Tell me please the difference in meaning between the following sentenced?

I eat twice a day.

I eat twice in a day.

I am sure that in a day is a valid phrase, but I cannot figure out the difference between it and a day as in my sentences.

1 Answer 1


It is a valid phrase, but they mean different things.

  • "Twice a day" means every day.

  • "Twice in a day" would normally mean a specific day.

For example:

I once ate six times in a day.

This refers to one specific occasion on which you ate 6 times in one day. It would not make sense to say "I once ate six times a day".

For some additional information on when to use a preposition with a verb, take a look at the answer to this recent question.

  • You answer is getting it clearer, but let's say I ate six meals on one specific day, say, February 10, do I say "in the day" or "on the day". For example, "February 10 saw a lot of eating. I ate 6 meals in the day/on the day." Feb 11, 2020 at 9:54
  • @DmytroO'Hope That's a completely different question - when to use the indefinite article "a" or the definite article "the". Look that up, you'll find it has already been answered.
    – Astralbee
    Feb 11, 2020 at 10:48
  • Well, no. It is a very similar question. It is not about articles. It is about the preposition "in" and "on". Could you please read my question a little bit more carefully? Feb 11, 2020 at 10:53
  • @DmytroO'Hope I've answered your question about "on", or "in" a day. You've now just asked a supplementary question which inserts "the" into the middle of it. That is a different question. I'll say this though - that as a native English speaker, my answer is the idiomatic way of saying it. If I thought it needed a different article, I would have changed it. But if you want to understand why, then you'll find it has been well answered on this site already.
    – Astralbee
    Feb 11, 2020 at 19:46

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