Student or Learner
I'd like to ask you a question that I've been thinking about for quite a while.
It is as follows:
Should I use or not the preposition 'on' in these sentences:
'25 August is going to be a really special occasion, they're getting married on that day.'
Or: 'Today is our anniversary.We got married on this day ten years ago.'
Does using on in these phrases depend on whether I use British or American English?Or does it depend on whether i'm referring to the past or the future?
I'm looking forward to your reply.
Thank you very much,
Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.
Thank you very much for your answer!
Is it because we are talking about the future in the first sentence and about the past in the second one?
Is it possible to find a rule for it in everyday language use?
Thank you very much,
It's rather subtle.
I agree with Emsr2d2's judgement of what works and what doesn't, but I can't formulate it as a rule. It's not difficult to find examples for both "this day" and "that day", in the present, past, and future, both with or without the "on". (Google is your friend.)
It may be true that "on this day" is more common than the plain "this day", but on the other hand something like "this very day" is very common without the "on".
Actually, the word "today" is an elision of the phrase "this day". Perhaps that is the reason why the plain two-word "this day" may be rather less common than "that day": wherever the older language said plainly "this day" we now say "today". Note too how we never say "on today".
Obviously, I am speculating.
Last edited by abaka; 26-Jun-2012 at 10:15.
Yes, I was wrong on that point. Etymologically today = "to day", which explains why "on today" ("on to day", double preposition) just does not work. I stand by the rest of what I said, namely that although examples of all kinds can be found, for whatever reason "on this day" sounds more natural than plain "this day" in every example I can immediately think of, but "that day" sounds equally well with or without the "on".
[this was directed to 5jj] The 'this' idea may have come from Romance languages, which all (... well, I can't think of any counter-examples) have the root hoc (Latin 'this') of hodie: Sp hoy, It oggi, Pg hoje...
In Fr aujourd'hui it is well camouflaged, but 'this' is still there (in the last syllable).
hoy - hallo.ro | Dic) This seems to be an exception among Romance languages.
Catalan for "today": avui (see the similarity with French)
Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.
The Catalan word comes from "hodie" as other words BobK mentioned. The French word is actually pleonastic -- it's literally "on the day of today" ("el día de hoy" in Spanish). Here's a video in French about the word. The speaker speaks so clearly that even I understood what he was talking about even though I don't generally understand spoken French.
PS My guess, for what it's worth, is that whereas many languages have their 'this' deriving from the Classical Latin hoc, Romanian uses as the source for its 'this' the Vulgar Latin IST(E). (People with a little knowledge of Latin may object 'But Classical Latin already had the word iste -a -ud; but that meant 'the very same' [as in the It stesso]). But I think I'm talking to myself now...
Last edited by BobK; 26-Jun-2012 at 16:21. Reason: PS Added