Во второй день/на второй день

timofei

Senior Member
French
Hello,

I've met both variants and don't quite know what distinguishes them. Grammars say you should say в первый день but на второй день, на третий день, and so forth.

Thanks.
 
  • timofei

    Senior Member
    French
    Вот, я сам нашёл ответ. Кто-то задал тот же вопрос справочному бюро сайта грамота.ру. Кажется, оба варианта возможны.
     
    I have a very strong preference for ''на второй день''. In fact, I am not even sure I would ever say ''во второй день'', unless the latter (i) refers to an event which lasts a few days, and (ii) you specify in the phrase itself which day of the event you are talking about. Thus I find it acceptable to say ''во второй день конференции'', but not in other cases, i.e. I would only say ''на второй день'' if ''день'' is not followed by a noun in Genitive. These are my intuitions of a native speaker, regardless of what official grammar books might have to say about it.
     
    Last edited:
    Hello,

    I've met both variants and don't quite know what distinguishes them. Grammars say you should say в первый день but на второй день, на третий день, and so forth.

    Thanks.

    In fact, there are many such kinds of collocations in Russian when the correct preposition and the correct form can be chosen only intuitively, at least in the case when you do not know certain grammar rules. This example definitely belongs to these group of phrases. I think both options will function when used in the majority of sentences in Russian. A few examples to strengthen my view:

    1) В первый день он познакомился с основными музеями Санкт-Петербурга, а во второй день - он посетил Мариинский театр - On the first day he got acquainted with the main museums of Saint-Petersburg and on the second one he visited Maryinsky theatre.

    2) В первый день его состояние было тяжелым, а на второй день оно заметно улучшилось - on the first day his condition was bad but on the second one it became much better. I think that in the second part of the sentence "во второй день" is also possible.

    My suggestion, which can probably be deduced from the above-given examples, is that you use prefer the preposition "во/в" when you want to emphasize the duration of an event. For example, in my first sentence the intended meaning is that someone has spent some time doing some activity (watching a theatre performance in this particular example). In the second sentence, however, if we are interested in the result we tend to use "на" (comparing a patient's condition for two successive days); otherwise, if the key point is to show that during the second day the patient's condition was gradually improving, we use "во/в" as in the first example.

    Probably, someone might find my explanation controversial., but this is the way I understand this problem.
     

    timofei

    Senior Member
    French
    Thanks Dmitry that's very interesting. And what about на первый день? Can you say this in some events as well?
     
    Thanks Dmitry that's very interesting. And what about на первый день? Can you say this in some events as well?

    To tell the truth, I do not whether it is possible in general to say so but it sounds awkward to me. I would definitely say "В первый день". Your suggestion may also be old-fashioned, belonging to the old Russian written style
     

    REOM

    Member
    Russian
    На первый день, в первый день - both sound fine to me!
    на второй(третий и тд) день - sounds much natural than with the preposition во!
     
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