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TGIF and a Weekend Grammar Conundrum Posted by on Nov 22, 2013 in language, Nouns and their grammar

СБУП… What the heck is this? It sounds horrible! Ok, ok, let’s try the full version – слава Богу, уже пятница! (Thank God, it’s Friday!) Somehow coming up with a good-sounding Russian acronym is really hard. Anyway, it is Friday which means завтра – выходной (tomorrow is a day off) for many of us. What will you be doing?

Let’s very briefly talk about the grammar of выходной день (day off from work) and its plural выходные дни. Last week there was a question on our Facebook page – Что вы планируете делать на выходной? – and a few of our sharp-eyed followers noted the mistake we had made.

We wanted to know about your plans for the weekend and should’ve used the word выходные since it means “weekend” as in

Что вы планируете делать на выходных? – What are your plans for the weekend?

Of course, if we did just that, we might had drawn some criticism for not asking

Что вы планируете делать на выходные? – What are your plans for the weekend?

But perhaps we should had asked

Что вы планируете делать в выходные? – What are your plans for the weekend?

Can you spot the differences between these sentences? So which one should it be?

First, should we use use на or в? The good news is you can use both! Either в выходные or на выходные is fine. The only difference is in how formal and proper you wish to sound. The proper way is to say в выходные as in

В выходные немного похолодает – It will get slightly cooler over the weekend

В выходные разрешается бесплатная парковка – Parking is free on weekends

В выходные театр порадует новой пьесой – This weekend the theater will delight with a new play

While на выходные is considered more conversational, it is just as correct:

На выходные в Москве возможен снег – Snow is possible in Moscow this weekend

Улицу перекроют на выходные  – The street will be closed to traffic this weekend

Бабушка приедет в гости на выходные – This weekend grandma will be visiting us

If you decide to use на, you can say both на выходные and на выходных. That’s the price you pay for wanting to sound свой в доску (informal: one of our own). If you are a fan of an Oxford comma, you might decide to use в. Then your options are few as you can only say в выходные, not в выходных.

Can you ever say в выходной? Of course, particularly if you are talking about one day and not an entire weekend:

Где можно купить путёвку в середине ночи в выходной? – Where can one buy a travel package in the middle of the night on a weekend?

Митинг пройдёт в выходной день – A rally will be held on a day off.

Can you ever say на выходной? Yes, as in a phrase перенести на выходной (to reschedule to a weekend day) as in

Встречу решено было перенести на выходной – It was decided to reschedule the meeting for a weekend)

You can also use на выходной when you mean “for a weekend” as in

Рецепты простых и питательных блюд на выходной – Simple and nutritious recipes for weekend dishes

У меня нет планов на этот выходной – I don’t have any plans for this weekend

And, although it is a lot less common and a lot more informal, you can even say

На выходной я еду на рыбалку – This weekend I am going fishing.

And now, let me know что вы делаете в эти выходные? Or, if you prefer – Какие у вас планы на этот выходной?

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  1. Sergey:

    No, no, no – never say “в выходной”. Better to say “в субботу” or “в воскресенье” but never say “в выходной” – it sounds strange. So i would change last sentence from “Какие у вас планы на этот выходной?” to “Какие у вас планы на этИ выходнЫЕ?”