Day in day out: phrases with ‘day’

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by Liz Walter

Back in March, I wrote a post about phrases containing the word ‘time’: Today, I’m going to look at another set of phrases connected with time, all of which contain the word ‘day’.

I’ll start with phrases connected with talking about the past. For something that happened within approximately the last week, it is common to say the other day: I had coffee with Bea the other day. To talk about a period further back in history, we often say in those days: In those days we only had black and white TV. When we are talking about something we enjoyed in the past, we sometimes say Those were the days!: We children were allowed to run free in the countryside. Ah, those were the days!

To talk about the present, we often use the phrase these days: Most people book online these days. We also use in this day and age to talk about the present, often to express annoyance when you think that something or someone should be more modern: Nobody should be without clean water in this day and age. We use to this day to emphasize that something is still true or still happening: To this day, she refuses to talk about the incident.

There are also a couple of ‘day’ phrases for talking about the future. If we say that something will happen any day now, we mean that it will happen very soon: The baby is due any day now. We use one of these days to talk about something we believe will happen in the future, especially to give a warning: One of these days you’re going to cause a serious accident. Conversely, we use the sarcastic phrase That’ll be the day! to show that we do not believe that something will happen: My brother offering to cook a meal? That’ll be the day!

There are many other phrases with ‘day’, and I will finish with a few of the most useful ones. We say that something happens day in day out when we want to emphasize that it never stops and is very annoying or boring: I had to listen to people complaining, day in day out. If we say that someone or something’s days are numbered, we mean that they will not exist much longer: His days as president are numbered. If something has had its day, it is much less popular than it used to be and is likely to disappear: Some people think that print journalism has had its day.

Finally, I hope that reading this post has made your day (made you feel happy)!

47 thoughts on “Day in day out: phrases with ‘day’

  1. Dr. Farman Ali

    Call it a day: When you work hard and accomplish considerable portion (if not all) and want to stop work to go home, you say, “let us call it a day”.
    You want to sell your house for $500K but the Realter say the maximum it will fetch $460K and I suggest take this amount and ” call it a day”
    Dr. Farman Ali

    1. Jesse

      Ever thought about the relavance of of songs that come floating into your heads folks? Mine way back when was: “I’ll give you a daisy a day dear”…relates to calamine! (Happens all the time now).

  2. Edouard

    As a french speaker, I don’t even need to look them in a (french) dictionary thanks to the clear explanations. Cheers.

  3. Bablu Kumar

    Hii there…!!! Thanks alot. It really made my day. I hope you will come up with more such words to enhance our spoken along with written English. Thanks!

  4. Maryem Salama

    Thank you Kate, your amazing post inspired me to write this:
    I invited myself to a cup of black coffee in my bed the other day. I felt very lonely and depressed, but the coffee and the image of my mother in my mind made my day. I used to shut myself away in my room for hours on end till my mother came and gave me a candy only for me. In those days a generous giving was a way to open a heart of a lonely child. I was the indulgent princess in her kingdom. Ah, those were the days. To this day my reminiscences with her create gardens of love and forgiveness. You say: my husband does the same motherly kindness any day now! I say that’ll be the day!! Alas
    Wake up! My days as a princess are numbered. Yea

    1. Liz Walter

      Wonderful, thank you! (It’s Liz, not Kate, but don’t worry, people often get us muddled up, and you should definitely read Kate’s posts too – they’re fab!)

      1. Maryem Salama

        Sorry! I should never mix you up with Kate as I know you both very well and read you both with great passion. Please, if there is a way to correct my mistake show me. Thank you, my dear Liz…

  5. Dr. S. Benjamin Christopher

    One of the most useful pieces of information on phrases , very much useful to the students.


      Thanks Liz for regular posts which without a doubt enables Us to better our written and spoken English skills.

  6. Ary

    I would add the expression ‘every other day’ because for Portuguese speakers it is usually confused with ‘day in day out’. The sun rises for all being day in day out on the surface of Earth, but I usually get to see the spectacle every other day. Thank you, Liz.

    1. I often hear the phrase “back in the day.” I find it annoying, mainly because I hear it from younger persons who refer to times in the fairly recent past as though those times were centuries ago. Example: “Back in the day, I had to send text messages on a flip phone.”

  7. Antonios

    Thank you Liz. As usual, presenting materials and good examples for us students, so that we can hone our speaking and listening skills. Many thanks.

    1. Liz Walter

      Yes, good phrase, though the spelling is ‘heyday’ – something or someone’s heyday is the time when they were the most popular or successful.

  8. joey

    what a difference a day makes 24 little hours…. Etta James….that is a song more than a saying .but I could not resist.

  9. Svetlana

    Thanks so much ! I really loved the article! I’m sure it’ll help my students to remember those tricky collocations💪💪💪👍👍👍

  10. soumaya

    thank you very much, it’s a great pleasure for me to read your articles and lessons, you encourage me to love english language more and more .

    1. Liz Walter

      Dog days are the hottest days of summer. I can’t think of any other animal idioms with day, but perhaps another reader will?

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