I searched for the word 'morrow' and found out that it takes the definite article 'the'. It's an old word but still in use as I refer COCA. One of the example is:

the postbox by the door where it would not be noticed until the morrow

My question is,

'morrow' is a noun and so is 'tomorrow'. Both mean the same, but then why the word 'morrow' takes the definite article and 'tomorrow' does not! Say--

It is reserved till the morrow BUT
It is reserved till the tomorrow.

If both mean the next day, and there should be only one day, 'the' seems okay with 'morrow' but not with 'tomorrow'.

  • 3
    a pure guess, but tomorrow might actually be a contraction of the morrow, so 'the' is already included. (edit) a bit of googling tells me I was half right - etymonline.com/index.php?term=tomorrow Apr 3, 2015 at 8:38
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    Note that "morrow" is an obsolete word. Unless you're quoting Shakespeare, say "tomorrow", not "the morrow".
    – Jay
    Apr 3, 2015 at 12:57
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    @jamesqf Well, I think I'm a reasonably intelligent and well-educated person -- went to college, have a professional job, and all that -- and I mostly hang around with intelligent and well-educated people. And I am hard-pressed to think of a case where anyone I know ever said "I will do this on the morrow", or where I have read such a phrase in print, other than quoting something written hundreds years ago or mimicking the language of that time. Of course I can't say how you and your friends talk among yourselves, but if you use "the morrow" in everyday conversation, I think you are very, ...
    – Jay
    Apr 3, 2015 at 19:15
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    Yes, morrow is archaic. Sometimes people deliberately use archaisms for one reason or another, but that doesn't make it part of modern English. As for tomorrow, that has no article incorporated—it's a temporal deictic pronoun, so like other pronouns, it doesn't take a determiner.
    – user230
    Apr 3, 2015 at 19:30
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about etymology, which is suitable for English Language & Usage. Jan 26, 2016 at 5:35

2 Answers 2


Etymology created this quirk.

According to Google's etymology, "tomorrow" comes from middle english "to morrow" using the prepositional form of "to". The same is true of "today" and "tonight".

Just as you never say "night" or "day" without specifying which night/day (unless referring to the concept of night/day) you don't say "morrow" without specify which morrow. Adding the "to" fulfills that need by essentially saying "this" or "the immediately following". So the word "tomorrow" doesn't need that, because it's built in.

Note that modern english inherited the words "to", "morrow", and "tomorrow" from middle english - but not all of the specific details of those words that allows the combination to make sense. So we end up with confusing word combinations that don't quite have the same meaning as their parts.


This might be an etymology matter, but if you check the definitions of morrow

noun (archaic)
1) morning
2) the next day
3) the time just after some particular event

it does not seem to be so specific as to meaning tomorrow specifically (def. 1 and 3). In those situations, an article would be appropriate:

I will go home on the morrow.

meaning morning, similar to *I will go home in the morning.

  • This is correct. "Morrow" means "morning;" when it is used to mean "the following day" this is synechtoche.
    – chapka
    Apr 3, 2015 at 18:09
  • This makes sense. +1
    – Maulik V
    Apr 4, 2015 at 3:00

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