A non-native speaker of English may find the English language quite confusing. A few English sentences can confuse people unfamiliar with this language or people whose first language isn’t English.
“A hard day’s work” and “a day’s hard work” are two such sentences that might get you confused. These two sentences have totally different meanings.
The main difference between both phrases is that; In a hard day’s work, hard is modifying day, while in the case of a day’s hard work, hard is modifying work. Hard in both these phrases is a modifier or an adjective.
An adjective is a word that modifies or describes something about a noun or pronoun.
Let’s explore these two phrases and the circumstances in which you can use them.
What Is An Adjective?
An adjective is a word that modifies a noun (person, place, or thing) or pronoun, sometimes also a verb.
Adjectives act as information gatherers. They tell you about the state of an object like its size, color, shape, age, origin, material, etc.
A few examples of the way adjectives are used are:
|Color||The dress you are wearing is pretty.|
|Size||your house is big.|
|Age||This rug looks old.|
|Shape||The mirror in my room is oval.|
|Origin||It’s a glass of classic vintage wine.|
|Material||Be careful; it’s a glass bottle.|
A Hard Day’s Work: What is its Meaning?
In this phrase, hard is an adjective that gives you information about a specific day. Its means the day you are experiencing is pretty tough irrespective of the type of work you’re going to do.
It means you don’t feel satisfied with your day. You’re going through a tough time, either physically or emotionally. Perhaps you are ill or feeling down.
A Hard Day’s Work: Its Usage In Sentences
You use this phrase in circumstances when you are emotionally and physically drained. It’s challenging to go up and about even your daily routine. Still, you manage to get some work done. In this case, it’s a hard day’s work.
- After his family’s traumatic accident, conducting a meeting was a hard day’s work.
- Going to the office after attending his friend’s funeral was a hard day’s work.
- You need to keep it together to complete this hard day’s work.
A day is challenging for those experiencing these situations firsthand in all these situations. Any ask like conducting a meeting or attending office for regular work is also a big deal in such a situation.
A Day’s Hard Work: What is its Meaning?
In this phrase, Hard is modifying work. It gives you information about the type of work you’re doing irrespective of the day ahead. Your day might be typical or challenging, but your job on that specific day is pretty hard.
This hard work can be indoor or outdoor, like working all day long on project presentations or practicing hard for your career’s most important matches.
A Day’s Hard Work: Its Usage In Sentences
You can use this phrase in situations when you have to put some extra effort into your work.
When something is important for you, like a test, a job, or any other career opportunity, you try your best to leave no stone unturned to avail of this opportunity.
You can use this expression to explain situations like these. Here are a few examples.
- His day’s hard work paid him off in the form of his dream job.
- Elisa aced her test due to her day’s hard work.
- We all deserve a vacation after our day’s hard work.
Know The Difference: A Hard Day’s Work VS A Day’s Hard Work
These phrases have the exact words, but their meaning is different. This difference is due to the placement of the adjective (hard) in different places.
On a hard day’s work, hard is giving you information about the day. It’s telling you that the circumstances are not suitable for a particular person. He is going through a tough time. However, there is information about the work he is doing. It might be nominal or tough. You don’t know anything about that.
On the other hand, In a day’s hard work, hard is giving you information about his work. There is no additional information about the type of day he is experiencing. His day might be tough or normal. However, his work for the specific day is hard.
Just the placement of an adjective changes the whole meaning of a sentence.
Here is a short video clip about adjectives’ usage and placement in your sentences.
Which One Is More Frequent: A Hard Day’s Work Or A Day’s Hard Work?
A hard day’s work is a more frequently used phrase in daily conversation.
Although, the literal meaning of a hard day’s work is any work on an unpleasant or challenging day.
However, most people consider this phrase in the context of hard work. If you want to tell someone that your work was pretty hard, you tell them it was a hard day’s work.
If the person takes it literally, he’ll not understand your point. Still, it’s pretty common to use it in place of a day’s hard work as the latter seems quite unconventional.
Is Hard Work One Word Or Two Words?
Hard work is a combination of two words combined to give a specific meaning. You can use them separately as both have their particular meaning.
However, you cannot write it as “hard work.” It’s grammatically and contextually wrong.
Why Is Hard Work Important?
Hard work is important for you as it gives a lot of benefits in the long run.
It also keeps you occupied, so you don’t have time to indulge in harmful activities like overthinking.
By working hard, you can play your part in improving your society. This way, you can become a proud and responsible citizen of your country.
What To Say To A Person Who Is Having A Hard Time?
Depending on the situation, you can use some phrases to console a person going through hard times.
- I am so sorry you’re going through this situation.
- Be brave; it’ll get better with time.
- I’m here for you anytime you need me.
- Let’s consider the positive things in your life and be thankful.
Learning any language is all about placing proper words in the appropriate place. In these two phrases, the difference comes from the placement of adjectives in two different places.
- In “a hard day’s work,” hard is an adjective telling you about the type of day a person is experiencing. It shows that the person is going through hard times.
- While in the case of “a day’s hard work,” the placement of hard is before work. It means that hard is giving you information about the type of work a person does.
- It shows that the specific job a person is assigned is pretty tough to accomplish.
- Moreover, you can also use it in the context of describing someone’s hard work that eventually paid off.