“On The Day” vs. “In The Day” vs. “During The Day”

When you’re talking about something, and you want to say that it occurred on a specific day, would you say it happened “on the day”? Or “in the day”? What about “during the day”? Are they all interchangeable or do they mean different things? This article will answer these questions.

Is It “On The Day”, “In The Day”, or “During The Day”?

“On the day”, “in the day” and “during the day” are all valid phrases, and they’re all used for different things. “On the day” emphasizes that day as a unique date, “in the day” emphasizes the daytime as opposed to nighttime, “during the day” emphasizes the whole day.

On The Day vs. In The Day vs. During The Day

All three of these phrases see regular use. “On the day” sees a lot of use for being the “default” way to refer to a specific day, and make it stand out from other days.

“In the day” emphasizes the daytime itself, implicitly creating a contrast against other periods of the day, such as the nighttime, and is therefore useful for different reasons than “on that day”.

Finally, “during the day” implies that something happened throughout the whole day as opposed to just a portion of it.

Evidently, though these phrases all refer to time and day, they are not interchangeable, as their uses are all fairly different.

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What Does “On The Day” Mean?

“On the day” is a phrase that is specifically used to distinguish one day from other days. When you say “on the day”, you’re emphasizing the fact that whatever events occurred happened on that specific day. When you say “on the day”, the day in question matters.

Using “on the day” is very valuable for moments in which you have to emphasize the fact that a specific action or event took place on one particular day.

The “on” preposition is generally used to refer to objects that are on top of surfaces or other objects, and in this case it’s used to specify the day.

Here are a few example sentences that showcase how to use “on the day” in a sentence:

  1. On the day that she was born, I was feeling really dizzy and confused.
  2. On the day that my dad left the country, we were anxiously awaiting him in the airport.
  3. On the day that Michael Jackson passed away, I stubbed my toe.
  4. On the day that me and my wife got married, we almost got into a car accident.
  5. On the day that the protest was due, all of the TV coverage was focused on a parade, instead.
  6. On the day that we went back to classes, I noticed that the teacher had quit the school.
  7. On the day that we turned in our journalism thesis, we went out drinking at night.

What Does “In The Day” Mean?

“In the day” is an expression that is used to emphasize that something, an action or an event, took place during the daytime as opposed to the nighttime. The connotation when you say “in the day” is that you’re contrasting it with the nighttime.

Therefore, “in the day” is a very useful phrase, because rather than talking about how something took place on a specific day, it’s used to specify the moment that the event took place in.

Here are some example sentences that will teach you how to use “in the day” in a sentence:

  1. In the day I was doing my laundry, taking advantage of the sun to dry my clothes.
  2. In the day I usually work in the morning, have lunch, and then work some more.
  3. In the day I was working on this ten page essay that is due for tomorrow, and I finished it.
  4. In the day I was doing the dishes, which was a lot of hard work because we had a lot of them.
  5. In the day I realized that I had to completely alter the way I was approaching the project.
  6. In the day I went to university, had a couple of morning classes, and then returned home.
  7. In the day I was actively cleaning my apartment from top to bottom until I got tired.

What Does “During The Day” Mean?

“During the day” is a particularly useful phrase that is used to talk about things that happened during a specific period of time on a given day. The preposition “during” is used here to emphasize the fact that the events occurred throughout the entire day.

When you use “during the day”, you’re implying that a specific action or event occurred slowly throughout the whole day, progressing hour by hour for an extended period of time.

Here are a few example sentences that will show you how to use “during the day” in a sentence:

  1. During the day I worked on all of the assignments that I still hadn’t completed for college.
  2. During the day I retooled my entire file storage system and deleted a lot of archives.
  3. During the day I ironed all of my shirts and cleaned my fancy shoes for the party.
  4. During the day I vacuumed all of the rooms in my house, from the kitchen to the bathroom.
  5. During the day I dusted all of the small drawers in every room that I hadn’t cleaned in a while.
  6. During the day I cooked all of the lunches that we’ll be eating this upcoming week.
  7. During the day she prepared all of the decorations for every room that the party would have.

Which Phrase Is Used The Most?

According to information provided by the Google Ngram Viewer, “on the day” is more popular than both “in the day” and “during the day”, though nowadays the difference in popularity is the smallest it’s ever been.

On The Day vs. In The Day vs. During The Day english usage

The information showcases the fact that “on the day” has always been the most popular phrase, but “in the day” and “during the day” have switched the spot of second place since 2014.

Final Thoughts

“On the day”, “in the day” and “during the day” are all completely valid expressions used to refer to different aspects of time”. “On” is used for the specific day”, “in” is used to express the daytime, and “during” is used for something that took most of the day.