Lesson 9: What day is it today?

今天是星期几? Jīntiān shì xīngqí jǐ?


When we are saying the days of the week in Chinese, we use the Chinese word 星期 plus a number. Below are the days of the week in Simplified Chinese and Pinyin.


Monday                                   星期一                                    Xīngqí yī

Tuesday                                   星期二                                    Xīngqí èr

Wednesday                 星期三                                    Xīngqí sān

Thursday                     星期四                                    Xīngqí sì

Friday                          星期五                                    Xīngqí wǔ

Saturday                      星期六                                    Xīngqí liù

Sunday                                    星期日/星期天                       Xīngqí rì / Xīngqí tiān

Weekend                     周末                            Zhōumò


When we want to say the days, we use the Chinese word 天. For example,


Today                                      今天                Jīntiān

Tomorrow                                明天                Míngtiān

Day after tomorrow                后天                Hòutiān

Yesterday                                昨天                Zuótiān

The day before yesterday                   前天                Qiántiān


What about year then? Well, you need to use the word 年 nián and the rest is similar to days except for last year. For last year, you do not say 昨年 but you must say去年Qùnián.


Now let’s test your understanding of telling the days or year or even night. How do you say tonight in Chinese?? The Chinese word for night is 晚 Wǎn. So tonight should be?

If you say 今晚 Jīnwǎn, then you are absolutely correct. The way you explain night is the same as days. However, day after tomorrow night and yesterday evening, we normally say 后天的晚上 Hòutiān de wǎnshàng and 前天的晚上 Qiántiān de wǎnshàng.


Now that we know how to say days, years and weeks in Chinese, we shall begin our dialogue for this lesson.

Zhang Yun:     Were you out last night?

Wang Li:         Yes, I went out with my family. Were you looking for me?

Zhang Yun:     Yup. I wanted to know whether you are free this Sunday.

Wang Yun:      This Sunday? Anything special that day?

Zhang Yun:     Well, it’s my birthday and I wanted to celebrate with you.

Wang Li:         I should be free that day. Oh no, what day is it today?

Zhang Yun:     Today? It’s Friday. Why?

Wang Li:         Oh no.. I have a lunch date with my older sister today.

Zhang Yun:     You had better leave now .

Wang Li:         Ok. I will call you later.


张云:            你昨晚出去了吗?

王丽:       是的。我和家人出去了。你找我了吗?

张云:       是啊。我想知道这个星期天你是否有空。

王丽:       这个星期天?那天是什么特别的日子吗?

张云:       嗯,那天是我生日。我想和你一起庆祝。

王丽:       我那天应该有空。对了,今天星期几?

张云:       今天?星期五。怎么了?

王丽:       糟了,我今天跟姐姐有约会。

张云:       那你快去吧

王丽:       好的。我得会儿再联络你。


Zhāng yún:      Nǐ zuó wǎn chū qù le ma?

Wáng lì:           Shì de. Wǒ hé jiārén chū qù le. Nǐ zhǎo wǒ le ma?

Zhāng yún:      Shì a. Wǒ xiǎng zhīdào zhè ge xīngqí tiān nǐ shì fǒu yǒu kòng.

Wáng lì:           Zhè ge xīngqí tiān ? Nèi tiān shì shén me tèbié de rìzi ma?

Zhāng yún:      Ń, nèi tiān shì wǒ shēngrì. Wǒ xiǎng hé nǐ yī qǐ qìngzhù.

Wáng lì:           Wǒ nèi tiān yìng gāi yǒu kòng. Duì le, jīntiān xīngqí jǐ?

Zhāng yún:      Jīntiān? Xīngqí wǔ. Zěn me le?

Wáng lì:           Zāo le, wǒ jīntiān gēn jiejie yǒu yuēhuì.

Zhāng yún:      Nà nǐ kuài qù ba

Wáng lì:           Hǎo de. Wǒ de huìr zài liánluò nǐ.


The 2 expressions we would like to highlight in this lesson are  对了 and 糟了. The phrase对了 is made up of 2 syllables 对 and 了. 对 means correct and了 means different things in different situations, as explained in lesson 5. In the dialogue above, Zhang Yun was talking about her birthday this Sunday and Wang Li suddenly changed to ask what day it is. In this case, 对了 can mean by the way in this situation.


糟 means bad or terrible in English. When you add 糟 with 了 it gives the feeling that something bad is going to happen. Well, it might be the case for Wang Li as she has forgotten her date with her older sister. That is why, she exclaimed 糟了. You can use this expression the next time you have forgotten an important date or you have forgotten to do a chore for someone. But we hope the same situation will not happen to you.


We hope you have learned much from this lesson. See you again soon for our next lesson on how to tell the time.