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I'm currently writing an application which displays historic events happening on this actual day. (So say, today is October 1st, the application displays events from the past which also happened on October 1st).

How do you call such a thing? I Germany we call it a "Kalenderblatt" (Calendar sheet), because such information was printed on the back of (daily-) calendar sheets. Is there such a word in English? What would be the best title for such an Application? I selected "Today in History", is this appropriate? I thought of "Historic events", but this doesn't imply the relevance for today. "On This Day" also came to my mind.

If so, how would you write "Today in History" in the application-title? Capitalized "Today In History"?

Another question on the same application: Does the sentence "150 years ago today: Something happened" sound better than "Today, 150 years ago: Something happened". So, where to put the "today"? Does this sentence make sense (in the context explained above?)

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4 Answers

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"Today in history" is certainly fine, though personally, I would go with "on this day" rather than with "today". I'm not sure why, perhaps I am biased by looking at Wikipedia's front page too often. (This would be actually a non-issue in German, where it's perfectly fine to say "today 150 years ago", "yesterday in two weeks" or "tomorrow three years ago", but I digress.)

As to capitalization, generally speaking, I wouldn't capitalize prepositions in titles (see this question), but it might depend on the context in which your application will be made available. (E.g. if you make it available for a platform or through an app store where all words in titles are capitalized come hell or high water.)

Lastly, as to the name of the app, that's a matter of personal preference, and my guess is as good as anybody's. "Calendar sheet" might work, as might "date sheet", "this day in history" or "tear-off calendar". (Also, I am not a lawyer, so I have no idea whether there might be any legal issues with any particular title.)

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Thanks for your hint, I like the 'On This Day'. How about the second question regarding the implicit Today in "150 years ago today". Is this really implicit? –  theomega Oct 22 '10 at 16:20
    
I think it is implicit, but not because of the "150 years ago". It is implicit from the context of your application. Also, typographically, starting every single section / list item with the same word(s) is not exactly ideal. How about just listing the year and leaving it at that? "1873: this and that happened" is shorter and easier to digest than "137 years ago: this and that happened". –  RegDwigнt Oct 22 '10 at 16:36
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The main page of the English language Wikipedia uses "On this day..." but I've also seen "Today in history...". A native speaker should easily understand what you mean. If non-native speakers will be reading your text, I would go with the "On this day..." usage.

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I'd stick with Robert's answer, and say "This day in history" or "on this day" (the important is to use "this day" instead of "today" because, as Robert said, Today suggests this specific day, present).

And in the second question, I'd use "150 years ago", because "today" is implicit (150 years ago means 150 past years from today), or "Exactly 150 years ago" if you want to give emphasis on that.

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ps: "Also happened on this day" seems Ok too –  Gmoliv Oct 22 '10 at 15:48
    
I was going to be just as prescriptive at first, but after looking at the Google results for "today in history" and the etymology of "today" I opted for a more descriptive wording. Come to think of it, this day does not refer to that day X years ago, either. And "exactly 150 years ago" is actually rather ambiguous. –  RegDwigнt Oct 22 '10 at 16:17
    
Is the "today" really implicit? I'm not sure, perhaps somebody can help here. –  theomega Oct 22 '10 at 16:21
    
Theomega I think so. When I say "It happened three days/years ago", what date do you start counting from? –  Gmoliv Oct 22 '10 at 16:27
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The most traditional term for this application is "This day in History".

"Today in History" is perfectly understandable but it sounds just a bit off. "Today" suggests this specific day in time, as in October 1st, 2010 (to use your example)… rather than any October 1st of any year. For example, one would not likely say "Today in 2008…" to mean October 1st, 2008.

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Regarding your last sentence, what would you say instead if today was October 1st and you want to express "Today in 2008"? Thanks anyway! –  theomega Oct 22 '10 at 16:25
    
*I* would say "On this day in 2008," or more informally "Two years ago today..." But, like above, if someone said "Today in 2008," it's understandable but sounds a bit off to me. –  Robert Cartaino Oct 22 '10 at 16:49
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