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Common errors > holiday  noun, countable and uncountab

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Incorrect or non-standard usage, overuse etc.

Tomorrow (Sunday) is my holiday
 

The problem

There is a general confusion of the following:
to be/go on holiday
public holiday
weekend
day off
to take a few days off/to take some time off

Also,to go (abroad) on holiday. In Hong Kong, people often express this as to go travelling which is not always entirely accurate (see travelling)

Standard English

Generally there are two uses for the word holiday:

(1) To be/go on holiday
(2) Public holidays - Chinese New Year, Christmas, Ching Ming etc
(But not b Saturdays and Sundays*)

(1) to be/go on holiday
This is used for long holidays.
For example, summer holidays for schoolchildren and uiversity
students; 'annual leave' for working adults:

My kids are on holiday until next week.
Are you going on holiday this year?
Yes, we're going to Thailand for a couple of weeks in September.


Note also the form: to go (to a country) on holiday
We went on holiday to Switzerland
This means that the reason you went to Switzerland was for pleasure, not business . cf:
I went to Germany on business.
(See travelling for confusion here).

(2) Public holidays are days fixed by the government as holidays:

Have you forgotten? Monday is a public holiday.
Oh is it? Great! Which one?
Labour Day!


(3) The weekend
*It is true that Sundays are counted as 'public holidays' on the
government's list of public holidays, but we do not normally speak of
Sundays as 'public holidays.'

In English, We use the word weekend instead which means 'Saturday and Sunday':

They've gone away for the weekend. (This means Saturday and Sunday)
My sister's coming to stay this weekend. (This means Saturday and Sunday)

What are you doing next weekend? (This could mean Saturday or Sunday)


(4) Days off
Many people do not work for all or part of the weekend. However others have to work these days and have a day off during the week:



You might also arrange to take a day off or take a few days off for some special reason:

It's my daughter's graduation ceremony tomorrow so I've taken the day off.
My sister's coming over from Canada next week so I've taken a few days off.


(5) Taking time off
Some people have a certain amount of annual leave that they can take off any time by arrangement. They may take some of this at times other than the main festivals (Chinese New Year etc.) or the summer:

Aren't you working this week?
'No, I need to revise for my accountancy exams, so I've taken some time off.


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