evening vs. night

Discussion in 'English Only' started by supercrom, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. supercrom Banned

    Cercado de Lima, Lima, Perú
    Homo peruvianus, practising AE n' learning BE

    What is the difference between this two words, not only in meaning but also in their using?

    Thanks a lot

  2. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Hi Crom...
    Evening comes first..then the night..
    Source..The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    eve·ning ([​IMG]v[​IMG]n[​IMG]ng)
    1. The period of decreasing daylight between afternoon and night.
    2. The period between sunset or the evening meal and bedtime: a quiet evening at home.
    3. A later period or time: in the evening of one's life.
    4. Chiefly Southern U.S. The time from noon to twilight.
    night (n[​IMG]t)
      1. <LI type=a>The period between sunset and sunrise, especially the hours of darkness. <LI type=a>This period considered as a unit of time: for two nights running.
      2. This period considered from its conditions: a rainy night.
    1. The period between dusk and midnight of a given day: either late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

      1. <LI type=a>The period between evening and bedtime. <LI type=a>This period considered from its activities: a night at the opera.
      2. This period set aside for a specific purpose: Parents' Night at school.

      1. <LI type=a>The period between bedtime and morning: spent the night at a motel.
      2. One's sleep during this period: had a restless night.
    2. Nightfall: worked from morning to night.
    3. Darkness: vanished into the night.

      1. A time or condition of gloom, obscurity, ignorance, or despair: “In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning” (F. Scott Fitzgerald).
      2. A time or condition marked by absence of moral or ethical values: “He never would have let us go untroubled into the night of private greed” (Anthony Lewis).

    1. Of or relating to the night: the night air.
    2. Intended for use at night: a night light.
    3. Working during the night: the night nurse.
    4. Active chiefly at night: night prowlers.
    5. Occurring after dark: night baseball.
    The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
    te gato;)
  3. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    Gato has done a great job of posting the various textbook definitions. It seems as though, (apart from those given), the usage of "evening" in place of "night" adds formality.

    Good night vs. Good evening
    How is your night going? vs. How is your evening going?
    Will you be coming tonight? vs. Will you be coming this evening?
  4. rpleimann Senior Member

    USA English
    Very informally, I think of evening as being from about 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. until around 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. After that, it's night.

    I am spending the evening with a friend.
    (Insinuates passing a few hours in the company of a friend.)

    I am spending the night with a friend.
    (I will be sleeping at the home of a friend.)

    You can say, "How are you this evening?"
    But never, "How are you this night?"
  5. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    I would say that the chief difference is that the evening refers to the time before you go to bed, and night afterwards. Eg "what are you doing this evening?" "Good evening" but "It was the middle of the night" "I couldn't sleep last night".

    That said, if it is very early eg 8 O'clock you probably wouldn't call it the night, and if it was very late but you still hadn't been to bed you wouldn't call it the evening "eg we went clubbing until 3 last night". Not quite sure where this distinction comes in, maybe around 11pm?
  6. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Hey VenusEnvy;

    Take a bow....
    I agree with you 100% it is way more formal.....
    "Good evening VenusEnvy...may I take your stole?"...:D

    Hang on....
    Good evening also greets...where as good night ends...
    You would not be able to put good night in the same sentence.....
    So in some things they are not interchangeable...
    Sorry just thinking out loud...smell anything burning?

    te gato;)
  7. Nick

    Nick Senior Member

    Western USA
    USA, English
    You can say "How are you tonight?", though.

    Also, you can use "at" with "night" but not with "evening".
  8. Nick

    Nick Senior Member

    Western USA
    USA, English
    A reply to "Will you be coming this evening?" could be "No, but I will be there later tonight." ;)
  9. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    You can't see me over the computer, but I definitely blushed when I read the words! LOL I am too silly.. :rolleyes:

    Good point Gato: :thumbsup:
    Saying "Good evening" greets, saying "Good night" is a farewell.
  10. DesertCat Senior Member

    inglese | English
    To make the distinction even more fuzzy, we would be more likely to ask:

    What did you do last night?
    rather than
    What did you do last evening?
  11. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Yes but look at your sentences...what do all have in common??

    You are using the words at the end of the sentence....when I said that they could not be interchangeable...was to use at the begining of the sentence...

    "Good evening VenusEnvy...may I take your stole?"...(just to make her blush again)....:eek:

    You could not replace "good evening" with "good night" in this sentence...

    te gato;)
  12. daisy Member

    Britain, English
    But surely you could equally say "what did you do yesterday evening?" as "what did you do last night?"
  13. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    There was a great thread about this back last autumn...if someone wants to SEARCH for it....
  14. rpleimann Senior Member

    USA English
    Thanks, Cuchu,
    It is an interesting read. There isn't much to the search. Just scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the thread started by Magg.
  15. felipenor Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    But is the first option usual though? I always hear "what did you do last night?", even when referring to something that happened at 8 pm. I've often heard "we had a lot of fun last night" but I don't really recall "we had a lot of fun yesterday evening".
  16. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Which first option to you mean, felipenor? If you mean "We had a lot of fun yesterday evening," there's nothing wrong with that.
  17. felipenor Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    Is it usual to say "yesterday evening" though? For me, a non-native, it sounds like on would only say "We had a lot of fun yesterday evening" if it was relevant to specify the event happened early in the evening (as if you were supposed to be somewhere later or not to get home late).

    When I Google "last night" I get 200 mi results, and only 4 mi for "yesterday evening" (a lot of them about the use of "yesterday evening" itself).
  18. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Last night is far more common than yesterday evening (and last evening is rarer still - I have no idea why), but that doesn't make yesterday evening wrong. I would probably only use it if I were contrasting evening with night, e.g., "We had a lot of fun yesterday evening, but the rest of the night was a disaster."
  19. truepurple Senior Member

    One day is divided up into 4 basic parts by English. Morning, daytime (or afternoon, even if it isn't after noon) evening, and night. Also into two parts, day and night, with morning and afternoon/daytime and evening/night combining into one. Which is being used has to be figured from context, but morning and evening specify the 4 part one.

    BTW, most people say goodnight when parting with someone because of sleep, or someone leaving to do stuff then sleep. Well it becomes peculiar if the time of day doesn't match up, but still happens. Like if someone had been working all night and it was noon, their shift just ended and they want to collapse in bed, the very well may say "goodnight" even though it couldn't be further from "night".
  20. felipenor Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    Thank you, JustKate. That's the impression I got too, that one would most likely use "yesterday evening" if the intention was to specify/contrast it with night.

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