When accepting an answer, I noticed that the example used the word 周三 for Wednesday, but in my grammar, the days of the week are 星期一, 星期二, etc...

They seem both correct but, what's the difference? Is one more common, or are they simply used in difference situations?

  • a slightly fix: 周日 is not equal to 周天 周日 = Sunday 周天 is the opposite of weekend (週末), yes, it's weekdays Commented Sep 21, 2013 at 8:42
  • @AllenSt.Clair Never heard of the word “周天”, at least in mainland.
    – tianz
    Commented Sep 28, 2013 at 17:42
  • @CoderTian Yes, it used in HK often but not in mainland. Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 4:24

8 Answers 8


You have 3 methods when talking about the seven days of the week.

  1. 星期[X]

  2. 礼拜[X]

  3. 周[X]

Here, "X" represents "一,二,三,四,五,六" for "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday". For case 1 and 2, X could be "日" or "天" for Sunday,for case 3, X should be "日" for Sunday.

What' the difference?
Well, I think the 星期 and 周 are common to see, while 礼拜 is less but still common(I think it's the personal or regional perference. Thanks for fefe's suggestion). 礼拜 originates from Christianity, and in ordinary life, each type is accepatble.

Why did I use "周三" in that example?
Because I used "本周二" in that example, then why I used "本周二"? When you want to express "this Tuesday", you could say

  1. 本周二
  2. 这个星期二
  3. 这周星期二
  4. 本周星期二

Each of them is interchangeable. You see, "本周二" is the shortest form, so I used that. When you are talking about the days for a specific week, I think 周 is more common(please note that 周 means week).

  • 礼拜 is often heard in spoken language in my hometown.
    – fefe
    Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 14:07
  • @fefe OK, I have never lived in the northern area. I just think 礼拜 is less common in the life around me. Thanks for your reminder. I will edit my answer.
    – Huang
    Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 14:21
  • 1
    Well, I think it will differ in different places.
    – fefe
    Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 14:31
  • 礼拜 is more common in my hometown too.
    – Fivesheep
    Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 15:21
  • 2
    "Libai" is common in many parts of China. The curiousest thing I've noticed is that speakers of dialects where 礼拜 is common (such as Cantonese) tend to use 星期 when using Mandarin, presumably because 星期 is taught as the 'better' form.
    – Bathrobe
    Commented Jan 23, 2012 at 18:08

I don't feel there is much difference in these two expression. There maybe some personal preference though.

In formal situations, the 星期 version should be preferred.


They are equal with slightly difference:

周X,specific to "this week",means "someday of this week" 星期X,for general cases,means "someday of any week"


The difference is that you may use 星期天, but not *周天; and you may use 周末, but not *星期末.

  • OK, what about 周日 then?
    – Bathrobe
    Commented Jan 23, 2012 at 17:31
  • 周日 can mean either Sunday or weekday (in China iirc), depending on the region where it is used. Beginners should stick to 星期天 for more precision. 周天 means a day (any day)
    – prusswan
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 14:47

星期X is more written word. 周X is more spoken word. But in most cases, you can switch those words equally.


Could be regional difference. Some regions see more 星期x, some more 周x, some even 礼拜x. There could be personal preferences as well. I tend to say 星期x but 下周x and 上周x instead of 下星期x and 上星期x.

In formal situations, say 星期x; 本周x, 下周x, 上周x are also used, but not 星期天, say 星期日, 本周日, 下周日, etc instead.


they are the same, even 星期天 (星期日, they are the same, means Sunday) are so-called 周天 (in fact it should be 周日)

周一 - 周六 = 星期一 - 星期六

周日 = 星期日,星期天

but we seldom use 周天

also, 礼拜x is exactly the same (礼拜天 and 礼拜日 are ok for use)


It's a mistake that using 礼拜 (worship) as synonym of the word 星期 (week) in some dialect. But it is so widely used and accepted by people later. 礼拜 means (going to church and make) worship originally, so 礼拜天 or 礼拜日 means the day of worship (usually Sunday) of Christian every week. That means, 礼拜天 or 礼拜日 refers to a specific day, like Sunday. There isn't any day called 礼拜一/二/三/四/五/六 grammatically, all are misused words fundamentally! You may understand it, but I suggest you do not use these terms.

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