We can use both “day” and “date” to refer to specific points in time. However, the two words are not synonymous. We need to understand the main difference between them before we use them, and this article will talk you through what you need to know.
What Is The Difference Between “Day” And “Date”?
A “day” is a twenty-four-hour period, from one midnight to the next, which we can refer to specifically as a day of the week (Monday) or generally as a day of a month of the year. A “date” is a specific “day,” which also accounts for the month and year.
To help you understand the key difference, this is what a “day” looks like:
- The second day of the week
And this is what a “date” looks like:
- Tuesday, the 16th of June
As you can see, a “date” is always much more specific.
What Does “Day” Mean?
Let’s elaborate on the meanings of the two words. This will help you to really tell them apart when you need to.
A day is a twenty-four-hour period. We can use it generally or specifically to refer to a day that falls in a week, month, or year. Some days have names (like Tuesday), while others can be simply numbered (i.e., “first day of the week”).
It’s up to us whether we want to be specific with our “days” or keep them general.
- Specific: Tuesday next week
- General: The second day of the month
- Specific: Last Saturday
- General: The day that comes after the next delivery
- Specific: In two days
- General: Whatever day works best
As you can see, we can be both specific or general with our choice of days. It mostly depends on the context and how clear we want to be when it comes to discussing the expected day when something will happen.
What Does “Date” Mean?
Now, “date” is much more specific than “day.” We can use it in much less general senses, and it only has one very particular case that works best.
A date is almost a twenty-four-hour period. However, it is a very specific day in the year, and we usually establish which month and year it is whenever we display the date.
There are a few ways we can display a date. Most of the ways we can do this depend on our needs and what we’re trying to display them for.
The most obvious way is to simply write out the date as follows:
- Friday, the 7th of January.
However, this is often very wordy, and many people would opt for one of the following:
- Friday 7 January
- 7 January 2021
Still, though, these examples are wordy. We don’t always have to use the name of the month when we’re trying to write a date. We can actually turn it into a digital format, which is one of the quickest ways to write a date in any form of writing:
- MM/DD/YYYY: 01/07/2021
- DD/MM/YYYY: 07/01/2021
- MM/DD/YY: 01/07/21
There are plenty of ways we can do this. However, a “date” is always kept in this specific timeframe. If we want to talk about another date, we would always change the numbers of the date referenced.
Examples Of How To Use “Day” In A Sentence
It might help you to look through some examples of “day” in sentences. Rather than explaining the days, we can show you what contexts they might appear in.
- Which day did you say you were coming down on?
- The day of my birth isn’t something I am keen to remember!
- The day will come when you can no longer call me by that name! Mark my words.
- There are no more days left before my delivery comes, and yet I haven’t heard anything about it!
- He made sure the days passed as quickly as possible.
- I need this done by Friday. Any other day is wrong.
- You should have that sent to you in about three days.
“Day” or “days” works as a general or specific term. As a word, we mostly use it to try and confirm which day something is supposed to happen. This is effective if we’ve forgotten when we want something to occur or when we want to add it to our diary.
Examples Of How To Use “Date” In A Sentence
“Date” is more specific, and it would help to know how to use it in its own cases.
- Which date did you say your wedding was on?
- Our wedding date has not been set yet, and we’re still looking for the best one.
- My due date is coming up soon, and I can’t wait to see my baby girl.
- The date they’ve got written down here for the meeting is incorrect.
- This isn’t the right date! You actually need to see me on this one.
- My birthdate isn’t anything to write home about.
- You should have been there on the aforementioned date and not a single day before.
“Date” refers to a very specific day in a month or year. Typically, we’ll talk about a date that is already confirmed, meaning we know exactly when it is bound to happen in the year.
Does The Day Or Date Come First In Written English?
Finally, let’s look at how you might be able to write dates in English. Of course, we’ve already touched on this previously, so there isn’t much left to say.
However, there is one key problem that we haven’t touched on yet.
There is a difference between how we write dates depending on whether we use American or British English rules. You might not realize this, but it would help to understand the differences before using them yourself.
- American: MM/DD/YYYY (01/07/2021)
- British: DD/MM/YYYY (07/01/2021)
As you can see, Americans place the month before the day when writing a digital date like above. However, British people will place the day before the month in an effort to start from the smallest value (day) and work up to the largest one (year).
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.