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Day may refer to:

  • the day of the week (e.g., Monday, Tuesday);
  • the day of the month (e.g, 2nd day of February);
  • a unit of time (e.g., this task would take 2 days to complete).

A date on the other hand usually has the month and the year along with the day: the 21st February 2011. It also has a fixed quality I think. I was wondering if there are any other differences between day and date, and when it's correct to choose one over the other. By that I mean I am interested in the meanings and usage of date that pertain to time.

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When used in reference to time, date almost exclusively refers to a specific 24 hour period that begins at midnight and ends at 11:59pm. When used this way, the date will be specified with a year (CE or BCE), the name of the month, and the number of the day within that month. The day number is a positive whole number that may be used in ordinal form (first, second, third, etc.) The name of the weekday is rarely referenced when referring to a date.

When setting up an appointment, you typically use the term 'date' if the appointment is a long time away or in a formal business setting. When making appointments with friends, especially if they are happening within one week's time, you would use the term 'day'.

You ask a friend "What day do you want to have lunch?" The receptionist at your doctor's office will ask you "What date would you like to have your next appointment?"

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Date is a much more wide-ranging word. It can mean:

  • A precise time (as you have said)
  • A pre-arranged meeting (and as a similar verb - 'We're dating.')
  • As a verb, to assign an age to something

Not to mention a few more archaic meanings.

And of course it's also a fruit!

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    Yeah, that's a good one I did not think of date as a fruit. But I am interested in the meanings and usage of date that pertain to time. – Nikhil Feb 1 '11 at 12:29
  • Well, there's 3 for you at least. :) – user3444 Feb 1 '11 at 12:37
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a day is a constant while a date keeps on changing over time, for example Tuesday the 30th of December 2008 was on the fourth week. however,the fourth week of December 2011 presents us with a Tuesday with 27th as its date. this shows us that the day "Tuesday" continue to appear in fourth week, but with a different date. this then provokes the question why do people celebrate birth dates instead of birth days?

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    You have it backwards; people celebrate birthdays rather than birth-dates. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jan 9 '12 at 18:37

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