Hello! I have a major problem explaining this sentence in question and I'm hoping someone can help me up here.


Should it be 'Summer day' or 'Summer's day'? More importantly, WHY is it so?

Many thanks for the help!
1 2
It should be "Summer day"( = " a day in/during Summer") just like a cold "Winter night" (= a night in/during Winter).

Shakespeare wrote in his famous sonnet:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and
more temperate

In this case, it means 'a day of, or belonging to, summer'.

You can also say 'a summer day', where the noun 'summer' is modifying 'day' like an adjective.

Best wishes,

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Hi,Emotion: smile

Here is what I found in the Thomson and Martinet "A Practical English Grammer" book.

"We can say either a winter's day or a winter day and a summer's day or a summer day, but we cannot make spring or autumn possessive, except when they are personnified: Autumn's return."

Have a nice day,

with expressions of time:

the noun + noun structure is used for the names of things that happen or appear regularly, as in:

the evening news a Sunday paper

the 's structure is preferred to talk about particular moments and events, as in:

yesterday's news last Sunday's match

(check in: Swan, Michael. 1997. Practical English Usage. OUP)

According to the abovementioned your sentence should contain the genitive, though in my opinion either of them is correct.


To my ears, 'summer's day' has more of the sights and sounds of summer in it; whereas 'summer day' seems more literally temporal.

I'd be interested to know if anyone else would make the same perhaps slightly twee distinction.

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I'm interested in SpoonBaby's tip. Why do they say "summer's day" but not "spring's day"? I suppose the difference comes from different degrees in easiness of pronouncing them. "Summer's" and "winter's" ends in the sound of <əz> and it is not difficult to pronounce. But "spring's" and "autumn's" should end in doubled consonants, which probably are a little difficult to pronounce even to native English speakers, not to say to Japanese who never double consonants in their mother tongue.

I wonder whether the relative lateness (etymologically speaking) of 'spring' and 'autumn' is also a factor. They don't seem to have come into general use before the C16. So perhaps their idioms are less bedded in.

In terms of pronunciation, 'winter day' is more awkward than 'winter's day'; while 'summer day' is much more rapid than 'summer's day'.

Henry James: "summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me, those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language".

Hello MrP

Thank you for the nice tip. I searched in OED for the times when "spring" and "autumn" came into English and found you are right. The word "spring" itself was used in Old English but its use as the word denoting the first season began as late as in the middle of the 16th century. "Autumn" came into English in the middle of the 14th century. So, when these two words began to be used as season's names, English had already been on the way to losing case declensions. This may be the reason why you don't say either "spring's day" or "autumn's night".

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