九日 - "9th day" vs "nine days"

I ran into this phrase earlier and really need some help with it:

九日 に 荷物 が 届きます。 kana: ここのか に にもつ が とどきます。

The translation reads: "The package will arrive on the ninth." So here comes my question: How do we know the phrase specifies "on the 9th day" instead of "in nine days"? I first read the phrase as "The package will arrive in 9 days." and, depending on the context you're in, making such a confusion might end up being catastrophic (like possibly losing a flight or something similar).

So, how would you go about differentiating "nth day" from "n days" when using "[number]日"?

Thank you very much in advance!

November 25, 2017

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You can differentiate by the particle used after ここのか. Here is a collection of sentences to show the use of 9 days within diverse contexts:

(1) Arrive on the ninth (date): ここのかとどきます。

(2) Arrive in 9 days: ここのかとどきます。

(3) Arrive within 9 days: ここのか以内にとどきます(ここのかいないにとどきます)。

(4) Arrive 9 days later: ここのか後にとどきます (ここのかごにとどきます)。

(5) Arrive on the ninth day (the order of the day within a period of several days): ここのか目にとどきます (ここのかめにとどきます)。

(6) Arrive by the ninth: ここのかまでにとどきます 。

There can of course be other variations and other forms of use depending on context. The cases above are the ones I could remember. Hope that helps.

November 25, 2017

Ahhh this makes so much sense. So while I was looking at the difference within the word itself, what I didn't realize was that the difference was actually in the meanings each particle implies. This was extremely enlightening, and not only for this specific question, but for a lot of my understanding of Japanese in general. Thank you!

November 26, 2017
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Understandable confusion, but the ways that these two expressions are made are different enough to be easily recognizable.

  • In 9 days it will be the 9th: あと九日(きゅうにち)九日(ここのか)になります。* It takes 9 days for the shipping: 荷物の配送は九日間(ここのかかん)かかります. * The package will arrive in 9 days: 荷物は9日後(きゅうにちご)に届きます。

The word 後(あと)or 前(前)would signify a number of days, as well as the pronunciation being different for counting days versus the naming of a calendar day.

So, if you only have the kanji to rely on, look for the context. If it doesn't have 間(かん), あと, or まえ it is likely the date.

November 25, 2017
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