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the day after

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,

Would (a) and (b) have the same meaning?
(a) The man told her that her watch would be fixed by the next day.
(b) The man told her that her watch would be fixed by the day after.

Hirashin
 

hirashin

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Thank you for the help, Wonko and Majestic.
In what case can you use "the day after"?
Hirashin
 

WonkoTheSane

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It has to be the day after something, like "the day after tomorrow."
 

hirashin

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No, no, Wonko. I need an example of just "the day after" instead of the day after something. If I remember correctly, there was a movie called "The day after".
 

Mike Cash

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No, no, Wonko. I need an example of just "the day after" instead of the day after something. If I remember correctly, there was a movie called "The day after".
That phrasing will always make the hear think, "the day after what?"

If the event has been mentioned in an earlier sentence and is understood, then there is no problem. But in a standalone sentence as in your original examples it would be unclear.

It is also unclear in the movie title, but that is an allusion, a clever and intentional device to draw attention to and create interest in the movie. As an example of artistic license or of clever marketing, it is outstanding. As an example of unambiguous English it would be a complete failure. Nobody could tell you what day "The Day After" refers to without knowing something about the movie.
 

WonkoTheSane

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Completely agree with Mike.

I'd also say it's possible that the use of 'The Day After" in the movie title was referencing the idea that with such a world changing event a phrase which would normally require a specificity would no longer need one since it would become contextually obvious to everyone who lived through the event.

In much the same way that if one says "my friend was there on nine eleven" to most US citizens they assume it is the date of the disaster and the location was New York. Whereas if you said "my friend was there on four sixteen" people would not have an immediate contextual understanding.
 

hirashin

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Oh, thanks for the detailed explanation.
How about the following sentence? Does it sound strange?
(c) I bought the car last Tuesday and the day after it broke down.

Then can you say the same thing about "the day before"?
How about (d)?
(d) My grandson said he had gone to the zoo the day before.

Hirashin
 

Mike Cash

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(d) has the same problem as explained earlier.

(c) I bought the car last Tuesday and the day after it broke down.

That is grammatically acceptable, but ambiguous. It can also be understood as meaning the car broke down on Monday.

To eliminate the ambiguity, rephrase it:

(c) I bought the car last Tuesday and it broke down the day after.
 

Majestic

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(c) I bought the car last Tuesday and the day after it broke down.

This could also be seen as a sentence fragment - an incomplete sentence. Its as if the entire sentence should be:
"I bought the car last Tuesday and the day after it broke down some surprising thing happened".

Of course most people will infer from the context that you mean the day after you bought it, but it is an ambiguity that should be eliminated by constructing a better sentence.

I would prefer; I bought the car last Tuesday, and the next day it broke down.
But this doesn't help you in your quest for a sentence that uses "the day after", but I think that phrase will almost always be an incomplete fragment, and, as Mike says (and as every US high school English teacher will say) it makes me think... "the day after what?"
 

Mike Cash

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Remember, "after" is a preposition....a PREposition. We expect something after it...or at least something somewhere which goes with it.
 

Mike Cash

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WonkoTheSane

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Your original post has no temporal reference for 'after' to associate with:

(b) The man told her that her watch would be fixed by the day after.
The sentence you posted later does:

He died on June 3rd and was buried the day after.
Here is my question:

When is the day after?

I know when tomorrow is because it has an embedded temporal reference to today. I know when June 3rd is because it is an explicit temporal reference.

'The day after' has no embedded temporal reference and is not an explicit temporal reference, so it needs a point in time to connect with.
 
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