How to use the word “holiday”

WRONG
I am currently on holidays.
He is on his holidays now and will be returning to the office next week.

RIGHT
I am currently on holiday.
He is on holiday now and will be returning to the office next week.

In such examples, you should not use the phrase “on holidays” or “on my holidays”, “on her holidays” etc. Use “on holiday”, or – in American English – “on vacation”.

Only use the word “holidays” to refer to:

  • more than one single holiday
    This year there are three national holidays in May.
    I’ll see you after the Christmas holidays.
  • more than one vacation
    Since 2012 I have been spending my holidays in Portugal.
    I prefer spending my money on holidays than on furniture.

This is chiefly a British usage; Americans use the word “vacation”.

  • school holidays
    The holidays start on 6 July.

We often refer to the summer (especially August) as the “holiday period”. This phrase (or the “holidays”) can also apply to Christmas.

“Holiday” can also be used as an adjective, as in “holiday period”. Other examples are “holiday clothes”, “holiday mood”.

Less commonly, in British English “holiday” can be used as a verb:

This year we’re holidaying in Portugal.
We usually holiday in the Mediterranean.

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One Response to How to use the word “holiday”

  1. chomh1 says:

    Thank you so much for your efforts in providing great tips for non-native English speakers. I am particularly benefiting from your posts about countability of nouns. My native language is Korean. Similar to Polish or other slavic languages, we do not have articles. Neither do we pay attention to the countability of nouns. For example, instead of saying apples, we simply say that we like apple.
    Your posts on countable and non-countable nouns are really helpful!

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