How to parse this sentence

I saw this sentence today and have been trying to figure out how it works:

三月一日は日曜日で祝日、晴れの日でした。

The only grammar I’ve done is a single semester of Japanese in college a few years ago, so admittedly I am not actually equipped to understand anything beyond really really basic sentences (XはYです level) , but I found a translation that says:

“March 1st was a Sunday, which was sunny and a holiday.”

If it just said: 三月一日は日曜日でした。That’s a simple enough sentence for me to understand, but I’m struggling to figure out how で is working in the full sentence like that–no articles about how で works are helping–and why the comma is placed where it is?

My first instinct was that maybe this is structured like “AはXでY、Zでした”, so X, Y, and Z are a list of objects for A that are formed with で initially and then 、but I’m not seeing anything about that being a thing.

I know this is a novelty sentence so if the grammar is weird just for the sake of getting all the different readings of 日 I wouldn’t be surprised, but I’m curious nonetheless and would love to know if this is just some grammar point I’m not coming across.

Hopefully this isn’t a weird question, if I’m just super far off then feel free to roast me in the answer. Thanks!

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で is functioning like and. In Japanese if there is a long list, the and comes first, and the rest of the list is separated by commas. So they are saying "The first of march was Sunday, a national holiday, and sunny.

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In this case, で is the て-form of だ. So if you look up て-form you should find what you need.

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I think I understand now after looking at a couple て-form articles. Just to check, is it that you’re combining the three separate sentences:

三月一日は日曜日だ (March 1st is a Sunday)
三月一日は祝日だ (March 1st is a holiday)
三月一日は晴れの日だ (March 1st is sunny)

Into a single sentence by chaining the first two with で and then you can just list from there? (and using でした for past tense instead)

Would “三月一日は日曜日で祝日で晴れの日でした。” be a correct sentence as well?

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That would be correct, but I suspect it would sound a little unnatural, like saying it was sunday and sunny and a holiday and…

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Ah okay, makes sense. That would definitely sound a bit unnatural in English as well. Thanks for the help!

Yes, everything you wrote is correct.

I think the complicated part is that the sentences uses two different ways to connect parts. で is most easily translated as “and”, although, as seanblue has pointed out, it is actually the て-form of だ (to be). There is a rule that allows you to use the て-form to connect sentences, so if you use the て-form of だ, it would just literally be an “and”. And you can do the same thing with commas, although depending on the kind of word before the comma certain rules may apply, but you’ll encounter them eventually in your studies.

That’s technically grammatically correct I’d say, but it also sounds quite awkward. I believe the best way to translate “三月一日は日曜日でした。” to English and with the most similar connotation, would be “The 1st of March is a Sunday and holiday, and also a sunny day” or “The 1st of March, a sunny day, is a Sunday and a holiday”. I think that’s as close you can get unless there’s an even more identical grammatical English construction I’m not thinking of.

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I was thinking the opposite: “The 1st of March, a Sunday and holiday, was a sunny day”. Same general idea, just shifted emphasis. But honestly, I think every English translation sounds slightly awkward.


In any case, the important thing is that there are generally many ways of saying the same general idea, but some will be more natural or have different nuance. And of course every language will have its own conventions and quirks.

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Huh, I hadn’t actually noticed that. Neat.

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