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Mini-test answer: The usage of “day” at the end of days

Dec. 19, 2012

The end of days, or Armageddon, is known as 世界末日 (shìjiè mòrì) in Chinese. So, the correct answer is B.

The English word, “day,” is interpreted in Chinese as 天 (tiān), 日 (), or 节 (jié). For example, daytime — 白(báitiān); an important day — 重要的子 (zhòngyào de rìzi); National Day — 国庆(guóqìng jié) and so on. So, what’s the difference between 天 (tiān), 日 () and 节 (jié)?

1. 天 (tiān) is usually used to refer to the concept of time, for example 今天 (jīntiān) — today, 明天 (míngtiān) — tomorrow, 昨天 (zuótiān) — yesterday, 后天 (hòutiān) — the day after tomorrow. 天 (tiān) is also used in the names of the seasons, such as 冬天 (dōngtiān) — Winter, 夏天 (xiàtiān) — Summer, 春天 (chūntiān) — Spring and 秋天 (qiūtiān) — Autumn. Additionally, 天 (tiān) is used to refer to weather, for example “天变冷了。(Tiān biàn lěng le.)” which means the weather has gotten colder.

2. 节 (jié) is used in the names of holidays such as 圣诞节 (Shèngdàn jié) — Christmas day, 春节 (Chūnjié) — Spring Festival, 中秋节  (Zhōngqiū jié) — Mid-autumn festival, 清明节 (Qīngmíng jié) — Tomb-sweeping festival and 国际劳动节 (Guójì láodòng jié) — International Workers’ Day.

3. 日 () is usually used for important dates or memorial dates, for example 生日 (shēngrì) — birthday and 纪念日 (jìniànrì) — memorial day.

Special attention should be given to the word 节日 (jiérì) which puts 节 (jié) and 日 () together to form the word holiday.

Example:

Rénmen zhèngzài qìngzhù jiérì.
人们          正在        庆祝  节日。

People are celebrating the holidays.

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