5

My son's school operates on an A-day, B-day schedule, i.e. on a two-day cycle. Some classes meet every day, and some meet every other day, perhaps on A days, perhaps on B days. I need a word or a phrase to say the following:

Right now you have your science lab in Period 7 every other day. Let's ask if they'll let you do your foreign language in that slot on the other days.

I need a better word than other. Opposite comes to mind but I'm not sure if people will understand it. (School personnel are less sophisticated than you guys.)

Also, consider

But I'm not sure if they'll allow you to attend foreign language half time.

Is there something better than half time? Obviously, every other day would work, but in these conversations, I get really tired of saying "every other day" over and over again. Will people understand "half time"?

There is a thread about this where bidiurnal was suggested but that's too sophisticated for the school and for me.

If you need to rewrite my sentences slightly I am open to that.


Edit: I will experiment with DJClayworth's idea of replacing "every other" in Sentence 1. Here goes.

(DJ inspired) Right now you have your science lab in Period 7 on a half schedule. Let's ask if they'll let you do your foreign language in that slot on the other days.

Now I will try using the suggestion in the comment, alternate:

Version (a): Right now you have your science lab in Period 7 on alternate [or alternating] days. Let's ask if they'll let you do your foreign language in that slot on the other days.

Version (b) (playing further with DJ's idea): Right now you have your science lab half time in Period 7. Let's ask if they'll let you do your foreign language in that slot on the alternate days.

  • "In that slot" already specifies the days. Consider "part time" to refer to the not-everyday aspect. "I'm not sure if you'll let you attend (on a) part time (basis)" – Lawrence Sep 12 '16 at 15:25
  • 1
    I think specifying on which days (A or B) your kid has science lab would clarify what you mean by "the other days". Because right now, all you say is "every other day...on the other days". It could be A - B or B - A. – AleksandrH Sep 12 '16 at 15:39
  • 3
    I think the word that may help you is alternate. If I do science on one day, I can do French on the alternate day. – WS2 Sep 12 '16 at 15:44
  • 1
    @Jim That doesn't work because it changes week to week and over holidays. – Phil Sweet Sep 12 '16 at 17:45
  • 1
    At some point, you need distinct terms for slot 7 = A-period 7 + B-period 7. Once you have that, life will be simpler. So long as the terms period and slot can both refer to one, the other, or both, then you are doomed to prolonged confusion. – Phil Sweet Sep 12 '16 at 18:09
4

I believe the answer your looking for is off days. I don't know if the term is as common in other countries besides America. However, this can be confused with the same term given in several dictionaries as "having a bad day/game" (particular to sports).

  • I like this. I have hesitated to use this very much so far however, because of the other meaning of "off day" -- when someone is having an off day, that is a bad day. – aparente001 Sep 13 '16 at 22:37
1

If you stick to names, rather than relative descriptors, I think most of your troubles will disappear. In high school, my schedule (or timetable as we would say) had a 6 day cycle. Each day in the cycle was named after the day, so we had day 1, day 2 and so on. We always referred to days by their name, so, we would say the following:

Right now you have your science lab in Period 7 on day 1. Let's ask if they'll let you do your foreign language in that slot on day 2.

If we had to talk about frequency we would simply say something like this:

But I'm not sure if they'll allow you to attend foreign language on one day only.

The example above may be confusing to a listener unfamiliar with the system, but this didn't tend to be the case. The rewritten statements are also more precise, and less cumbersome than what you would currently say.

  • If I write to the principal to ask for foreign language on one day only, he will misunderstand. – aparente001 Sep 13 '16 at 21:58
  • @aparente001 people aware of the schedule shouldn't have a problem interpreting the statement. To be unambiguous say But I'm not sure if they'll allow you to attend foreign language on only one day in the schedule. – Andre Dickson Sep 13 '16 at 22:10
  • I think you are assuming they want to understand me. In my first email attempt, I asked if he could attend foreign language every other day, and the response I got was "he can't just attend the class on a once in a while basis." – aparente001 Sep 13 '16 at 22:36
  • @aparente001 he responded like that because 'every other day' can be interpreted as every other time that class is held. – Andre Dickson Sep 13 '16 at 22:48
  • Could be. But I have used that terminology successfully before with him about another class which is half-time, but which can be taken double (and therefore every day). I think part of it is that monolingual people find foreign language study rather terrifying. – aparente001 Sep 14 '16 at 0:13
1

Referring to the 'other day' of a two-day cycle is a perfectly acceptable way of writing what you mean. The confusion only arises because you have used the phrase 'other day' to already mean something else. You can probably clear up the confusion by using another term in place of the first 'other day. For example:

Right now you have your science lab in Period 7 on alternate days. Let's ask if they'll let you do your foreign language in that slot on the other days.

Alternatively, in place of 'on alternate days', try:

  • every second day
  • on the first/second day of the cycle
  • on one day of the cycle
  • on the A/B day
  • of one day
0

First sentence

I don't know if school personnel will understand it (for the sake of understanding I'm not sure you can do better than other), but the word you are seeking may be intervening.

From the Free Dictionary:

intervening: occurring, located, or present between other things

And your example:

Right now you have your science lab in Period 7 every other day. Let's ask if they'll let you do your foreign language in that slot on the intervening days.

Second sentence

You seem to be implying, without stating it explicitly, that there are foreign language classes every day, but that your son will be able to attend only half of these. If you want to avoid using half time (which isn't that bad), perhaps you could say:

But I'm not sure if they'll allow you to attend only every other foreign language class.

0

I would offer the word interjacent.

INTERJACENT ADJECTIVE located in between; intervening - Collins Dictionary

Right now you have your science lab in Period 7 every other day. Let's ask if they'll let you do your foreign language in that slot on the interjacent days.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.