest)'.

    'This essay must be handed in by tomorrow'.

    Rover

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: What does actually 'by tomorrow' mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    ...
    However, 'by tomorrow' is a common phrase meaning - as you proposed - 'tomorrow (at the latest)'.

    'This essay must be handed in by tomorrow'.

    Rover
    But if necessary it's often reinforced with a time: A teacher who says 'This essay must be handed in by tomorrow' is asking for trouble if they mean 'This essay must be handed in by tomorrow at the usual morning lesson' (inviting the complaint, on the following day. 'But Sir, I was going to do it in the lunch break'. )

    b

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