Category: "Days of the week"

Понедельник

August 9th, 2010 — posted by Don

The word for Monday in Russian is понедельник. First a bit of history. The verb "to do" is делать. "To not do" thus is «не делать», and in ancient Russian one of the words for Sunday was неделя "the day on which you do nothing". The preposition по means after, and the suffix -ник forms a noun, thus the word понедельник means "the day after Sunday." Cool, huh? Of course nowadays nobody thinks about that history when they say понедельник. They just think of the first day of the week.

Some Americans say things like "I hate Mondays." The most common phrase about Monday in Russian is «Понедельник — день тяжёлый» "Monday is a tough day."

Though it is easy to memorize the days of the week in Russian, English speakers will need to keep in mind the prepositions that are used with them. If you want to say that something happened (or will happen) on a particular Monday, then you want the preposition в followed by the accusative case:

В понедельник я ходил в японский ресторан. On Monday I went to a Japanese restaurant.

If you go there every Monday, then you want the preposition по followed by the dative plural:

По понедельникам я всегда хожу в японский ресторан. On Mondays I always go to a Japanese restaurant.

If something started on Monday and is still continuing, you want the preposition с followed by the genitive case:

С понедельника мой сын страдает поносом. My son has been suffering from diarrhea since Monday.

And if you want to give a range of days over which something will happen, for the starting day you use с + genitive and for the ending day you use the preposition по + accusative:

С пятницы по понедельник я буду кататься на лыжах, а во вторник я вернусь домой.¹ I'll be skiing Friday through Monday, and on Tuesday I'll return home.

Last but not least, of course, you use the word in the nominative case when answering what day of the week it is:

— Какой сегодня день недели?
— Сегодня понедельник.
"What day is it today?"
"Today is Monday."

¹ Some of my native speaker informants prefer the preposition до + genitive in this context along with the adverb включительно inclusively. Thus:

С пятницы до понедельника включительно я буду кататься на лыжах, а во вторник я вернусь домой.¹ I'll be skiing from Friday to Monday inclusively, and on Tuesday I'll return home.