Yesterday night: Maybe a Joanism and not a Yorkism?

I had gotten two comments from friends in recent weeks about something I say that is, apparently, odd.

(I know, you’re shocked.)

It’s the phrase “yesterday night,” which I say in place of “last night.”

When I used it in an email to longtime reader Jo, she replied, “I think that is the first time I’ve ever seen that in writing. Since living here nearly ten years I see in print and hear so much word usage I’m not accustomed to – otherwise known as Yorkisms or Pennsyltuckianisms. Some I never used or stopped using myself during my more than fifty-year residency in a somewhat different cultural. Yours just seems so odd a phrase.”

Well, the weird thing was, Hubby had pointed out the same thing to me only a few days prior to Jo’s note.

Am I alone? Is it weird to say “yesterday night”? I feel like if you can say “tomorrow night,” then it makes sense. (And, in fact, you don’t say “next night,” so why say “last night”?) There you go. I feel justified. I guess.

About Joan

My name is Joan and I'm a lifelong Yorker. Throughout high school and college, I swore I was getting out of here as soon as possible. Now, a few years later, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. I love my town, and I hear every day from readers who love their towns, too. So please, connect with me and let's share what makes life in York County great. I'm here to help you enjoy this place as much as I do!
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5 Responses to Yesterday night: Maybe a Joanism and not a Yorkism?

  1. ljr says:

    I think grammatically it is okay, but you are saying 4 syllables versus 2 for last night, so last night is less work. Yesterday night would refer only until midnight as afterward it would be today. Could yesterday night also refer to the early morning hours of the pervious day as that also would be nighttime? Wheras, last night it refers only night time hours of the previous nightime. There does that sound sufficiently confusing…

  2. John (Pappy) Otto says:

    Yesterday was the entire day before. An entire day includes morning, noon and night.
    So why not “yesternight”? The answer is “it sound goofy”.

    “Tomorrow night” points specifically to the evening hours. One just doesn’t say ‘I going to do something tomorrow day” Maybe you will do something “tomorrow morning ” or “tomorrow at noon” or “tomorrow in the afternoon”.

    Remember Mr. Shakespeare” Tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in its steady pace from day to day (not night to night).

    Aw heck, I’ll do is sometime, may tomorrow…..

  3. Jo says:

    Well, ljr certainly did a great job of making it as clear as mud. Good job! As for Pappy, well, he started out good but left me very confoosed at the end. No star, Pappy. Sorry. Is this how they talk in–is it Vermont?

  4. Justin says:

    I was born and raised in York County, and I studied English / Linguistics in Clarion, PA. It was interesting to notice and begin studying different dialects (e.g. York), as well as idiolects (e.g. Joan), during that time. I learned a lot about how I actually speak – my grammar wasn’t (isn’t!) as perfect as I thought. I used to care a lot – I thought that one had to use “proper” grammar. Over time, I came to realize that it’s more interesting to study how people use language (descriptive), rather than tell them how to use it (prescriptive). That being said, I see nothing “wrong” with saying yesterday night, though I do not personally use it. Also, language is not static – it is very much a living thing. So why try to nail it down and prescribe its use? Go with the flow and enjoy it! That’s what I say, anyway.

  5. Gwen says:

    Hi There you are not alone.I’m 53 and was told I said that when I was a little girl living in New York.I was in Va. visiting my grown kids and my grandson from Fredrick,Md said “yesterday night”.I knew exactly what he meant and had to call my mom who lives in York,Pa. and told her history is repeating itself.Yesterday night is exactly what it is yesterday…….night.

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