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Structure of days of the week

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星期 (xīngqī) means "week" in Chinese. This is also used to indicate which weekday you are talking about.

Structure

Days of the week in Chinese are formed by the word "week" followed by a number:

English Chinese
Monday 星期一Xīngqīyī
Tuesday 星期二Xīngqī'èr
Wednesday 星期三Xīngqīsān
Thursday 星期四Xīngqīsì
Friday 星期五Xīngqīwǔ
Saturday 星期六Xīngqīliù
Sunday 星期天Xīngqītiān

Notice that Sunday is the only exception. Rather than a number, 天 (tiān) is used. More formally, Sunday is also referred to as 星期日 (Xīngqīrì).

One other implication of this system that you may not have noticed: "day one" is Monday. In Chinese culture, the first day of the week is Monday, and not Sunday.

Examples

  • 今天 是 星期一 吗?是 is optionalJīntiān shì Xīngqīyī ma?Is today Monday?
  • 明天 星期五,太 高兴 了。Optional 是 omittedMíngtiān Xīngqīwǔ, tài gāoxìng le.Tomorrow is Friday. I'm so happy.
  • 星期三 我 不在 上海。Xīngqīsān wǒ bù zài Shànghǎi.I'm not here in Shanghai on Wednesday.
  • 星期二 早上 我 很 忙。Xīngqī'èr zǎoshang wǒ hěn máng.I am busy on Tuesday morning.
  • 星期天 要 做 什么?Xīngqītiān yào zuò shénme?What are you doing on Sunday?
  • 上 个 星期五 我 跟 他 见面 了。Shàng gè Xīngqīwǔ wǒ gēn tā jiànmiàn le.I met him last Friday.
  • 这 个 星期三 晚上 你 有空 吗?Zhège Xīngqīsān wǎnshang nǐ yǒu kòng ma?Are you free this Wednesday evening?
  • 下 个 星期四 是 我 的 生日。Xià gè Xīngqīsì shì wǒ de shēngrì.My birthday is on next Thursday.
  • 这个 星期五 晚上 我们 要 去 酒吧。Zhège Xīngqīwǔ wǎnshang wǒmen yào qù jiǔbā.We're going to a bar this Friday night.
  • 星期六星期天 我们 不 上班。 XīngqīliùXīngqītiān wǒmen bù shàngbān.Saturday and Sunday we don't work.

Other Words for "Week"

Hopefully this doesn't freak you out, but there are actually two other ways to say "week" in Chinese. You should still learn 星期 (xīngqī) first, and that's really all you need as a beginner.

The other words for "week" are 礼拜 (lǐbài) and 周 (zhōu). Skip them for now unless you really need them.

See Also

Sources and further reading

Books