Holiday, Holidays, Vacation, Leave, Day off – The difference.

Holiday, Holidays, Vacation, Leave, Day off – The difference.

What’s the difference between Holiday and Vacation? And what do “holidays”, “leave” and “day off”. Explained here with examples of British and American usage. This is an English lesson brought to you By LetThemTalkTV

#coursdanglais #paris

ALL PHOTOS IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN except “tired” by Malias Creative commons via flickr.

Intermediate and advanced English lessons on our youtube channel. Brought to you by LetThemTalk language school in Paris.

This is an English language video brought to you by LetThemTalkTV. We are a language school in Paris. For more information go to

Here are some pictures of my holiday in Italy, or is it my holidays or is it my vacation. Confusing isn’ it? Today we explain the difference between “holiday”, “holidays”, “vacation” and we’ll also look at “leave” and “day of”. Ok let’s get into it.

Ok so let’s get straight into it there is a difference between British and American English and I’ll return to that in a minute but from a British perspective a holiday can be a single day such as a public holiday usually called a bank holiday in the UK but a holiday can also refer to a longer period when you take time off from work or study. For example, “I’m exhausted so I’ve decided to take a holiday next week”. However, “holidays” with an “s” refer to the big holiday that you take once a year. For example We’re going to Majorca for our holidays this year. Remember “holidays” is a plural noun so it goes with a plural verb. For example “our holidays in Switzerland were amazing”. Sometimes you use the preposition “on” to say “on holiday” but never “on holidays” that’s not correct. “I was on holiday last month”. Just in the singular.

Now, in American English they also use the word “holiday” when they talk about a public holiday (what we call a bank holiday in the UK). Labor Day is a holiday, Thanksgiving is a holiday. So when we say “tomorrow is a holiday”, it has the same meaning in the US and the UK. But while I’m Britain we use the same word “holiday” (or holidays) to talk about these longer periods that you decide take off In American English it’s called a vacation. So Americans will say “I’m on vacation for two weeks” The British will say “I’m on holiday for two weeks.” It’s that simple.

Then we have the word “leave”: This is a more formal term to talk about the permission you have to be absent from your work. Paid holiday from your work is called “annual leave”. At work you might here someone say “Mr Smith is on leave this week” for example. This type of paid leave can be called informally “a day” or “days off”. For example “I’m taking a day off tomorrow to go for a drive”. There are other types of leave too. Maternity leave, for a mother with a new baby or paternity leave for the father and sick leave if you can’t go to work because you’re sick.

Ok that’s it I hope you found that useful More English language videos coming soon.


  1. Paulo Vitor on June 5, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    Brilliant vídeo
    Thanks a lot

  2. Елена к on June 5, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    not " on holidays"? but what preposition is used here? during?

  3. sabra rzz on June 5, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Ahah love the song, bravo! Come and visit Apulia region in Italy!

  4. OceanBlue on June 5, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    How about staycation?… Is that word used in the UK?

  5. Chad West on June 5, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks for this! I really enjoy videos about language in general, but this one came in handy. I’m based in the US, but I work with a primarily UK team, so this came in handy when planning a vacation..or holiday. And when my UK teammates started talking about the upcoming bank holiday, I actually knew what they meant.

  6. giana black on June 5, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    good music!

  7. Richest Quotes Ever on June 5, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    O wow

  8. Jordi Ribas on June 5, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Hi Gideon, lovely channel you have. By the way, how would you call the holiday we are enjoying right now? Easter holiday? Easter holidays? Easter bank holiday?

  9. smiling dalia on June 5, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Gideon, I’m confuses ; in Madonna’s song:holiday, is it the Americam meaning or the British meaning?

  10. Alexander Maya on June 5, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    What about the ‘on vacations’ meaning?

  11. Mauro Castagnera on June 5, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    In a nutshell, you are the best! Cheers 😊👍

  12. Rezaul shumon on June 5, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    I am going on holiday next month.; In my holidays , in June, am going to Portugal!; Tomorrow I am taking day off as I have a medical appointment.; My friend is off sick, as he had had an operation in the hospital two days ago.

  13. Tadeusz Szerynski on June 5, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    Thank you so much! Finally somebody was able to explain it to me.

  14. leonardomelia92 on June 5, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    I was wondering the difference between trip, journey ecc! If there are other ways to refer to voyages u could make a video on this too!

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