I spoke with someone from Japan on Tandem and she said to me “今日はどんな一日でしたか?” and I’m wondering why 一日 was used since I thought that meant the first of the month?

  • 3
    Have you checked 一日 in the dictionary?
    – Leebo
    Jul 1 '19 at 3:02
  • 1
    @Leebo yes, and all it gave me was “the 1st of the month” from a few different sources Jul 1 '19 at 3:21
  • 4
    Here's a better dictionary. jisho.org/word/%E4%B8%80%E6%97%A5
    – Leebo
    Jul 1 '19 at 3:22
  • @Leebo thanks!! Jul 1 '19 at 4:01

In this case, it would be read as [一日]{いち・にち} which just means "(one) day" as opposed to [一日]{≪ついたち≫} which means first of the month.

My gut says that in this case 一日 is acting like "your day" in particular, trying to evoke your subjective answer of how it was in particular for you. If she had just asked you 「どんな[日]{ひ}でしたか?」, it would sound to me like a more objective question, perhaps wanting to know what the weather was like, or some other "fact" about the day.

Just my ¥2, and they could perhaps even be interchangeable.

  • 1
    thank you! i didn’t realize 日 by itself had more of a general and objective meaning. this is a great response :)) Jul 1 '19 at 4:08
  • 3
    Excellent answer. There are also 一時間, 一晩, 一週間, 一ヶ月 (or 一月{ひとつき}), 一年 etc. that can be used similarly. Jul 1 '19 at 9:36
  • compare French which has journee, soiree, matinee as opposed to jour, soir, matin; the former are spread out in time, the latter are points in time. Jul 7 '19 at 11:50

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