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Days of the Week

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Days of the Week

Welcome back! So, you can talk about today, tomorrow, this evening, yesterday afternoon... What about next week? Or last Tuesday? That’s what we’ll focus on in this lesson. When you’re all done, you’ll be able to:

  • List the days of the week
  • Talk about time in the near future or recent past
Flash Cards - Vocabulary
Flash Cards - Vocabulary
Complete Lesson (PDF)
Printable PDF version of this lesson
  

Days of the Week
Vocabulary:

Be sure to spend time studying the roots of the character, its composition and making associations so you can easily remember it. Our printable flash cards allow you to study offline - we highly recommend you spend time each day practicing with the flash cards.

星期 ( xīng qī ): week
Radicals: 日 (sun, day) and 月 (moon, month)
Sub-Word : 星 - a star, planet, any point of light
期 - period of time, date, time limit
Phonetic: 其 (qí)
Components for 1st Character: 日 (sun, day) and 生 (give birth to, to be born, life)
Components for 2nd Character: 其 (his/her/it/there/that) and 月 (moon)
While 星期 can be used to talk about "one week" (一个星期), it's also used when describing each of the 7 days of the week.
Memorization Hint: Where days are measured by the sun, and months by the moon, weeks can be measured by a combination of the sun and moon.

周末 ( zhōu mò ): weekend
Radicals: 口 (mouth) and 木 (tree)
Sub-Word : 周 - circumference, surrounding
末 - final, end, insignificant
Phonetic: 木 (mù)
Components for 1st Character: 冂 (display case), 土 (soil) and 口 (mouth)
Components for 2nd Character: 木 (tree) and 一 (one)
You can talk about "this weekend" by saying 这个周末. Occasionally 个 is omitted from this sentence, but it's still understood. It's best to first practice using the measure word consistently and later you’ll get a feel for when it can be dropped.
Memorization Hint: Well, we certainly all look forward to our weekends as a welcome "finale"!

星期一 ( xīng qī yī ): Monday
Radicals: 日 (sun, day) and 月 (moon, month) and 一 (one)
Sub-Word : 星 - a star, planet, any point of light
期 - period of time, date, time limit
一 - one
Components for 1st Character: 日 (day) and 生 (give birth to)
Components for 2nd Character: 其 (his/her/it/there/that) and 月 (moon)
Components for 3rd Character: 一 (one)
Previously, days of the week in Chinese were indicated according to the elements and astrology. In modern China, however, the days are a bit simpler to remember if you’re not familiar with the previous system. Even though "week one" means Monday, the Western system of considering Sunday the first day of the week is commonly used today in China.
Memorization Hint: Think of Monday as the first day of the work week. When you see 星期 and 一 you'll remember this means Monday.

星期二 ( xīng qī èr ): Tuesday
Radicals: 日 (sun, day) and 月 (moon, month) and 一 (one)
Sub-Word : 星 - a star, planet, any point of light
期 - period of time, date, time limit
二 - two
Components for 1st Character: 日 (day) and 生 (give birth to)
Components for 2nd Character: 其 (his/her/it/there/that) and 月 (moon)
Components for 3rd Character: 一 (one)
Memorization Hint: Think of Tuesday as the second day of the work week. When you see 星期 and 二 you’ll remember this means Tuesday.

星期三 ( xīng qī sān ): Wednesday
Radicals: 日 (sun, day) and 月 (moon, month) and 一 (one)
Sub-Word : 星 - a star, planet, any point of light
期 - period of time, date, time limit
三 - three
Components for 1st Character: 日 (day) and 生 (give birth to)
Components for 2nd Character: 其 (his/her/it/there/that) and 月 (moon)
Components for 3rd Character: 一 (one) and 二 (two)
Memorization Hint: Think of Wednesday as the third day of the work week. When you see 星期 and 三 you’ll remember this means Wednesday.

星期四 ( xīng qī sì ): Thursday
Radicals: 日 (sun, day) and 月 (moon, month) and 口 (mouth)
Sub-Word : 星 - a star, planet, any point of light
期 - period of time, date, time limit
四 - four
Components for 1st Character: 日 (day) and 生 (give birth to)
Components for 2nd Character: 其 (his/her/it/there/that) and 月 (moon)
Components for 3rd Character: 口 (mouth) and 儿 (son)
Memorization Hint: Think of Thursday as the fourth day of the work week. When you see 星期 and 四 you’ll remember this means Thursday.

星期五 ( xīng qī wǔ ): Friday
Radicals: 日 (sun, day) and 月 (moon, month) and 二 (two)
Sub-Word : 星 - a star, planet, any point of light
期 - period of time, date, time limit
五 - five
Components for 1st Character: 日 (day) and 生 (give birth to)
Components for 2nd Character: 其 (his/her/it/there/that) and 月 (moon)
Components for 3rd Character: 二 (two), 一 (one) and 丨 (vertical)
Memorization Hint: Think of Friday as the fifth day of the work week. When you see 星期 and 五 you’ll remember this means Friday.

星期六 ( xīng qī liù ): Saturday
Radicals: 日 (sun, day) and 月 (moon, month) and 八 (eight)
Sub-Word : 星 - a star, planet, any point of light
期 - period of time, date, time limit
六 - six
Components for 1st Character: 日 (day) and 生 (give birth to)
Components for 2nd Character: 其 (his/her/it/there/that) and 月 (moon)
Components for 3rd Character: 八 (eight) and 亠 (head)
Memorization Hint: Think of Saturday as the day that follows Friday. When you see 星期 and 六 you’ll remember this means Saturday.

星期天/星期日 ( xīng qī tiān/xīng qī rì ): Sunday
Radicals: 日 (sun, day) and 月 (moon, month) and 大 (big) / 日 (sun)
Sub-Word : 星 - a star, planet, any point of light
期 - period of time, date, time limit
天/日 - day, sky, heaven / day, sun
Components for 1st Character: 日 (day) and 生 (give birth to)
Components for 2nd Character: 其 (his/her/it/there/that) and 月 (moon)
Components for 3rd Character: 一 (one) and 大(big) / 日 (sun)
Both 天 and 日 can mean "day", but their usage is slightly different. However, here 星期天 and 星期日 have the same meaning: Sunday. Either can be used for any situation, but 星期天 is more commonly used in spoken conversation.
Memorization Hint: The "sun" rises in the "sky" to begin every week — remember these words mean Sunday!

时候 ( shí hou ): time, period
Radicals: 日 (sun) and 人 (person)
Sub-Word : 时 - time, era
侯 - wait, expect
Components for 1st Character: 日 (sun), 寸 (an inch)
Components for 2nd Character: 矢 (arrow, dart), 丿 (slash), 一 (one) and 丨 (vertical)
We’ll focus on one of the uses for 时候 in this lesson. Preceded by 什么 ("what", Lesson 3), we can ask when something happens. For example, 你什么时候会看你的爸爸? (When will you see your dad?), or 你什么时候看了你的哥哥?(When did you visit your brother?)
Memorization Hint: 时 uses the 日 (sun) radical. The sun helps us to keep track of time throughout the day, as it moves, inch by inch. Remember when you see 日 (sun) and 寸 (an inch) together that the word is related to time.

Discussion:

Let's take some time here to understand verbs and tense a bit more clearly. Consider a simple sentence to begin: 我看我的哥哥. You may have noticed already that verbs don’t get conjugated in Chinese, so it's not clear from this sentence alone whether I am visiting my brother, or I visited my brother, or I will visit my brother. This is where time words can be helpful.

We already know that to talk about the future, we can insert 会 before the verb. In this case, it acts as an auxiliary, or helping verb. The sentence becomes 我会看我的哥哥. Now, if we want to make it even more specific and say exactly when, we can add a time word. How about Wednesday? 星期三我会看我的哥哥. (I will visit my brother on Wednesday) Remember to place the time word before or after the subject.

Now, what if you already visited your brother? You know that it's important to use 了 to show that an action is completed. So, you can specify this by saying, 星期三我看了我的哥哥. By inserting 了 after the verb we know the action has been completed and can, therefore, infer that Wednesday has past in this particular situation.

我看我的哥哥 by itself can generally mean that this action is happening right now. For now, we'll use this pattern to indicate present tense. In later lessons we'll show you how to say more specifically that something is occurring right this instant.

So, you want to ask someone else when something will happen or did happen? Using 什么时候 is the simplest way to do this. Even though the literal translation of this phrase is "what time" or "what period of time", it’s important to realize that 什么时候 is a very general question and does not ask about a specific moment down to the minute.

Speaking of minutes... You’ve been breezing through these lessons! Take some time to understand the grammar note below and then get started on memorizing those flash cards!



Grammar:

Asking and Answering "When?"

  • 上 can be used to reference last week. Since you’re talking about a specific week, you must use the measure word 个: 上个星期 (last week).
  • 下 can be used the same way as 上, but to indicate next week: 下个星期 (next week).
  • These phrases follow the same general rules as other time words and are place before or after the subject.
Vocabulary Review:
  1. 星期 xīng qī week
  2. 周末 zhōu mò weekend
  3. 星期一 xīng qī yī Monday
  4. 星期二 xīng qī èr Tuesday
  5. 星期三 xīng qī sān Wednesday
  6. 星期四 xīng qī sì Thursday
  7. 星期五 xīng qī wǔ Friday
  8. 星期六 xīng qī liù Saturday
  9. 星期天/星期日 xīng qī tiān/xīng qī rì Sunday
  10. 时候 shí hou time, period
Dialog:
Dinner has come to a close and Linda is trying to schedule her first business meeting with Ms. Zhang. She’s become a little unclear of the days because of the time change.
Linda: 
 今天是星期五, ―
 Jīn tiān shì xīng qī wǔ, ―
 Today’s Friday, –
  
Ms. Zhang: 
 不是, 今天是星期天.
 Bú shì, jīn tiān shì xīng qī tiān.
 No, today’s Sunday.
  
  
Linda: 
 星期日吗? 是周末吗? 明天好吗?
 Xīng qī rì ma? Shì zhōu mò ma? Míng tiān hǎo ma?
 Today’s Sunday? It’s the weekend? How’s tomorrow?
  
Ms. Zhang: 
 不好, 星期一我会看我的妈妈.
 Bù hǎo, xīng qī yī wŏ huì kàn wŏ de mā ma.
 Not good, Monday I’ll visit my mother.
  
  
Linda: 
 好... 什么时候?
 Hǎo… shěn me shí hou?
 Okay… when?
  
Ms. Zhang: 
 星期三好不好?
 Xīng qī sān hǎo bù hǎo?
 Is Wednesday good?
  
  
Linda: 
 不好. 星期二, 星期三, 星期四, 我会看一个朋友.
 Bù hǎo. Xīng qī èr, xīng qī sān, xīng qī sì, wŏ huì kàn yí gè péng yǒu.
 No. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I’ll visit my friend.
  
Ms. Zhang: 
 星期六呢?
 Xīng qī liù ne?
 How about Saturday?
  
  
Linda: 
 好!
 Hǎo!
 Yes!
  
Jim: 
 不好! 星期六, 我们会看我的家人!
 Bù hǎo! Xīng qī liù, wŏ mén huì kàn wŏ de jiā rén!
 No! Saturday, we’ll visit my family!
  
Fill in the Blank:

明天是______. (Monday)
Míng tiān shì ______.
Tomorrow is Monday.

下个______我会看我的家人. (Thursday)
Xià gè ______ wŏ huì kàn wŏ de jiā rén.
Next Thursday I will visit my family.

你______看了你的朋友?(when)
Nĭ ______ kàn le nĭ de péng yŏu?
When did you visit your friend?

这个______谁会看你? (Saturday)
Zhè gè ______ shéi huì kàn nĭ?
Who will visit you this Saturday?

今天是______吗? (Friday)
Jīn tiān shì ______ ma?
Is today Friday?

昨天不是______. (Sunday)
Zuó tiān bú shì ______.
Yesterday wasn't Sunday!

这个______你什么时候会看你的姐姐? (weekend)
Zhè gè ______ nĭ shén me shí hou huì kàn nĭ de jiě jie?
When will you visit your sister this weekend?

今天是不是______? (Tuesday)
Jīn tiān shì bú shì ______?
Is today Tuesday?

______是明天吗? (Wednesday)
______ shì míng tiān ma?
Is Wednesday tomorrow?

______ 好吗? (Sunday)
______ hǎo ma?
Is Sunday good?

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