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I always confused when talking about today, yesterday or tomorrow (etc.) in nominal sentences, and I'm not sure if it's necessary to add them pronoun or not.

For example:

Today (it?) is my brother's birthday.

tomorrow (it?) will be my brother's birthday.

yesterday (it) was my brother's birthday.

In my native languages this pronoun is omitted in parallel sentences, and that's why I'm asking it.

If it is indeed necessary to add a pronoun before, what this kind of phenomenon is called in English grammar terminology (in order to read further about it)?

  • What gave you the idea we use a noun followed by a pronoun like that? Sounds like French to me. Demain, c'est mon anniversaire. In English, we don't use that structure, ever. – Lambie May 22 '18 at 16:47
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The pronoun 'it' is optional in expressions such as 'tomorrow [it] is my brother's birthday'. Note the possessive 's after 'brother'.

  • Let me ask you please: which of them will be the higher register speech? or more formal? Anyway I don't want to be sounded even a little bit weird:) – Judicious Allure May 22 '18 at 16:03
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    @subtle_sibling - If you want to sound "normal," omit the it: Tomorrow is my brother's birthday. – J.R. May 22 '18 at 16:10
  • @subtle_sibling Or conversely: It is my brother's birthday tomorrow. [By the way, it's: I don't want to sound weird, to look weird, to seem weird [or any other adjective.] – Lambie May 22 '18 at 16:45
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Words like "tomorrow", "today", and "yesterday" can be used as either nouns or adverbs.

Tomorrow is my brother's birthday

makes it the noun.

Tomorrow, it is my brother's birthday

makes it the adverb.

There is a subtle difference in nuance. Adding the existential it can sound more declarative, like you are making a speech or a proclamation ... but in sentences like that it's so slight it makes no difference. It only becomes significant in context, when building off of these statements.

Tomorrow is a day I will never forget. It was the day, many years ago, when the six-fingered man killed my father, and I swore I would have vengeance.

In this structure I would not say "tomorrow, it is the day" because that breaks the flow of the narrative, and I include it in the second sentence. Instead you can structure it something like:

Tomorrow, it is the anniversary of the day, many years ago, the six-fingered man killed my father, and I swore I would have my vengeance.

But this is all dramatic narrative. If you want to be less dramatic, don't add it and just say something like:

Tomorrow is the day I have to pay my taxes.

  • Please refer to everyday speaking and what's more common and then I'll choose the answer. @J.R wrote here in a comment that if I want to sound "normal," then I should omit the it: Tomorrow is my brother's birthday. – Judicious Allure May 22 '18 at 16:34
  • @subtle_sibling I believe they said that because the version without it flows more smoothly (fewer pauses and syllables), so, naturally, more people will opt for it. Compare: Tomorrow's my... vs. Tomorrow, it's my.... Note that people normally speak in an informal register, because most situations we deal with in our lives are of an informal character. Going to the store, talking to our friends and family, and even at work and university people tend to use informal language. Your written assignments will usually require you use a more formal style, however. – userr2684291 May 22 '18 at 18:47
  • @subtle_sibling Without the it is more common, possibly, but it would be wrong to say the other is abnormal. It's just a different way of saying the same thing. It is normal in any language to have multiple ways to express yourself. – Andrew May 23 '18 at 14:11

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