In This Day in Age or Day and Age – Usage & Meaning

Photo of author

Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

Cliches are phrases that are overused or indicate a lack of original thought. However, they are popular to use because they are so familiar and well-recognized by most people when used in speech and writing.

The phrase day and age is used to indicate that you are talking about the here and now or literally saying “now, at the present time.” Its use has led to such a degree of comfort in the English language that it is now often said incorrectly as day in age.

Let’s learn about this phrase’s correct use and origins.

Which Is Correct: Day in Age or Day and Age?

In This Day in Age or Day and Age Usage Meaning

The usefulness of the clichéd phrase day and age is questionable, but it makes sense as a redundant way of saying era or just age. On the other hand, day in age is a nonsensical eggcorn derived from a mishearing of day and age.

An eggcorn is a term used to indicate a word or phrase that has been misheard and consequently said incorrectly despite still being recognizable and understood.

Day in age is more likely to be used in speech than in writing and is rarely seen in print.

How to Use Day and Age Correctly

Because it is a cliche, the phrase day and age shouldn’t be used too often—especially since it is a redundant way to specify an era or simply restate the present time. Now that you know the incorrect form, day in age, is a misheard variation, try to avoid it.

The correct use of the term is well recognized and accepted in both informal and formal writing styles, despite the rules regarding using it sparingly.

For example:

  • It’s my hope that, in this day and age, students learn to properly use technology to think critically and explore more than one side of an issue.
  • You won’t gain an advantage over your academic opponents in this day and age unless you are willing to sift through all the online testing information in advance of the competition.
  • The controversy surrounding her career concerns her diminished glamour, which, in this day and age, can indicate an end to illustrious stardom.

Origins of Day and Age

Day and Age vs. Day in Age Ngram
Day and age and day in age usage trend.

One of the earliest documented instances of day and age being published occurred in 1832 in The Genesee Farmer and Gardener’s Journal concerning the need for farmers to study agricultural studies and books:

“In this day and age, no one who is blessed with health and a common share of that indispensable article, good sense, can have an excuse for ignorance, and that hyena monster with her numerous retinue scattering desolation over the earth, ought not to find a resting place in our land.”

It is again seen in a different context in the Carlisle Herald and General Advertiser in 1836 concerning the abolition of slavery.

“It is too much, in this day and age, to hear Chief Magistrates, distinguished Senators and Legislative bodies attempt to advocate and justify slavery on the principles of ethical science and the Christian [sic] religion! This we say is too much in this day and age.”

It is likely that the term was commonly used in speech prior to this due to its familiarity in writing by the time these publications came to print. The term is used in precisely the same way today as it was then.

Let’s Review

The redundant cliche “day and age” has been used for nearly 200 years, if not longer. It is used to indicate to mean now, in the present time, when referencing various contexts.

Day in age is a mishearing and misuse of the original phrase. Although it is recognized and understood, it shouldn’t be used, especially in writing. It is more likely to be used in speech where day and age and day in age sound very similar.

Comments are closed.