I wrote this post about the days of the week in Russian and tried my best to make them interesting and easy to remember for all Russian language beginners.
I will teach you not only the days of the week in Russian, but also the origin of their names and how to use them in sentences with grammar tips, prepositions and so on.
Also, you will find the pronunciations in the PDF table of the days of the week in Russian, available for download at the end of the article.
The days of the week in Russian
The days of the week in Russian are “дни недели:”
- Дни is the nominative plural of the word “день” (day).
- недели is the singular genitive of the word “неделя” (week).
Unfortunately, they don’t sound anything like native speakers of Romance and German languages are used to, so you have to learn them by heart.
Monday in Russian is “понедельник.”
The origin of this word will confuse you: in Old Russian (and modern standard Ukrainian, by the way), “неделя” meant “Sunday” and not “week,” because it was the day when you could just stay home and do nothing = не делать.
Monday comes right after Sunday and therefore после (after) + неделя (Sunday in Old Russian) = понедельник.
I have another tip for you to memorize this word. In Russian, the prefix “по-” attached to some verbs (for example Russian verbs of motion) means the “beginning of the action.”
По + неделя = start of the week, Monday!
Tuesday in Russian is “вторник.”
Its name originated from the adjective “второй” which means “second.”
What better way to call the second day of the week?
Wednesday in Russian is “среда.”
Also in this case, the origin is very sensible: “среда” derives from the Old Russian word “средина” (in modern Russian “середина”), meaning “center, middle.”
If you think about it, Wednesday is the third day of seven and is right in the middle of the week.
Thursday in Russian is “четверг”.
Yet another case in which the name comes from the position of the day in the calendar, “четверг” finds its roots in the adjective “четвёртый” — “fourth” (day).
Friday in Russian is “пятница”.
Not to be confused with 'пьяница' (drunkard), Friday is the fifth day in a week.
In Russian “fifth” is translated as “пятый” and here, again, is revealed the origin of the name.
After working days (which in Russian are called 'рабочие дни', 'будние дни' or more simply 'будни'), we finally got to the weekend = 'выходные дни' or simply 'выходные'.
Saturday in Russian is 'суббота'.
This is the only day that resembles at least Spanish or Italian. Its name derives from the Hebrew word “shabbat”, which means “day of rest“.
Sunday in Russian is “воскресенье”.
The name comes from the very similar word 'воскресение', that is 'resurrection'.
It may refer to that of Christ or that of the Russians after having drunk a lot on Saturday night. I'm not quite sure.
How are they used in sentences?
First of all, the days of the week in Russian are not capitalized.
Also, in English, you would usually put a preposition 'on' before the days. In Russian, you need to pay a little more attention.
Generally speaking, the days of the week in Russian require the preposition 'в' + singular accusative.
- В понедельник пойду в спортзал. (on Monday I’m going to the gym)
- В среду полечу в Италию. (On Wednesday I'm flying to Italy)
The same applies to the week, the working days and the weekend.
- Я работаю 3 раза в неделю. (I work 3 times a week)
- В будние дни я езжу на метро. (On working days I move around by metro)
- В выходные буду убираться дома. (On the weekend I’ll tidy up the house)
When you do something on a regular basis, every week on a certain day, in English you just have to use the plural form.
However, in Russian, plural is not enough! You also have to change the preposition and the case: 'по' + dative plural.
- Я хожу в спортзал по понедельникам и четвергам. (I go to the gym every Monday and Thursday)
- По субботам я отдыхаю. (On Saturdays I rest)
Again, we can use the same construction for what happens regularly on working days or weekends.
Last but not least, when applying the construction with “по” + dative, you should remember that the action is repeated and, therefore, the verb must always be imperfective.
Read more about Russian perfective and imperfective verbs.
The preposition “на” is NOT used with the days of the week, but in some sayings and colloquial expressions, followed by the prepositive case:
- На днях. (In the next few days / a few days ago)
- На неделе. (During this week)
- На буднях / на выходных. (On working days / weekends)
Never use these in writing. At most when speaking, but it is still better to stick to the other two prepositions.
Sometimes, it's actually right to use the preposition “на” followed by the word “week”:
НА + prepositive for actions that took / will take place in a given week: на прошлой неделе (last week) / на следующей неделе (next week).
НА + accusative for the DURATION of the action: Он приехал на неделю (he came for a week).
If you are referring to a PART of the day, instead, no prepositions are required, you just need to declinate the word in the instrumental case:
- Утром (in the morning).
- Днём (during the day).
- Вечером (in the evening).
- Ночью (at night).
Exception: In the afternoon: во второй половине дня (in the second half of the day).
Days of the week in Russian PDF table
As I promised at the beginning, here you can download the PDF table of the days of the week in Russian.
Enter your name, your email and click on the button! The download link will appear below.
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