What are the days of the week in English?

A guide to the days of the week in English – including origins, spellings and tips.

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Can you name the seven English days of the week? Imagine that you’ve just met a new friend. Excited to practise your English, you trade numbers and make a plan to meet up at a coffee shop next week. You arrive at the right time, but your friend doesn’t show up. What happened?

You’ve come on the wrong day.

To make social plans or meet important dates for work or school, you need to know the days of the week in English. It’s important to learn the names for the days, but also how to use them in conversation to avoid any confusion.

Introducing the English days of the week

Weekdays Abbreviation Phonetics
Monday Mon. MUHN-day
Tuesday Tues. TYOOZ-day
Wednesday Wed. WENDZ-day
Thursday Thurs. THURZ-day
Friday Fri. FRY-day
Weekend Abbreviation Phonetic
Saturday Sat. SAT-uhr-day
Sunday Sun. SUHN-day
Related day words Meaning
Today This present day
Yesterday The day before today
Tomorrow The day after today

Your most pressing questions, answered

How did we get 7 days in a week?

English-speaking countries follow a seven-day week, originating from Jewish and Babylonian calendars.

Weeks are broken into two parts. It’s easy to get confused between days of the week and weekdays. Weekdays are the five days that people traditionally go to work at offices—you’ll also hear people call this “during the week”.

A little confusing, right? The weekend – Saturday and Sunday – are the days for rest and recreation.

What is the first day of the week in English?

Historically, Sunday is the first day of the week in English. However, many also accept Monday as the first day as it marks the start of the work week.

This can also vary by country. For example, the UK and US begin the week on Monday while Israel begins on Sunday.

What is the best way to remember the days the week?

The best way to remember the English days of the week is to associate them with what they're named after. Name origins from English days of the week come from Roman, Norse, and Anglo-Saxon mythology.

Sunday

Origin: Sunday is named after the sun.

Did you know this? Sunday is Christianity’s holy day of rest and worship, established as the first day of the week by Roman Emperor Constantine I in 321 A.D. Even today, some restaurants and businesses close on Sundays.

Monday

Origin: Monday is named after the moon just like in other Romance languages (lundi, lunes). The similar sounds of “Mon-” and “moon” make it easy to remember.

Did you know this? You might have heard the English expression, “a case of the Mondays”. This comes from the 1999 movie “Office Space” and refers to a bad mood brought on by the start of the work week. It’s not how you want to start your week!

Tuesday

Origin: Tuesday is named after Tiu, the Anglo-Saxon name of Tyr, Norse god of war. Tyr is one of the sons of Odin and is also known as Mars in Roman mythology.

Did you know this? Tuesday has a wide variation of pronunciation depending on the area where you live. Some dialects pronounce this “TOOS-day” while others pronounce it “TYOOZ-dee”.

Wednesday

Origin: Wednesday is named after Odin, also known as Woden or Wotan. Odin is known for ruling with a spear and is famous for giving one of his eyes in exchange for wisdom.

Did you know this? Wednesday is nicknamed “hump day” because it’s the middle of the work week that can be difficult to get over, like the top of a hill. You’re at the summit, it’s all downhill from here!

Thursday

Origin: The name Thursday comes from Thor’s Day. Thor, God of Thunder, is also a son of Odin and known for using a powerful hammer in battle.

Did you know this? “Throwback Thursday” is a social media trend of people posting old photos of themselves on Thursdays. You’ll also sometimes see bars and restaurants offer weekly drink specials on Thursdays, called “Thirsty Thursdays.” Getting closer to the weekend!

Friday

Origin: Friday is named after Frigg, the wife of Odin. Frigg represents beauty, love, and the earth in Norse mythology and is also known as Venus.

Did you know this? Friday 13, a Friday that falls on the 13th day of the month, is considered unlucky. You’ve already had a long week already, let’s hope you don’t have any bad luck today!

Saturday

Origin: Saturday is named after Saturn, the Roman god and planet with rings.

Did you know this? Saturday is often considered the seventh day of the week, originating from Judaism’s Sabbath, as the final day and day of rest in the week. Think of it like this: you made it through the week, so Saturday is for treating yourself!

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Using English days of the week in a sentence: 3 top tips

While many languages ask, “What day are we?”, in English we ask, “What day is it?” or “What day is today?”. When responding, you should say, “It’s Monday” or, “Today is Monday”, instead of “We are Monday”. Here are some other tips to help you use the days of the week correctly in English.

1. They are always capitalised

Days of the week are proper nouns and should always be spelled with capital letters in English. For instance, write “Saturday”, instead of “saturday”.

2. They rarely require articles

While some languages use an article before days of the week, in English you rarely use articles before days in English. There are a few exceptions. You can use the article “the” to emphasise a particular date, such as “the Sunday before last”, or the article “a” to mean a general date, such as “a Monday in June”.

3. Learn the meanings of these helpful phrases

To avoid confusion, there are some phrases worth understanding – and learning.

This Tuesday…

“This Tuesday” means the immediate next Tuesday.

Last Tuesday…

“This Tuesday” means the immediate past Tuesday.

On Tuesday…

Saying “on Tuesday” could mean the immediate past Tuesday or the immediate next Tuesday. You will need to look at the context and sentence tense for clues.

On Tuesdays…

By adding an 's' to make the day plural, you change the meaning from just one Tuesday to every Tuesday.

For example:

“On Tuesdays, I make my weekly trip to the library.” You can also say “each Tuesday” or “every Tuesday” for the same meaning.

Here’s a rule some native English speakers struggle with…

It’s a common mistake to add an apostrophe when making a day of the week plural.

Incorrect example: Wednesday’s

Correct example: Wednesdays

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