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!
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): ここのかにとどきます。
(2) Arrive in 9 days: ここのかでとどきます。
(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.
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!
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.