7

In Russian it is very common to speak about days of the current month without mentioning the name of the month. In English, as far as I remember, it is necessary to include the month.

  • He was absent since the 4th of July. (Now is the 7th of July)

Can we rephrase that without mentioning the month? Something like:

  • He was absent since the 4th day.
  • He was absent since the 4th of current month.

Something informal would be great.

  • 1
    If today were "7th July", I would say "since Thursday". – user178049 Apr 17 '17 at 10:03
  • What if that was about the past and you have no idea what day or month it was? – SovereignSun Apr 17 '17 at 10:12
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    I agree with J.R.'s answer. And if you notice, he's also subtly telling you that you should have used present perfect, "He has been absent since...." – Teacher KSHuang Apr 17 '17 at 10:13
  • Agree, however I notice that Past Simple is also possible. – SovereignSun Apr 17 '17 at 10:14
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    Compare: Is John at work now? Yes, but he was absent since the 4th of July. and "Is John at work now? No, he has been absent since the 4th of July. – SovereignSun Apr 17 '17 at 10:16
17

There is nothing wrong with using the day by itself:

He has been absent since the 4th.

Of course, one would hope that context or prior knowledge within the conversation would ensure the listener knows what month is being talked about. For example, if you asked me about my Christmas travel plans, I might say:

We leave on the 22nd.

and it would be obvious that we are talking about the month of December.

You can also say:

He has been absent since the 4th of the month.

The phrase of the month is often used generically like that, either to refer to the current month, or some other month that has already been referenced, either directly or indirectly.


As for the two you ask about:

  • He was absent since the 4th day.
  • He was absent since the 4th of current month.

Those both sound awkward to the native ear. Just saying since the 4th day seems to ask for more information, such as since the 4th day of school, or something like that. Using "current month" can work, but I'd expect to see an article:

He has been absent since the 4th of the current month.

  • 1
    In "business English", the Latin abbreviations "ult", "inst", and "prox" used to be used for "the previous month", "this month", and "the next month", so an old, formal letter might have said "He has been absent since the 4th inst." - but this is not contemporary English. "The 4th day" suggests "4 days before or after some other date that has already been mentioned", which doesn't fit the OP's sentence. – alephzero Apr 17 '17 at 11:17
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    Agreed with this post. It also sounds fine to me (NAmE) to say "the 4th of this month." – wchargin Apr 17 '17 at 12:31
  • And, since "the current month" is more typing than any actual month name, and more syllables than all or most of the months (all, unless you pronounce "January" and "February" with four), I'd just write or say the name of the month, or "of this month". – David Richerby Apr 17 '17 at 14:02
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    I think this month as suggested by @wchargin deserves a mention in the bottom part of this answer. It’s far more natural and much easier to say or type than the current month. – KRyan Apr 17 '17 at 14:28
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    Note that "since the 22nd" could mean the 22nd of the previous month if it's currently early in the month. Similarly, "on the 5th" would mean the next month if it's currently late in the month. – Barmar Apr 17 '17 at 16:05
1

There used to be an expression, "instant", meaning "this month". You might write:

He has been absent since the 4th inst.

(Inst being the almost universal abbreviation in this context.)

Unfortunately, that usage, with ultimo for "last month", disappeared around the 1860s, and I doubt one person in 100 would recognize it today.

So you can write

He has been absent since the 4th.

or

He has been absent since the 4th of this month.

(Edit: At Francis Davey's suggestion, I changed "was absent" to the more idiomatic "has been absent".)

  • Can you say "he was absent since...". That sounds quite wrong to me. "He has been absent since..." is OK. – Francis Davey Apr 17 '17 at 22:07
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    @FrancisDavey -- Evidence is seeping through of my miseducation at the hands of the public-school system, where present, absent, and tardy are states of being, like alive and dead. – Malvolio Apr 18 '17 at 7:44

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