There’s a good film on late.

Usually, at the end of "there's something" or "there are some things", a specific thing follows the "there" in front.

I surmise after "on", TV is hidden. If I am correct, why TV is omitted here?

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    I find your example "peculiar". In my neck of the woods, we'd either say There's a good film on late tonight OR more likely ...later OR ...later tonight. As an answer to the question What are you doing tonight?, I wouldn't expect, say, I'm going down the pub late (but I would accept I'm going to a disco, so I'll be home late). May 31, 2023 at 12:00
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    You should also note that in context, your speaker might be talking about a movie that's being screened late tonight at the local cinema (or some streaming website, that you intend to watch on your smartphone later). May 31, 2023 at 12:10
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    @FumbleFingers: Yet "I'm going to the pub, I'll be home late" is perfectly fine. All other examples provided here, both by you and the OP, are the same usage. It's just that some of these are more commonly used than others.
    – Flater
    Jun 1, 2023 at 0:54
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    @FumbleFingers "on late" is entirely OK in colloquial UK English. Jun 1, 2023 at 7:58
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    @MarkMorganLloyd: Maybe for you. Not for me, as I explained. The shop is open late and The film is on late aren't directly comparable, because the shop is probably already open, but the film probably isn't currently on. Whereas The shop is open later and The film is on later are normally comparable, in that neither subject is yet in its predicted future state. Jun 1, 2023 at 10:10

2 Answers 2


In this sentence "on" is not short for "on TV". Here it means "scheduled". It is the same use of "on" as in "What have you got on tonight? - I have a meeting at 7:30".

If you are at home then it will be assumed that the film will be shown using the TV.

If you were at a shopping centre with a cinema, the sentence could mean that the cinema would be showing a good film at a late screening.

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    Or it could be a theatre show, or a sports game, or, or... 🙂
    – Jivan Pal
    May 31, 2023 at 21:23
  • What have you got on tonight? - eh, manners please.
    – Mazura
    Jun 2, 2023 at 2:11

You are correct. But "on" need not be a preposition. It can have various syntactic functions: preposition, part of a phrasal verb, adverb. In this case (says Wiktionary) it's an adverb, and no complement to the preposition is expected.

Here are some more examples where it seems adverbial (with various different meanings):

Anything good on?
Is anything good being played on the radio or TV or stage?

Why's the TV on?
Why is the TV running?

What's on for tonight?
What has been planned?

Soup's on!
The soup is ready to eat!

  • These other meanings of "on" have nothing to do with the meaning in the OP's example sentence. "To be on" isn't a phrasal verb. It's "be" and the word "on".
    – gotube
    May 31, 2023 at 0:08
  • @gotube Indeed they have nothing to do with the meaning, but the meaning is dealt with in the first three words of my answer, and then I move on to OP's second question. As for the phrasal verb, I'll amend. May 31, 2023 at 0:59
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    What other question did the OP ask? I don't see anything asking for a list of uses of "on" in general, and such a question would be off-topic for being too broad anyway.
    – gotube
    May 31, 2023 at 3:42
  • @gotube "I surmise after 'on', TV is hidden. If I am correct, why TV is omitted here?" The intent is to show that nothing is necessarily omitted because the surmise is not necessarily correct. (This does imply that I disagree with your answer. The fact that sometimes one could supply a complement to the preposition doesn't mean what we have here is a preposition with something omitted, just as "let's go inside" just means "let's go indoors", without omitting some context-dependent complement for what one will be inside.) May 31, 2023 at 3:58
  • Of course, it comes to the same thing, but I prefer not to posit an element thought of and deleted. It doesn't accord with my intuition of how I form such sentences, though it may with yours. May 31, 2023 at 4:05

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