Holidays & Vacations in American English

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Hi Everyone! Today I’d like to look at some vocabulary and expressions related to taking time off from work or school.

Special days in your country which have historical or religious roots are called holidays. In the USA, we have holidays like New Year’s Day, President’s day, Independence Day, etc. In most countries, some of these holidays are days of the year that the government has decided public offices and businesses should be closed. These are called national holidays.

In the USA, for most people the work week is Monday to Friday. Wednesday, which falls in the middle of the week, is often called hump day. People who have such a work week have off on the weekend, or we can say they have the weekend off. Thus for most of these people, Saturday and Sunday are their days off. Some people have different days off. Let’s look at some of this vocabulary in some example sentences:

Christmas is my favorite holiday.
The office is closed on Monday because it is a national holiday.
My work week is Monday to Friday.
Happy hump day everyone! (note that this word is used in informal conversation only)
I love having the weekend off.
I’m going to the beach tomorrow because I’m off.
I have a day off tomorrow, so I’m going the beach.

Sometimes there is a long break from work or school. Schools in the USA have breaks such as winter break, spring break, and summer vacation. In general, companies in the USA do not take such long breaks. But workers do! If you take several consecutive days off, you are taking vacation or you have vacation. People can generally take their vacation time whenever they want to. You can also say that you are going on vacation, and this phrase is also used when you travel during your time off. If you use the article “a” it means you have a trip planned which includes travel, you are going on a vacation or taking a vacation. Let’s look at some of this vocabulary in some example sentences:

The kinds are home this week because it is spring break. (or you can say they have spring break)
What are you doing during your summer vacation?
I’m taking vacation in June for a week.
I can’t wait to go on vacation
Bob and his wife are taking a vacation to Orlando

Be careful! The vocabulary for school breaks such as winter break, spring break, and summer vacation is used only when talking about school-related breaks. If you do not work for a school or are not a student, you don’t have sprng break. Also, in British English, the term holiday is used to mean time off from work. In American Englsih, holiday is NOT used this way.

This is how we talk about time off from school or work in American English. I know there are a lot of idioms and vocabulary here, so please take some time to memorize it.

Where did you go on your last vacation? Tell us about it!

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