Giorno and giornata are two very similar Italian words that mean day in English.
So, it’s not surprising that people who have just started to learn Italian are usually confused about when they should use the word giorno and when they should use the word giornata.
Are giorno and giornata the same? Is there a difference?
Today, I’m going to answer these questions by explaining you the uses of the words giorno and giornata.
As I said, giorno means day. This Italian word can be used to indicate:
1. the astronomical time period of 24 hours.
Ex: Un giorno dura 24 ore
A day lasts 24 hours
2. the contrast giorno vs notte – day vs night.
Ex: Durante il giorno fa molto caldo, mentre durante la notte è fresco
It’s very hot during the day, while it’s cool during the night
3. A day of the week, birthdays, anniversaries or public holidays such as Christmas, Easter, etc.
Ex: Che giorno è il tuo compleanno?
When is your birthday?
Giornata means day in Italian as well and it can indicate:
1. an approximate period of time between morning and evening (usually when there’s still the sun)
Ex: Domani, in giornata, ti porto tutti documenti
I’ll bring you all the documents tomorrow during the day
2. How you spent your day, the activities you did
Ex: Ho passato una giornata bellissima. Al mattino sono andato in spiaggia, e al pomeriggio al cinema.
I’ve spent a beautiful day. In the morning I went to the beach and in the afternoon I went to the cinema.
3. A working day – the hours you spent working. So, if you work from 9 to 4pm, those 7 hours are your working day.
Ex: Un’altra giornata di lavoro è finita!
Another day of work ended!
4. Commemorative events
Ex: Oggi è la giornata internazionale della Pace
Today is the international day of Peace
Two more things to mention.
1. Both buongiorno and buona giornata are greetings. However, there’s a difference. Indeed, while buongiorno is usually quite formal, buona giornata can be used in standard and informal contexts.
2. When the preposition di is used before the word giornata, it forms a construction that has a totally different meaning. It means fresh, cooked or produced today.
Ex: Queste sono uova di giornata
These are fresh eggs
I hope I’ve helped you learn how to use giorno and giornata in Italian. If you liked it, don’t forget to share.
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