How to Say “What Day Is It?” in Spanish

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Anyone who plans to speak Spanish will need to refer to the day and date of some event. You may want to see if a memo or a newspaper edition is current. You may want to issue an invitation or specify the day and date of a meeting. Possibly you may even wake up some morning and say to no one in particular…

¿Hoy qué día es? — (Today) What day is it?

Los días de la semana son: The days of the week are:
lunes Monday
martes Tuesday
miércoles Wednesday
jueves Thursday
viernes Friday
sábado Saturday
domingo Sunday

Hoy es lunes. — Today is Monday.
Hoy es martes. — Today is Tuesday
Hoy es miércoles. — Today is Wednesday
Hoy es jueves. — Today is Thursday
Hoy es viernes. — Today is Friday
Hoy es sábado. — Today is Saturday
Hoy es domingo. — Today is Sunday

Notice that in Spanish the days are not written with a capital letter as they are in English. This is also true for the months.

Los meses del año son: The months of the year are:
enero January
febrero February
marzo March
abril April
mayo May
junio June
julio July
agosto August
septiembre, setiembre September
octubre Octubre
noviembre November
diciembre December

Both days and months take the masculine article el or un when an article is required. But you could say:

Estamos en enero. — We're in January (this is January).
Estamos en febrero. — This is February.

…and so on. These are non-specific utterances, treating months as though they were like seasons, or temporadas:

Estamos en verano. — We're in summer (this is summertime).
Estamos en invierno. — This is winter.
Estamos en primavera. — This is springtime.
Estamos en otoño. — This is fall.

If you mean to be specific about the date, you would ask:

¿En cuál fecha estamos? — On what date are we?


¿Cuál es la fecha de hoy? — What is the date today?

The response requires additional grammatical particles.

Estamos a dos de abril. — We're on the second of April.

Unlike in English, all the days of the month except the first use cardinal or counting numbers. Only the first of the month is said in Spanish with the ordinal form.

el primero de abril — the first of April (April 1st)
el dos de abril — the second of April (April 2nd)
el tres de abril — the third of April (April 3rd)
el treinta de abril — April thirtieth (30th)

This is true for all the months.

Suppose the question is about a recurring event:

¿Cuándo vas a la lección de piano? — When do you go to your piano lesson?
Voy los lunes a las tres. — I go Mondays at three.

A one-time event:

Tengo una cita médica el cuatro de octubre. — I have a medical appointment on the 4th of October.
Tengo una cita médica el cuatro. — I have a medical appointment on the fourth.

Note—in the Spanish sentence above—that where English time expression may use the preposition “on”, no preposition is used in Spanish.

If you want to specify the year, use de:

Gabriel García Márquez nació en Colombia el seis de marzo de 1928. — Gabriel García Márquez was born in Colombia on March 6, 1928.

When you say a year in Spanish, you read out all the place values, so 1928 is:

mil novecientos veintiocho — one thousand nine hundred twenty-eight (we'd say: nineteen twenty-eight).

In other words, in Spanish—years—there is no grouping of digits into tens, as in English.

Finally, for today:

El siglo XXI (veintiuno) es el siglo actual. — The twenty-first century is the present century.

La inauguración de la administración actual tomó lugar el veinte de enero de dos mil nueve. — The inauguration of the present administration took place on January 20, 2009.

Next time we’ll talk about other aspects of time: seasons, the time of day, parts of the day…

Aprovéchense del tiempo.Don’t waste time!

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