I have seen that день is used with both prepositions (на and в), but I'm not sure which one to use. For example,

  • на следующий день
  • на день рождения
  • в этот день

At least I feel that it is always used in the accusative case, not in the prepositional case, but how can I know which one to use?

  • BTW, you can perfectly say "в день рождения" as well, though it will sound a tiny bit off. "На этот день" is very commonly used, e.g. "на этот день у меня запланировано много дел". Only "В следующий день" sounds terribly off, I've never heard anyone say this. I've no idea how we choose the right preposition. It's deeply ingrained in my brain :-) Oct 31, 2021 at 2:34
  • Also consider this: в следующем году/на следующий год. the same about months: в следующем месяце/на следующий месяц - these are all valid expressions which are widely used. Oh, god, logic fails me. And then we say "в следующий раз" and "на следующий раз" interchangeably. Oct 31, 2021 at 2:54
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    @Артем Сергеевич Ташкинов «мы поговорим на следующий раз»? «мы отложим это в следующий раз»?
    – Elena
    Oct 31, 2021 at 4:38
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    The usage of "на" и "в" in Russian is hard to make algorithmic. It is one of the things that distinguish native speakers from others. For example, "мы живём на Занзибаре, в Калахари и Сахаре, на горе Фернандо По, где гуляет гиппо-по по широкой Лимпопо."
    – markvs
    Oct 31, 2021 at 17:06
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    Some context would help. It's possible to find examples with either "в" or "на" for each phrase. The meaning would be quite different, though. So, what meaning do you need to convey?
    – Igor G
    Nov 1, 2021 at 15:10

2 Answers 2


Well, that question is not a simple one, and there are no general rules of usage that we can suggest, so let's concentrate on those particular examples. Both prepositions are possible in all three phrases, moreover with день рождения, you can use the prepositional case as well as the accusative. Now let's consider them one by one.

  1. на следующий день

На следующий день его положили в больницу. The next day he was hospitalized.

И, возможно, через год, в следующий День города, мы будем праздновать уже другую дату. And perhaps in a year, we will celebrate the next anniversary. Here we're specifying the day. В следующий день Победы, в следующий день рождения, etc.

  1. в этот день

В парке в этот день было мало посетителей. There were few people in the park on this particilar day.

Начало занятий попало /запланировано именно на этот день. The beginning of the school year fell on/was set for this particular day. After some verbs meaning plans and intentions

3)на день рождения.

Моего сына на день рождения пригласили. My son was invited to a birthday party. Куда? Accusative.

На дне рождения было много людей. There were a lot of people at the birthday party. Где? Prepositional

На день рождения года три назад Михаил подарил имениннику фотоаппарат. В день рождения Давида, мама купила ему книгу.В день рождения Лиза принесла Гришке подарок. When we talk about presents, both prepositions work — perhaps with a slight difference in meaning (на indicating the purpose of the gift, в the day), but you can't go wrong using either one.

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    +1, but some examples, like "в следующий день рождения" are hard on my ears. "на meaning the purpose of the gift, в meaning the day" - that, imho, should be highlighted.
    – Alexander
    Nov 2, 2021 at 17:20
  • I think this answer can be improved by explaining that the choice of preposition is often governed by other words or phrases, and is not specific to the word "день". E.g. predicate "пригласить" always demands "на" (when used in the sense "invite somebody to some event"). Likewise, "запланировать на" indicates the target of planning while "запланировать в" indicates the moment when the planning happened.
    – Igor G
    Nov 4, 2021 at 14:22
  • "predicate "пригласить" always demands "на" (when used in the sense "invite somebody to some event")" Is it? Really? Пригласить в театр, в кино, в цирк, в круиз, в турне, в поход....
    – V.V.
    Dec 2, 2021 at 20:04

I think that you shouldn't bother with this now. The use of prepositions В and НА with a word день is almost the same. Nobody Will definitely not look askance at you because you say в день instead of на день.

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