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I received the following email from a colleague, who is a native speaker of American English:

Back on for today. Starting at [10:00].

What does "back on for today" mean?

  • Probably it means back online (i.e., available), but without more context it's impossible to say for certain. – Robusto Dec 2 '14 at 16:30
  • @Robusto: There was no more context, unfortunately :) – Armen Ծիրունյան Dec 2 '14 at 16:32
  • Content isn't always textual. Consider the circumstances surrounding the email, if any. – Robusto Dec 2 '14 at 16:37
  • It could mean "Get Back" at 10:00 – Misti Dec 2 '14 at 16:52
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    It means the meeting was scheduled, then cancelled, and then re-scheduled for 10:00. – Dan Bron Dec 2 '14 at 19:41
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It could mean that the person is back online and available. It could also mean that a meeting or appointment that was previously cancelled is now going to happen as originally planned. (Or maybe at 10:00 if that wasn't the originally planned time.)

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    Given that the OP used "for", as in "Back on for today", I'm guessing that your second suggestion is probably correct. If someone was back online, they'd probably say, "Back on today" but would probably only say "Back on for today", in the context of their only being back on for today...(but not tomorrow? Why "back on", then? They were offline and now they're back online but only for today?) That possibility seems awkward to me so I'm guessing it's your 2nd option. :-) – Kristina Lopez Dec 2 '14 at 17:14
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    I would take it as your second point without any hesitation. In effect, 'it' (presumably some kind of event or meeting) was 'off' (cancelled) but is now 'back on' (rescheduled or reactivated) and planned for 10:00am. – kbelder Dec 2 '14 at 18:01
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This normally means something was originally scheduled for a certain day, later had to be rescheduled, then finally re-rescheduled for the original day.

For example: Tom, a project manager, schedules (3 weeks ahead of time) a project meeting for a Wednesday afternoon (on Dec 17). Everyone confirms they can attend the meeting. Then 4 days before the meeting (Dec 13), a key participant (John Smith) has an emergency and cannot attend on Tuesday. (so then there is last minute rescheduling of the meeting.) Then on the Monday, Dec. 15, John Smith informs the organizer that there is no longer an emergency so he can now attend the meeting as originally scheduled on Dec 17. (At this point the organizer would contact all the participants and likely say "The meeting is back on for Dec 17".

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