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I also see both in different examples.

As in :

今日は暑い。

本日はおめでとうございます。

Both are translated as "Today", but when and how should I use either one?

Can we say : 本日はあつい。 And 今日はおめでとうございます。?

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2  
「本日はあつい」 sounds quite strange to me. In my mind, 本日 is a word used in formal situations, e.g. messages from a company to its customers – say, 「本日ご来店ありがとうございます」... –  Zhen Lin Jul 30 '12 at 4:59
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Yeah but I think we normally say 本日「は」、ご来店(誠に)ありがとうございます or 本日「の」ご来店、誠にありがとうございます. –  Chocolate Aug 19 '12 at 5:58
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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

本日 is keigo. You will hear this on a train or airplane, or in a store. But you won't be saying it yourself, unless if you as a beginning student are put in the unlikely position of making an official announcement to someone.

今日 is what you would use in ordinary situations.

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Oh, I see. But that means that actually both 今日はおめでとうございます and 本日はおめでとうございます work fine ? –  BabyAzerty Jul 30 '12 at 5:11
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The first sentence of your answer is misleading: 本日 is formal, but is not a keigo (unless you count all formal words as keigo). The rest is good. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jul 30 '12 at 12:58
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@BabyAzerty I'd say 本日はおめでとうございます rather than 今日はおめでとうございます. (because 本日 and ございます both sound formal but 今日 doesn't) –  Chocolate Aug 19 '12 at 5:56
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Although 本日 will usually be too formal for most situations, there are many cases where you would use it over 今日 (with slightly different nuances).

Typically when referring to something tied to the day's date:

本日の魚 (in a restaurant)

本日の会議 (in a professional context)

etc.

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