On the Same Page (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "On the Same Page"?

The term "to be on the same page" means to think in the same way or to have equal knowledge.
On the Same Page (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • Before we start the meeting, I'd like to ensure we're all on the same page.
  • We all need to be on the same page, so read the notes before the interview.
  • Do not talk to the quests. Do not look at the princesses. Do not ask for autographs. Are we on the same page?
It is difficult to track the origin of "on the same page" because the words are also common in their non-idiomatic meaning. In other words, many things are literally "on the same page" and are described as such. It is probable that the idiomatic meaning originates from choirs or orchestras, where all members are required to be reading the same piece of sheet music.

The term features in lots of published articles since the 1800s (evidence), but it most likely came into common use with its idiomatic meaning in the late 20th century.

Here is a real-life example of the idiom from 1974 that featured in the California-based newspaper "The Corona Daily Independent":
  • "I think we can beat Washington and whichever team we play next to get into the Super Bowl. If 47 players and our coaches are all on the same page, we can do it."

Competing Theory

"On the same page" originates from schools, where tutors require all students to be on the same page before starting the lesson.

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See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs

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