From one day to the next (Phrases with ‘day’, Part 1)

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composite photograph of the Beijing skyline seen at several different times of day and night
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by Kate Woodford

The word ‘day’ features in a lot of commonly used phrases and idioms so I thought I’d take a look at the most useful ones. This post focuses mainly on phrases rather than idioms.

A useful phrase for saying that something will happen very soon, within the next few days, is any day now:

Their baby’s due any day now.

The phrases day and night or night and day are used to emphasize that something happens all the time, without a pause:

The crew worked day and night to complete the building.

Her house is guarded night and day by armed police officers.

Something that increases or decreases, or gets better or worse day by day does so each day, in a way that is noticeable:

Support for the leader is increasing day by day.

The situation in the capital is worsening day by day.

If you do something repetitive or boring day in, day out, you do it every day for a long period of time. This phrase is a more emphatic way of saying day after day:

I just couldn’t imagine working in an office, doing the same job, day in, day out.

This procedure was repeated day after day.

The phrases from one day to the next and from day to day occur in sentences about situations in which there is a lot of change, and nothing is predictable:

You don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next. / Conditions change from one day to the next.

Prices fluctuate from day to day.

In a difficult situation, if you take each day as it comes or take it one day at a time, you deal with things as they happen instead of making plans for or worrying about the future:

He’s very ill so we just take each day as it comes.

The expression to the day is used for saying that something happened on this day in a different year:

It’s six years to the day since she died.

A rather literary way of emphasizing the point at which something significant started is the phrase from that day on/ (UK) onwards / (US) onward:

From that day on, she never spoke a word to him.

A day off is a day when you do not work. Be careful not to confuse it with an off day, which is a day when you are less effective than usual:

He’s not in today – he’s having a day off.

The usually brilliant striker seemed to be having an off day and failed to get a shot on target.

The phrase the big day is used for an important and special day, often the day of a wedding, and if you name the day you announce the date of your wedding:

They’re both busy planning the big day.

They’re engaged but I don’t think they’ve named the day yet.

If you found this post interesting, do look out for Part 2 which will cover current idioms with the word ‘day’.

35 thoughts on “From one day to the next (Phrases with ‘day’, Part 1)

  1. Prsn Jeva

    Thank you very much…cannot you come up with something like a word that has opposite in literal meaning however not so in a situational context…

  2. Archana Iyer

    Hi, sir
    This is very useful knowledge about this topic which has been given by you here in this transcript with writing way .
    Thnx a lot 🙏😊

  3. And when I was younger we said “From that day to this” especially at the end of books or chapters. It conveyed a sweep of the past to the present and future.

    Also “from day one” or “right from day one”.

    Sometimes we want to “start the day right”.

    When it comes to weddings I have also seen “Save the day”.

    Or maybe when we need help from a good Samatarian who has saved the day.

  4. Also – a very Melbourne idiom which occurred to me this late in the day:

    “four seasons in one day”

    Perhaps this may apply in other temperamental and temperate climates.

    Like Toronto or London or the Midwest in the USA.

    Sometimes “late in the day” may be too late

    and “early in the day” / “salad days” may be too early/too young/too unformed.


    Hi there.
    I would like to know the meaning of these statement, ‘if i went to Chile, we would have to go to Argentina as well. I would love to see both

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