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Is It Correct to Say “These Days”?

You’re trying to explain a trend: it’s something that has been happening for a while now, and you expect that it will continue in the near future. It’s happening now, and it’s happening today. But “now” and “today” don’t really explain the trend. Is it correct to say “these days”?

It is correct to say “these days” to explain a trend or action that started in the recent past, continues until now, and will likely continue into the near future. So, we usually use it with the simple present tense or the present continuous tense. For example, “Prices are inflating quickly these days.”

Let’s take an in-depth look at the meaning of “these days” and check out different ways we can use this phrase accurately every time!

 What Does “These Days” Mean?

“These days” has the same meaning as “nowadays,” and it means “at the present time” (source). Basically, you can use “these days” to show your reader or listener that you are talking about a trend happening now. 

We use “these days” to discuss a time relative to the present. Specifically, we use it to describe or explain an action or event that started in the recent past, continues until now, and will likely continue into the near future. In short, the phrase “these days” has the same meaning as the word “nowadays.”

Be careful, though: “these days” does not have the same meaning as “right now”! “These days” describes a more general time than “right now,” even though we often use the present continuous tense with both of these adverb phrases of time. While “these days” refers to the general time around now (like “nowadays”), “right now” means “exactly at this moment.”

How Do You Use “These Days”?

“These days” describes the time when an action happens (or is happening). The time it describes is relative and always relative to “now.” “These days” explains that something happens in and around the present and current time.

“These days” includes a demonstrative adjective and a plural noun. A demonstrative adjective is a modifier that explains a noun in terms of its relative time or place. The most popular demonstrative adjectives include “this,” “that,” “those,” and “these.”

In the phrase “these days,” we have the plural noun “days.” Since it’s a plural, we have to use either “those” or “these” to describe it with a demonstrative adjective.

And, since we’re talking about the days that are close to “now,” we want to use “these.” It shows temporal proximity (or “a close time to now”), so it explains to the listener that we’re talking about a time in the present.

Let’s look at the different ways we can use “these days,” as well as some common mistakes to avoid when using it.

When Can You Use “These Days”?

You can use “these days” when discussing the present. Usually, we use “these days” to explain an ongoing trend, action, or event that started in the recent past, continues until now, and will probably continue into the near future. 

The phrase “these days” also contrasts patterns or trends from the past. For instance, if you say, “These days, technology is an important part of our daily lives,” the phrase implies that technology wasn’t as prevalent in the past as it is now.

In the same way, if you say, “There are so many new products at the supermarket these days,” you’re comparing the number of products that you saw in the past to the number you’re seeing today.

You’re commenting on the general trend of more and more new products at the grocery store and explaining the change over time from past to present.

So, “these days” explains current trends and can also show a comparison between the past and the present.

In What Context Can You Use “These Days”?

The most popular context for “these days” is describing trends, events, and actions that happen (or are happening) around the present. “These days” describes a more general period of time that centers on “now” – it’s a general way to refer to the present. 

For this reason, we usually use the simple present tense or the present continuous tense (sometimes called the “present progressive tense”) with “these days.” Often, the reader or listener can understand that you are comparing or contrasting some past trends with the present trends.

When Not to Use “These Days”

You shouldn’t use “these days” to talk about the past. We only use “these days” when we’re referring to current trends, actions, or events. If you want to reference a trend in the past, you can use “in those days” (source).

“In those days” is a phrase we use to talk about the past; it’s similar to “these days,” but it has a different demonstrative adjective. Check out this example: 

  • The 1980s were different. In those days, we didn’t have the internet or cell phones.

Here, the speaker is talking about a time in the past. They explain the general state or situation of a broad time in the past. So, it makes sense to say “in those days” to reference a general period in the past.

What Can You Use Instead of “These Days”?

The best synonym for “these days” is the word “nowadays.” These two expressions have precisely the same meaning (source).

Some other synonyms of “these days” include:

  • In this day and age
  • At present
  • At this time
  • In the contemporary age
  • Currently
  • Recently

You should use “recently” with the present perfect tense or present perfect continuous tense. Most of the other phrases are prepositional phrases you may use at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence. Ensure your meaning is clear in placement and context.

Using “These Days” in a Full Sentence

You can use “these days” at the beginning or end of a sentence. It is a time phrase, which means you can use it to explain when something happens or is happening. We almost always use it with either the simple present tense or the present continuous tense, although there are some exceptions.

Have a look at these examples: Which verb tense does each sentence feature? What do you notice about the placement of “these days”? What do you notice about commas in each example?

  • These days, I prefer to read non-fiction books.
  • We are exercising more and eating healthier these days.

Take note: when you use “these days” at the beginning of a sentence, you should put a comma after it. When it comes to a sentence’s end, it doesn’t need a comma.

In these examples, you can also see that we often use “these days” to show differences between past trends and current trends.

For instance, when we say, “We are exercising more and eating healthier these days,” we’re comparing how often we were exercising and how healthy we were eating in the past to the present.

In some rarer cases, we can use “these days” with the present perfect tense or the present perfect continuous tense. In these instances, the meaning of “these days” shifts slightly because it refers to the very recent past as well as the present. Check out this exception in action:

  • These days, the weather has been very cloudy.
  • The bus has been running late these days.

In both of these examples, the speaker is talking about trends or patterns from the recent past. They note that these patterns have started recently and expect these patterns to continue to the present. That’s why “these days” is the perfect time phrase! 

Demonstrative Adjectives 

In some cases, you can use “this,” “that,” “those,” and “these” to modify a noun. These words are demonstrative pronouns we use as adjectives, which means we use them to specify or explain a noun relative to its time and/or space (source). Like other adjectives, a demonstrative adjective comes right before the noun it modifies.

We use demonstrative adjectives to specify which noun we are talking about. For instance, if there are several notebooks on a desk and your friend asks which notebook is yours, you can point at one and say, “That notebook is mine.”

Here, when you point and say “that notebook,” you are modifying or explaining exactly which notebook you are talking about. In the same way, you can use common adjectives to describe the notebook and achieve the same effect.

Whether you use the demonstrative adjective “that notebook” or you explain “the small red notebook,” you are using adjectives to specify and modify a noun. So, demonstrative adjectives work the same way as common adjectives since you use them next to a noun and explain the noun they precede. 

We choose demonstrative adjectives based on the noun they modify: since “days” is a plural noun, we must use “these” instead of “this.” We also need to consider proximity when we’re choosing the demonstrative adjective. 

“Proximity” refers to how close or how far away something is from a relative point. In this case, the relative point is “now.” And since we want to talk about the present – that is, the time close to now – we should say “these days” instead of “those days.”

For more on how to use demonstrative adjectives, check out our article Is It Correct to Say “These Ones”?

Demonstrative Pronouns

Pronouns are words that we use to represent or stand in for other nouns. Some common pronouns include “it,” “she,” and “them.” Demonstrative pronouns are a type of pronoun we use to replace a thing or idea.

Image by Steve Johnson via Pexels

The word “demonstrative” comes from the verb “demonstrate.” Imagine that you are at a bakery where the server asks which pastry you want. You see a pastry that looks really delicious, but you don’t know its name. So, you point to it and say, “I want to eat that.” 

Here, your pointing is a demonstration: you use your pointing finger to demonstrate the exact pastry. At the same time, you use the demonstrative pronoun “that” to indicate the specific pastry you want to buy.

Basically, demonstrative pronouns include words like “this,” “that,” “those,” and “these.” You can use these words to replace a noun instead of repeating the noun. Now, let’s take a look at how we use “this” and “that” for ideas and other abstract objects. 

Using “This” and “That” to Replace Ideas

The demonstrative pronouns “this” and “that” are especially useful when referring to an idea or abstract thought. Have a look at this example:

  • The room was very dark, and that prevented the child from entering.

In this example, the word “that” is a pronoun that represents the dark state of the room or the fact that the room is dark. So, instead of repeating “the fact that the room was dark,” we can use the demonstrative pronoun “that” to represent the whole idea. 

Here’s another example:

  • We can’t eat breakfast before we go. This means we won’t eat until noon today.

In this example, we have two sentences. The first sentence explains a situation, fact, or state of being. Then, the second sentence explains the effect of this situation. In other cases, this second sentence might also explain the situation’s cause, reason, or outcome in the first sentence. 

In this case, the situation is about time and breakfast. The demonstrative pronoun “this” is the subject of the second sentence, which refers to the entire situation explained in the first sentence and then goes on to explain the effect or outcome of the situation. This article was written for

In a nutshell, we use demonstrative pronouns to represent another noun. Often, this noun is an abstract concept, idea, state of being, fact, or general situation. 

Final Thoughts

We use “these days” as an adverb phrase of time to explain a trend, event, or action that happens (or is happening) in the present. We can also use “these days” to compare and contrast past trends or actions with current ones. 

“These days” comprises one demonstrative adjective (“these”) and one plural noun (“days”). Here, the demonstrative pronoun “these” matches the plural noun and the close temporal proximity we need to explain the present time. 

Be careful that you don’t confuse “these days” with other similar time phrases, including “right now” or “in those days.” While these other time phrases may seem identical, they actually have different meanings.