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Right now I am taking Mandarin 1 in Brooklyn Tech. From my understanding, 号 and 日 both mean "day." I took it upon myself to check Google Translate and find out what they both mean for confirmation. I found:

号: Day of the month; number 日:Day; Date; sun

So what is the difference? Can I use both terms in one sentence?(As in I could replace one with the other) Or are they more different than similar?

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Note: I use trad.Chi so 號 is the same as 号

When you talk about a date, you can use 號 when you are talking casually with people, for example:

今天是幾多號? 今天是十五號。

You can use 日 when you're writing (eg. diary or notes) or saying something formal:

十二月八日

Both has the same meaning.

[!] If you use them for other meanings, they are totally different.

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The 號 was introduced when Westerner came to the city of Canton and applied only to Western calendar. 號 is the day number of Western month. It is never applied to Chinese calendar. Only 日 is used in Chinese calendar. 日 is also applied to Western calendar in written form.

四月十六號. It must be 16th April in Western calendar. 四月十六日. It is 16th April in Western calendar or the 16th day of 4th month of Chinese calendar.

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When you are talking about date, 号 and 日 are interchangable. For instance, 4月15日 and 4月15号 are exactly the same, both meaning 15th April. Given the context, they can also be used alone without referring to certain month, e.g. 15日 and 15号 both meaning the 15th day of the mentioned month. Of course they have different meanings when you are NOT talking about dates. From the translation you mentioned from Google, 号 also means 'Number'. The 'Number' here refers to ordering. For example Patient Number Five is translated as 五号病人. In addition, 日 has the meaning of Day in the sense of a particular occurance or purpose, e.g. 世界(World)环境(Environment)日(Day).

Note that when you are counting days without referring to certain month, you cannot use 号. For example, Day Six has to be translated as 第六天/第六日 instead of 六号.

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日 is the more formal way to say "day" like you are speaking with a businessman/businesswoman. 号 is more casual to speak with friends.

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    You use 「號」when you are speaking. You seldom use 「日」. – 54D Jan 10 '15 at 2:42

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