send 'em on back

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
Ali and Brandon walk into a barber shop and talk to the staff:
Ali: I'm looking for a psychic by the name of Sister. Um, I heard she works here.
Woman: Hey, Sister! You got customers.
Sister's voice from another room: Well, send 'em on back.
And they proceed into that room across the hall where the barbers work.
What Men Want, film

What does 'on back' specifically mean here? I guess "on" is as in "come on in", and "back" denotes the rear part of the building (opposite to the entrance/front dooe), right?
Thank you.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    You are correct.

    Send them to the rear part of the building. "On" is optional, and doesn't affect the meaning.

    She is in "a back room" of the store. She is "in the back" of the store. They are in the "front room" (the room closest to the entrance from the street).
     

    Streakfunken

    New Member
    UK English
    You are correct.

    Send them to the rear part of the building. "On" is optional, and doesn't affect the meaning.

    She is in "a back room" of the store. She is "in the back" of the store. They are in the "front room" (the room closest to the entrance from the street).
    Hi dojibear. I don't agree that 'on' is optional. If the speaker had said "send 'em back", it could be understood as "send them away". A possible option would be, "send them back here".
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Good point. I didn't think of the "send them away" meaning, but that is possible. "Send them back here" is definitely clearer.

    I think "on" adds another nuance: send them back immediately (I am available: I'm not with another customer).
     
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