3

Can we use the indefinite article before the name of a day of the week?

I was born on a Sunday.

Or

I was born on Sunday.

Which one is more suitable and correct?

  • 4
    In that context one would always use the indefinite article. Saying I was born on 'Sunday' suggests a specific Sunday - and sounds wrong. The only time one uses a day of the week without qualifying it in any way would be if one meant the Sunday immediately past or the one immediately to come. I am going to see my daughter on Sunday -i.e. this coming Sunday. I saw Charlie on Sunday - i.e. last Sunday. – WS2 Sep 8 '15 at 6:57
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    If you use past tense and Sunday without an article, it will imply you are speaking about last Sunday. 'I was born on Sunday' sounds like you were born last Sunday. – Graham Nicol Oct 8 '15 at 17:14
  • @WS2 if i said I was born on the fourth of July would you believe that I was born this year or next. It feels unnatural to say I was born on a fourth of July. – emory Nov 7 '15 at 22:40
  • In that context one would always use the definite article. I was born on the 21st November. – WS2 Nov 7 '15 at 23:57
3

You should use the indefinite article, otherwise you run the risk of suggesting you were born last Sunday.

Interestingly, when we talk about months, we do not use indefinite articles, despite the fact that months seem to be quite analogous to days (they are both names or indexicals used recurringly to denote intervals of time). One does not say, for example, "I was born in an August." Why this should be the case is an interesting question and may have to do with the difference in prepositions used for days ("on") versus months ("in").

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The way I understand is that any indefinite article like 'a' or 'an' is used with the names of the days of the week when it is not referred to a specific day. Just like your example 'I was born on a Sunday'. Here in this example Sunday is not any particular Sunday; this Sunday could be any Sunday.

Now, if you use the second example (without article), that will probably mean you’re born on last Sunday at the time of your statement. So if you don’t want to mean that you’re born on last Sunday or something like that, then you should go with the first example. In the comment section WS2 too contributed the same idea.

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