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Have You Earned Your Tomorrow

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Title: Have you earned your tomorrow

The title is a verbal question to the readers to rethink the treatment that they are giving to others. It gives hint that we must help people around us. It confirms our bright future.

The title suggests us ‘as you sow, so you shall reap’ or ‘today’s good investment is tomorrow’s gain’.

About Poet:

Edgar Albert Guest was a British-born American poet who was popular in the first half of the 20th century and became known as the People’s Poet. His poems often had an inspirational and optimistic view of everyday life. In 1904 he began writing verse for the Free Press under the heading “Chaff.”

About the poem:

Have you earned your tomorrow’ is an inspirational poem. In this poem, the speaker is asking the readers whether they have done anything to improve the life of another human being or not. It is up to you whether you will have a better future or not. Therefore, one should consider one’s actions and deeds carefully and plan accordingly for a better future.

Ice- Breaker Activities-

A) Give different ways to help others.


1) To give financial help to the poor.
2) To donate blood.
3) To give company to lonely persons.
4) To give carrier guidance to the needy persons.
5) To give help in study to younger siblings.
6) To help the blind persons to cross the road.
7) To give seat to the handicapped persons in the public transport.
8) To join the social welfare organizations.
9) To take part in a charity run.
10) To comfort someone in grief.
11) To give food for a homeless person.
12) To do household chores.

B) Write different idioms / proverbs related to word ‘tomorrow’.


1) Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
2) Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.
3) Nobody is too young to die tomorrow.      
4) Tomorrow never comes.
5) Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.
6) Who has ever seen tomorrow?
7) Say what you have to say, tomorrow.
8) The rich man plans for tomorrow, the poor man for today.
9) The lazier a man is, the more he plans to do tomorrow.
10) Fools look to tomorrow; wise men use tonight.
11) Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today.
12) Give me wool and tomorrow you will have a sheep.

C) When you make your future plans you think of –


1) Career
2) Expectations of the family members          
3) Job opportunities            
4) Social status  
5) Financial condition
6) Chances for development
7) Learning
8) Success  in the plan

D) ‘Plan your tomorrow’ by completing the table given below.


ExaminationCollege FunctionFunction at your home
Making a time tablePreparing the list of dutiesCleaning the house
Concentrating on important topicsChoice of programmesGive invitations to guests
RevisionParticipation in various activitiesHelp to family members

New words and their meanings
Toiling time– time spent in hard physical work.  
Through – over  
Utter (v)– speak.  
Utter(adj)– complete, absolute, total  
Cheerful– gay, happy, merry  
Greeting– polite words or sign of welcome.  
Came along-arrived, accompanied someone.  
Churlish-rude, i’ll mannered.  
Howdy– an informal friendly greeting, (How are you?)  
Vanish– disappear  
Throng– a large crowd  
Rushed (v)-moved with urgent haste,ran towards something in hurry  
Rushed(n)-sudden quick movement towards something.  
Mighty– gigantic, vast, strong, powerful.  
Deed– doing   Part(ing) with– to give up, let go  
Slipping fast– going or moving quickly, sliding, here getting over  
Rejoice-joy, glee, thrill, mirth  
Fading– gradually growing faint, disappearing, here losing hope  
Courage– bravery  
Sorely– extremely hard, painfully, mortally  
Trail(n)-a mark or a series of signs or objects left behind by the passage of someone.  
Trail(v)-leave behind  
Scar– scratch, wound  
Discontent– dissatisfaction  
Earned– rewarded, deserved to live for one more day  

Brain Storming Activities-

Have You Earned Your Tomorrow


Discuss with your friend how she/he spent the whole day that was beneficial for  others.


1) Helped in daily chores to family members.                 

2) Read newspaper to grandfather.      

3) Participated in cleanliness movement organized by Rotary Club.

4) Gave own seat to a handicapped person in the bus.

5) Assisted illiterate woman in the bank to withdraw the amount.

6) Gave food to the beggar.

7) Carried the patient to the hospital

8) Donated blood.

9) Helped younger siblings in their school project.

10) Gave last year books to the needy poor students.


(i) ….’was  it  well  or  sorely  spent’?  Explain  the  meaning and give illustrations.


The line ‘was  it  well  or  sorely  spent’? means that we should check our daily routine and introspect (examine) if we spent it properly or not. The poet suggests that we must utilize our valuable time for doing good to others. We should not involve in wrong things. It may disturb others and at the end of the day you feel that you have spent the day hurting others. If we insult others and behave wrongly, we have wasted our day. It is called day sorely spent. So behave properly and make our day fruitful.

(ii) As you close your eyes in slumber do you think that God would say, ‘You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today?’

Elaborate the idea expressed in these lines.


The poet suggests that everyone should do such good work that God would allot one more day to live. As per the poet’s view, God gives future life only to those who do something good in their life. He wants to encourage all for doing fruitful and worthy work.

(iii) The poet suggests that one should do good to others. Complete the table by giving examples of doing good to following people.

Family membersFriends     Neighbours


Family membersFriends     Neighbours
Assist in needHelp in difficult situationKeep loving relationship
Help in daily workIncrease confidenceGive co-operation
Give companyWork togetherHelp in need
Deal with problemsHelp in studyKeep area clean
Take care of old personsShare study material and other needy thingsCelebrate festivals, assist in work


i) Pick out the describing words from the poem and add a noun of your own.  One  is  done  for  you.

(Toiling) time


Describing wordNoun

ii) Match the words given in ‘column A’ with their meaning in ‘column B’.     

1) Cheerfula) with the feeling of disappointment
2) Selfish             b) lack of satisfaction
3) Sorely             c) happy
4) Discontent     d) concerned with one’s own pleasure


1) Cheerful         c) happy
2) Selfish   d) concerned with one’s own pleasure
3) Sorely   A) with the feeling of disappointment
4) Discontent     b) lack of satisfaction

iii) There are a few examples of homonyms in the poem.

e.g. ‘spoke’.

List homonyms from the poem and give their meanings.


Homonyms – a word that is spelt and pronounced like another word but that has a different meaning.

दुसऱ्या एखाद्या शब्दासारखाच उच्चारला जाणारा पण अर्थामध्ये फरक असणारा शब्द म्हणजे होमोनिम्स होय.

See homonyms from the poem-


1) To be successful in examination

2) Left behind


1) work

2) A legal document


1) Use carelessly

2) Discarded material


1)Oneofthe pieces

2) A role or character in a play or film 

iv) Find out expressions/phrases which denote, ‘going away’, from each stanza.


Stanza 1:

1) is almost over 

2) passed his way

3) is almost over

Stanza 2:

1) vanish in the throng

2) rushed along

Stanza 3:

1) were fading now

2) slipping fast

3) parting with

4) passed


(i)The poet has used different poetic devices like Alliteration and Interrogation in the poem. Identify them and pick out the lines.


Poetic DeviceLines
Alliteration1) Were you selfish pure and simple as you rushed along the way’  
2) As you close your eyes in slumber do you think that God would say’,
 (The sounds ‘s’ and ‘sh’ are repeated in both lines.)
Interrogation1) Is anybody happier because you passed his way?  
2) Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?  
3) Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?  
4) Did you give a cheerful greeting to the friend who came along?  
5) Or a churlish sort of “Howdy” and then vanish in the throng?  
6) Or is someone mighty grateful for a deed you did today?  
7) Can you say tonight, in parting with the days that’s slipping fast, That you helped a single brother of the many that you passed?  
8) Does a man whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?  
(The poet has asked questions to emphasize a point and make the reader think.)
SynecdocheIs a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said.  
The word heart – a part – refers to a whole or the person who is rejoicing.
Rhyme Schemea a b b
Transferred Epithet1) This day is almost over, and its toiling time is through.
(The adjective ‘toiling’ is transferred from person to time.)  
2) Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?
(The adjective ‘kindly’ is transferred from person to word.)  
3) Did you give a cheerful greeting to the friend who came along?
(The adjective ‘cheerful’ is transferred from person to greeting.)
Antithesis1) Did you give a cheerful greeting to the friend who came along? Or a churlish sort of “Howdy” and then vanish in the throng? (Opposite ideas are expressed in ‘cheerful greeting’ and ‘churlish sort of “Howdy’’..’)  
2) Does man a whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead? (Opposite ideas are expressed in ‘hopes were fading’ and ‘courage look ahead’.)

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See activities on the poem and their model answers in –




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