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I noticed that each time I get my haircut reservation to the day after the day conversation takes place, I hear the person on the other end changing the way he or she says 明日 from あした to あす or みょうにち, when he or she makes the final confirmation of reservation day. It happens pretty much every time I do the reservation over the phone, while I struggle to remember hearing people using みょうにち in normal life at all.

It sounds like it is done intentionally as it happens every time and not limited to only one particular person, so I think it is either a company guideline or some general rule they are following.

The only possible explanation I can see is that it is done to avoid misunderstanding. I know that 一 and 七, as well as 四月 and 七月 might be mistaken for each other when spoken over the phone and therefore might require clarification by using alternative readings. But using alternative readings for あした baffles me as I can't think of what あした might sound similar to given the context of the conversation.

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I'm not really asking what is the difference between あした and あす、I'm curious why clerk uses あす or みょうにち when confirming a reservation, while in the same conversation he uses あした at earlier points. –  Dmitry Aleks Mar 4 at 14:02

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Your intuition is correct. It is intentionally done for the purpose of double-checking and triple-checking the date.

For "tomorrow", we just have three different readings and we take full advantage of it by using at least two of them in confirming something that is scheduled for the next day. The same is done with "day after tomorrow" as well by using both 「あさって」 and 「みょうごにち」. Point is this practice allows you to utilize both kun-reading and on-reading words in order to avoid any misunderstanding even if someone has an unusual pronunciation.

BTW,「みょうにち」for "tomorrow" and「みょうごにち」for "day after tomorrow" are used exclusively in business conversations. Use them with your friends and you will sound more than just weird.

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