How to Write Dates Correctly in English
If writing dates has you stymied at times, it is probably for one of two reasons. The first is that date formats vary the world over, and we come across these different styles frequently in our reading. The second may be that you aren’t quite sure how to write dates with commas .
The key to overcoming your struggle with dates is to understand the prevailing conventions and then apply them clearly—and consistently. Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing always looks great? Grammarly can save you from misspellings, grammatical and punctuation mistakes, and other writing issues on all your favorite websites.
How to Write the Year
Years should be expressed as numerals except at the beginning of a sentence. Most style guides agree that beginning a sentence with a numeral is poor style, so years placed at the beginning of a sentence should be written out as words. American writers tend not to use and after thousand when expressing a year after 2000 in words, but it is common in British English. Both are correct.
The year 1929 brought the Great Depression, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and an influenza epidemic.
Nineteen twenty-nine brought the Great Depression, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and an influenza epidemic.
Much happened in the political arena in 2016.
Two thousand and sixteen was an eventful year in politics.
Two thousand sixteen was an eventful year in politics.
How to Write the Month and Day
When referring to a specific date in the month-day date format , use cardinal numbers (one, two, three) rather than ordinal numbers (first, second, third). This may feel counterintuitive because we normally use ordinal numbers when we “speak” of dates. For example, one would say January first two thousand seventeen but write January 1, 2017 . In British English, ordinals can sometimes be used—it is acceptable to use them when writing dates, although it is not required, as our example shows.
Daniel was born on May 13 .
Many people get confused about how to write dates with commas , so here is a rule of thumb: in the month-day-year format (used in the United States), place commas after the day and year. In the day-month-year format (used in the UK and other countries), do not use commas at all.
On May 13th, 2007 Daniel was born.
On May 13, 2007, Daniel was born.
On 13 May, 2007, Daniel was born.
On 13 May 2007 Daniel was born.
If you use a construction using of , it is fine to use an ordinal number. It is also fine to use an ordinal number when referring to a specific day without reference to the month.
Daniel was born on the 13th of May .
Daniel was born on the thirteenth .
How to Write Dates with Days of the Week
When writing a long-form date, use a comma after days of the week to ensure readability.
How fortunate that the world did not end on Friday, December 21, 2012!
Monday, May 5, is my last day of work.
How to Write Centuries
Here’s a tip: When writing about whole centuries, do not use an apostrophe before s . Centuries are plurals, not possessives.
For example, when we write the 1800s , we are referring to all the years from 1800 to 1899. Within that range are one hundred discrete years; that is, more than one: a plural. We can also refer to those years collectively as the nineteenth century in all lowercase letters.
Women often wore bonnets in the 1800’s.
Women often wore bonnets in the 1800s.
Women often wore bonnets in the eighteen hundreds.
Women often wore bonnets in the Nineteenth Century.
Women often wore bonnets in the nineteenth century.
How to Write Decades
Here’s a tip: Decades should be written as two-digit numbers with an apostrophe before them and an s after them (e.g., ’90s ). When in doubt, write it out. You can write the entire decade in numerals with an s after it (e.g., 1990s ), or write out the words (e.g., the nineties ).
This is the way to think about writing decades using numbers: they are both abbreviations and plurals. A shorter way of saying “My mother was born in the 1940s” is “My mother was born in the ’40s.” The apostrophe (not an opening single quotation mark) indicates where the two century digits would be, had they been included. There is no need to put an apostrophe between the zero and the s —that would incorrectly indicate a possessive.
In the 80’s, I had a haircut like the lead singer of A Flock of Seagulls.
In the ’80s, I had a haircut like the lead singer of A Flock of Seagulls.
In the eighties, I had a haircut like the lead singer of A Flock of Seagulls.
Writing Dates as Numerals
All-numeral date styles should not be used in formal writing, but there may be times when it is appropriate to use them. When you do, be aware that not all countries express dates with numerals in the same way. American usage calls for a month/day/year date format , the United Kingdom and much of Europe use a day/month/year format , and most countries in Asia use the year/month/day format . Some countries use a combination of these depending on context (Canada, for example, uses all three, depending on who is the recipient of the communication).
So remember, if you are American and you write to your British friend inviting him to celebrate Independence Day on 7/4 with you, you can expect your guest to arrive on April 7 (which he will express as 7 April). Likewise, if he invites you to his Guy Fawkes Day party on 5/11, you will need to mark your calendar for November 5 rather than May 11.
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How to Write Dates
Last Updated: January 13, 2023
This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff . Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been viewed 404,667 times. Learn more...
Writing out the date can seem simple and oddly complicated at the same time. You only have a few pieces of information to convey, but there’s no one way to write the date. Instead, there are a handful of formatting varieties for different occasions, dialects, and purposes. When choosing a date format, use the one that will provide the most clarity to your audience. If you’re entering dates into a form, stick with a numerical format that can’t be confused. If you’re writing to an international recipient, consider spelling out the month or following the International Standard. In terms of formality, you can show respect on a formal document by writing out the entire date, but feel free to keep the date on an informal letter short and sweet.
Following Dialectical Standards
- October 9, 2022
- October ninth, 2022
- Sunday, October 9, 2022
- Placing a comma between the month and year in British English is optional.
- 9th October
- 9 October 2022
- Sunday the 9th of October 2022
- The 9th of October
- Sunday the ninth of October
- The 21st of June
- The 22nd of July
- The 23rd of August
- The 24th of September
- Note that numerals in the teens are followed by -th. So you’d write 11th, 12th, and 13th instead of 21st, 22nd, and 23rd.
- This tactic is less commonly used in American English but is still accepted.
- The same date, which would be 10/09/22 in American English but 09/10/22 in British English becomes 2022-10-09 in the International Standard.
- You could also write this date out as 2022 October 9. Don’t use commas between any of the data points.
- Always include the full 4-digit year when using this format.
Using Different Levels of Formality and Scope
- For an invitation, try “We request your presence on the fifth of April in the year two thousand and twenty.”
- Use this format to express courtesy and deference to the reader and the occasion.
- When identifying an event or occasion, write “on” before a day. If you omit the day, insert “in” before the month or year.
- In British English, you could write “she was born on 8 May 1883” or “she was born on the 8th of May 1883.”
- In American English, try “she was born on May 8, 1883” or “she was born in May 1883.”
- You can include the date in MM/DD/YY format at the top of a greeting card so your recipient knows when it was written.
- A museum database may use the YYYY-MM-DD format to identify when an object was acquired.
- You may be asked to provide your date of birth in MM-DD-YYYY format on a government form.
Formatting Numerical Dates
- Stick with hyphens for the International Standard. The same date would be written as 2003-23-11 in this format.  X Research source
- For instance, you could use either 3/2/15 or 03/02/15.
- In a list of dates, 03/02/15 would be the same length as 12/02/15.
- If you use 3/2/15 in your list, the earlier date may incorrectly be sorted after the later date. This happens because the first digit in the March date (3) is larger than the first digit in the December date (1). Add a “0” to prevent this error.
- Use a “0” before single-digit days and months as needed.
- If you’re asked to provide the date as MM/DD/YY you could write 05/12/94.
- If you’re asked for DD-MM-YYYY, this date would be 12-05-1994.
- You may see these letters without any separation on some forms. For DDMMYY, simply enter 120594 unless otherwise noted.
- When writing the date, tailor your formatting to your audience. If you’re writing for an international audience, use a format that cannot be confused, such as the International Standard or one with the month spelled out. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/time-date.htm
- ↑ http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/frank/KISS/kiss16.htm
- ↑ https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/writing/dates
- ↑ https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/style-and-usage/how-to-formally-write-the-date.html
About This Article
To write dates informally, you can use numerals and dashes or backslashes between the day, month, and year to keep the dates short. For single digit days and months, you can choose to write the single digit or use a zero in front of the digit. Write out the month as a word instead of using the numeral in slightly more formal situations. In formal situations, like when you're writing invitations or letters, you can use words instead of numerals for the entire date. For tips on using the correct sequence when writing dates, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Write the Date in a Document
- 18th May 2018
In an era of calendar apps, we don’t have to write the date down often. But this does mean that it’s easy to forget the rules for writing dates in different places. It’s lucky, then, that we’re here to help!
Writing the Date in Full
In formal writing , always write the date in full when it is part of a sentence. This usually involves giving the day of the month, the month, and the year:
The meeting will take place on April 21, 2019 .
Note that the year follows after a comma. You can, however, use a few different formats. This can include omitting the year or adding the day of the week. In addition, you can use ordinal instead of cardinal numbers when writing the date out in full with the day before the month:
- Thursday, October 3
- Tuesday, August 6, 2019
- The 21st of April 2019
The letters that follow the numbers above are a little old fashioned, but they are not incorrect. You may also see these numbers formatted as superscript . Whichever date format you use, however, make sure to apply it consistently for all dates in your document.
Abbreviating the Date
In less formal writing, or when the date is not part of the main text in a document, you can abbreviate the month to save space. For instance, “August 20, 2019” could be abbreviated to “Aug. 20, 2019.” The same can be done with days (e.g., “Tuesday” becomes “Tue.”).
Typically, the first three letters are used as the abbreviation for any day or month. However, some style guides (e.g., MLA ) recommend only doing this for months with more than five letters.
Writing the Date as Numerals
You can also write the date as numerals. The format to use here is month/day/year. There are, however, a number of variations, including:
- Whether to put a “0” before single-digit months and days
- Whether to write the year in full or just the last two digits
- How to punctuate the date
For example, we could write March 4, 2019 in any of the following ways:
The best format is a matter of preference, as long as you use it consistently. However, you should also keep clarity in mind. For instance, if referring to something that could have happened in either 1902 or 2002, you should always give the year in full to prevent confusion!
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Other Date Formats
We should now give a few thoughts to the rest of the world. After all, the month/day/year format used in the US is not really used anywhere else (except for the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands).
Around the rest of the world, the most common format is day/month/year (e.g., in the UK and Australia). A few places also use a year/month/day format (e.g., China), but this is very rare in English.
This variation is especially important to remember with numeric dates, as it can be easy to get confused unless you know the format.
For instance, “4/10/2019” would refer to April 10 in the US, but it would refer to October 4 in Britain or France. So make sure to check the date format being used when dealing with other countries, otherwise you might be very early or very late for appointments in Europe!
The International Date Format
Finally, if you’re sharing information across the world, you may want to use the international date format (ISO 8601) . This is a standardized format that works across borders, so it is commonly used by government organizations and global businesses. And it always uses the format YYYY-MM-DD, which removes any chance of confusion:
We sent the invoice on 2020-07-10 .
The date above, for example, denotes July 10, 2020.
If you want to be sure the dates in your documents are always clear and correct, don’t forget to have your writing proofreading. Submit a trial document for free today to find out more.
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How to Write the Date Correctly
Krystal N. Craiker
Blog Manager and Indie Author
Writing dates can be confusing. Where do the commas go? What if you need to include the day of the week?
Today, we’re teaching you how to write the date correctly every time.
Most of this article will focus on the American date format, but we will cover the differences between British and American English date formats, too.
How to Write Dates
Correct date format in british english, how to write the date and time in a sentence, write dates consistently.
One reason writing dates is so confusing is that there are so many options.
How to write the date varies based on geography, the circumstance, such as how formal you need to be, whether you need the year, and whether you’re using purely numerical forms.
We’ve broken down the different date formats, so you know how to write the date in every situation.
The month-day-year date is the most common format used in America.
When you need to write the entire date, place a comma after the day. Here’s what it looks like:
- July 4, 1776
When we see the date, we read the day in our heads, or out loud, as ordinal numbers. However, it’s not necessary to actually use ordinal numbers (e.g. 4th) when you write the day.
When you write the month-day-year format in the middle of a sentence, place another comma after the year.
- America was founded on July 4, 1776, when the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.
Writing just the month and day is simple. Just leave off the comma and the year.
When you write the month-day format in the middle of a sentence, only place a comma after the day if the date ends a dependent clause or introductory phrase. Never place a comma after the month.
- We go every July 4 to see fireworks.
- Because it’s July 4, we are going to see fireworks.
Just like when you include the year, there’s no need to write the ordinal number form of the day.
The only time the date should include an ordinal number is when the format is inverted and the word “of” is included. Here’s an example from a famous folk song:
- I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy! Yankee Doodle do-or-die. A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam, born on the 4th of July.
In this form, you can use numeric or word formats for the ordinal numbers: 4th or fourth.
Sometimes, we only need to write dates with the month and year. We might refer to a general time frame, or we may not know the exact date of something.
As with other date formats, don’t include a comma between the month and year. Only place a comma after the year if the date ends a dependent clause or introductory phrase.
Let’s look at a few examples of how to write the month and year.
- Her baby is due in June 2022.
- In June 2022, she will have her baby.
With the Day of the Week
When writing dates with the day of the week, always place a comma between the day of the week and the rest of the date. Then, follow the above rules for the rest of the date.
This is one type of date format where the comma rule is the same for British English: you always put a comma after the day of the week.
Here are some examples of how to write the date with the day of the week. Please note these examples are using the American date format.
- Saturday, April 2, 2022
- The wedding is Saturday, April 2, 2022.
- The wedding takes place Saturday, April 2, 2022, at the Bellagio Chapel in Vegas.
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We don’t always write dates by spelling out the month. Often, we use an all-numeric date format, such as when we sign a form, take notes, or write in a diary.
Typically, we don’t use the purely numerical form when writing the date in a sentence. In those situations, use the rules above and spell out the month.
When you do write the date with just numbers, there are a few ways you can format it. However, you should always use the month-day-year format for American English.
There are a few accepted punctuation marks for numeric dates: hyphens , slashes , and periods . In American dates, hyphens and slashes are the most common.
It’s also acceptable to omit the zero in the month or day, if the number is less than 10. However, some online forms will require you to use a zero.
You can use either four digits or two digits for the year. Only use two-digit numbers if it’s clear which century you’re talking about.
If it’s a birthdate of a living person, we can deduce whether the year occurred in the 1900s or 2000s.
Now, let’s take a look at several ways we might write the same date in the numerical format.
Selecting one of these date formats is usually a matter of personal preference, although if you have a style guide for your writing, defer to its formatting.
The important thing is to be consistent with whichever format you choose.
Years, Decades, and Centuries
Years, decades, and centuries can be confusing to write. Let’s look at each type in more detail.
When we write the year, we typically use a four-digit format.
We saw in the previous section that we can use a two-digit year in the numeric form. Both four digits and two digits are correct and are a matter of personal preference.
But sometimes we reference a year in a sentence and only use two-digits. In this case, we place an apostrophe before the digits. The apostrophe replaces the century of a four-digit year.
- I bought a ’69 Camaro.
We don’t always use a two-digit format in a sentence. You could say, “I bought a 1969 Camaro.” But when you choose to use only two-digits in a sentence, the apostrophe is required.
Remember, the apostrophe is not required when you write an entire, exact date in numerical form.
When we write years out in long form, you can include “and” after “thousand,” or you can omit it. American English tends to omit the “and,” but it's correct either way.
- Correct: Two thousand eight was when I graduated high school.
- Correct: Two thousand and eight was when I graduated high school.
Apostrophe rules get tricky when we write decades. When we reference a decade, the rules for writing plurals apply: never use apostrophes for plural words. For decades, never put an apostrophe between the decade and the /s/.
- Incorrect: I love listening to the hair bands of the 1980’s.
- Correct: I love listening to the hair bands of the 1980s.
If you omit the first two digits, place an apostrophe before the decade number. You still shouldn’t put an apostrophe before the /s/.
- Incorrect: I love listening to the hair bands of the 80’s.
- Incorrect: I love listening to the hair bands of the ’80’s.
- Correct: I love listening to the hair bands of the ’80s.
You can also write the decade in word form, e.g. “eighties.”
Similarly to decades, if you reference a century in a four-digit format, do not place an apostrophe before the /s/.
- Incorrect: I love the fashion of 1700’s.
- Correct: I love the fashion of the 1700s.
Adding an apostrophe to plurals is a common writing error. ProWritingAid will point out unnecessary apostrophes in your plural numbers.
When you write centuries in the ordinal form, add the correct suffix after the number or use the word format. There’s no need to capitalize the word form.
- Correct: I love 18th-century fashion.
- Correct: I love eighteenth-century fashion.
British English uses a different date format in which the month and day are inverted (day-month-year). In British English, dates do not need commas before or after the year, even in a sentence.
- 11 November 1918
- Armistice Day on 11 November 1918 marked the end of World War I.
The inverted format also applies to numeric dates, e.g. 14/2/2017.
We’ve seen several examples of how to write the date in a sentence. Writing the time in a sentence is simple.
You can write the time in a sentence as hour:minute plus a.m. or p.m. If you’re using a 24-hour time format, the a.m. or p.m. is not required.
You can also leave it off if it’s clear what time of day something occurs. Here’s what this looks like:
- I get out of school at 3:45 p.m.
- I get out of school at 3:45. (The p.m. is not necessary because we can assume you don’t get out of school at 3:45 a.m.)
- I get out of school at 15:45.
If the time that you’re writing occurs on the hour, you can also write “o’clock.” Instead of a.m. or p.m., describe the time of day if necessary.
- He will be there at four o’clock.
- He will be there at four o’clock in the afternoon.
If you need to write both the time and date, just combine the rules. Here are two examples:
- My flight arrives on December 13 at 10:40 a.m.
- Your appointment is at 2 o’clock on February 27, 2022.
There are many ways to write a date, but it’s important to use the same format consistently throughout your writing.
ProWritingAid’s Consistency Report can check for consistent mechanics, like dates, punctuation, spelling variations, and more.
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20 Editing Tips from Professional Writers
Whether you are writing a novel, essay, article, or email, good writing is an essential part of communicating your ideas., this guide contains the 20 most important writing tips and techniques from a wide range of professional writers..
Krystal N. Craiker is the Writing Pirate, an indie romance author and blog manager at ProWritingAid. She sails the seven internet seas, breaking tropes and bending genres. She has a background in anthropology and education, which brings fresh perspectives to her romance novels. When she’s not daydreaming about her next book or article, you can find her cooking gourmet gluten-free cuisine, laughing at memes, and playing board games. Krystal lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, child, and basset hound. Check out her website or follow her on Instagram: @krystalncraikerauthor.
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How to Write the Date in a Paper
Most high school and college classes require that students use Modern Language Association, American Psychological Association or "Chicago Manual of Style" guidelines when writing an academic paper. Each style is used for a different academic area. MLA style is used for languages and literature, APA is used for science and Chicago is used for the humanities. When including a date in the text of your paper, you must follow the guidelines for the style appropriate to your subject.
Review your course syllabus to determine which style guide your instructor requires. Contact your instructor if the information isn't listed and ask what style is acceptable.
If you’re writing in MLA style, list the date, month and then year. Do not use commas. For example: 14 March 1985 or March 1985.
If you’re writing in APA style, list the month, date and then year. Insert a comma after the date. For example: June 15, 2005 or May 2004.
If you’re writing in Chicago style, list the month, date and then year. Insert a comma after the date. For example: June 15, 2005 or May 2004.
- You can find hard copies of the style guides at most public libraries.
- Be aware that you need to format dates in bibliographies differently than dates appearing in text. Refer to the appropriate style guide for further direction on how to create bibliographies.
- 1 Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Formatting and Style Guide
- 2 Purdue Online Writing Lab: APA Abbreviations
About the Author
Rachel Spradling is a writer and editor with over 14 years of experience writing everything from political commentary to training manuals. She graduated from California State University, Chico with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Spradling's work has appeared in "CitiZen" magazine, "Watershed" and "News and Review."
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How to write the date correctly
Writing dates in English can be done in a variety of ways. Here are some common ways to write dates in British and American English, or you can skip straight to tips for writing dates for IELTS by clicking the jump links.
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The date format in british english, how to write the date in numbers, the date format in american english, other date formats, using the correct date format for ielts, the correct date format for ielts writing, the correct date format for ielts listening, the correct date format for ielts speaking.
What is the correct date format in English? How you do this usually depends on whether you write a formal letter or an informal note, or whether your use the British or American date format. As you can see from the examples below, there are a number of ways in which you can write the same date. A general rule: the more complicated the style of date, the more formal it is.
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In British English, which is the type of English mainly used in Australia, the day is followed by the month, which is then followed by the year. The 6th day of the month September, in the year 2019, might be written in full (in order of complexity):
6 September 2019
6th September 2019
the 6th of September 2019
the 6th of September, 2019
The last two date formats are more formal. The “the” and “of” are optional but if you do use them, you must add both “the” and “of.” It is incorrect to say only “6th of September” or “the 6th September.”
As for the year, commas are not necessary when you write the date in British English, but you can if you prefer this style.
If you wish to add the name of the day, it should come before the date, and should either be separated by a comma or joined by “the” and “of.”
Saturday, 13 April 2019
Saturday the 13th of April, 2019
If you prefer to abbreviate the date, you can use the following style in British English. Again, the day comes first, then the month, then the year.
6/9/19 or 6.9.19 or 6-9-19
06/09/2019 or 06.09.2019 or 06-09-2019
9Sept2019 or 6-Sept-19
The most commonly used separator in the all-numeric date format is a forward slash (/). However, you can also use a hyphen (-) or a period (.).
When you prefer to write the date in American English, usually the month comes before the day, followed by the year. If we use the same example as before: The 6th day of the month September, in the year 2019, then the date in American English should be written as:
September 6, 2019
Monday, September 6, 2019
Dates written as April the 13th or April 13th are not incorrect, but are less common in American English.
In American English, if you want to write the date in all-numeric, you will need to use the following style. Here, too, the month comes first, then the day, then the year.
04/13/19 or 04.13.19 or 04-13-19
04/13/2019 or 04.13.2019 or 04-13-2019
Apr. 13, 2019
The International Standard
In an effort to avoid miscommunication between people using the British date format and those using the American date format, an International Standard was developed. If an Australian writes February 3, 2019 as 03/02/2019, but an American writes the same date as 02/03/2019, who’s right? The international standard recommends writing the date as year, then month, then the day: YYYY-MM-DD. So if both Australians and Americans used this, they would both write the date as 2019-02-03.
Writing the date this way avoids confusion by placing the year first. Much of Asia uses this form when writing the date. For example:
January 1, 2018 would be written as 2018 January 1. (Did you notice there’s no comma?).
Whatever the format, in British English, dates are usually written in the order day – month – year, while in American English they are written month – day – year. For IELTS, you can use both date formats.
For IELTS, it doesn’t matter if you use American English spelling, or British English. Both are acceptable. However, you should pay attention to the tone of your letter: writing an email to a friend is different than writing a formal letter to your employer. The use of your date format should be appropriate to tone of the letter. For example, in a formal letter, you wouldn’t use contractions (you should write cannot instead of can’t, or would not instead of wouldn’t). If the IELTS Writing task tells you to start with “Dear Sir or Madam” (which indicates it’s a formal letter), you should try to use a formal datestyle.
IELTS Writing tip: With the exception of May and June, months can be shortened as follows: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, Jul, Aug, Sept/Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
In formal American English or British English, you never want to omit the year (e.g. 20 November or November 20). You also want to avoid a purely numerical form for the date (e.g. 20/11/2019 or 11/20/2019). For example, if you were to write a formal business letter, you’d write out the entire date, including the full month. In British English, you could write the date as 6th September 2019. In American English, you could use September 6, 2019.
IELTS Writing tip: Remember, the first letter of each month is always written in capital letters.
Dates in informal writing
If your task requires a less formal response (for example a letter to a friend), a shorter date format can be used. This typically uses only numbers separated by full stops or slashes, rather than writing out the month. Shortening the year is also acceptable, such as in the following:
You can also write out the date but shorten the month to save space:
8 December 2019 → 8 Dec 2019
7 October → 7 Oct
If you’re not sure about your IELTS Writing, get in touch with the professionals and get some coaching to increase your IELTS score.
The first tip for your listening test: Be careful to note word limits. If there is an instruction in the question: “Write no more than two words,” writing more than two words will mean you will receive no marks at all for your answer, even if some of the words are correct.
When you are writing dates as an answer to any question, remember that there are several correct ways to write them (e.g. 24th April, April 24 and 24 April are all correct).
A second tip: When writing the date in the IELTS Listening test, you can write dates as numbers such as 19/02 or 02/19 (for 19 February). This eliminates spelling mistakes and complies with questions that only allow 1-word answers.
Need some further practice with IELTS Listening ? Check our free online preparation material or attend an IELTS Masterclass near you.
As you’ve seen before, in written English you may write a normal (cardinal) number without the “th” or “st” etc. after it. Even if it is not written, the ordinal number is still said in spoken English. In American English, it is not common to put the -th after the number in written English.
Speaking test tip: Practise the pronunciation of numbers to be sure that your meaning is clear. For example, many numbers can sound very similar when spoken, so be sure to say them clearly, e.g. ‘Thirty’ and ‘Thirteen’, ‘Forty’ and ‘Fourteen’, ‘Fifty’ and ‘Fifteen’, etc.
Let’s have a look at how you can say the date correctly in your IELTS Speaking test:
30 March 1993
American English: ‘March the thirtieth, nineteen ninety-three’ or ‘March thirtieth, nineteen ninety-three’
British English: ‘the thirtieth of March, nineteen ninety-three’
1 December 2017
American English: ‘December the first, twenty seventeen’ or ‘December first, two thousand and seventeen’
British English: ‘the first of December, twenty seventeen’
How do you say years in English?
When you are talking about years, this is how you would say the year correctly in English:
1100 = ‘eleven hundred’
1309 = ‘thirteen hundred and nine’ or ‘thirteen ‘oh’ nine’
1678 = ‘sixteen (hundred and) seventy-eight’
1910 = ‘nineteen (hundred and) ten’
1946 = ‘nineteen (hundred and) forty-six’
2000 = ‘two thousand’
2007 = ‘two thousand and seven’ or ‘twenty ‘oh’ seven’
2019 = ‘two thousand and nineteen’ or ‘twenty nineteen’
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How to Write Dates Correctly
To write the exact date, spell out the month, and write the day and the year in numerals. The American date format is month-day-year, with a comma between day and year ( May 1, 2022) , while the British format is day-month-year, with no comma between month and year ( 1 May 2022 ). Don’t use ordinal numbers in dates in formal texts ( May 1 st , 2022 ). You may also show the day of the week ( Sunday, May 1, 2022 ).
If only the month and year are shown, don’t insert a comma between the two ( May 2022 ). To specify the day alone, write it as an ordinal number ( We arrive on the first ).
Date: Month, day, and year
The American date format is month-day-year. In running text, spell out the month, and write the day and year in numerals. Use commas to separate day and year. Don’t use ordinals ( st , nd , rd , th ).
- The Declaration of Independence was issued on July 4, 1776 .
- They were married on October 25, 2019, on a beach in the Maldives.
- On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden became president of the United States.
To set off the year, use commas in pairs: a comma must appear not just before but also after the year.
- Incorrect: It was on August 14, 1945 that an armistice was finally declared. Correct: It was on August 14, 1945, that an armistice was finally declared.
The British date format is day-month-year. The day and year are written in numerals, and the month is spelled out. No comma is needed between month and year. This system is also followed in much of Europe and the rest of the world.
- On 15 August 1947 , India gained independence from Britain.
- The Channel Tunnel opened on 6 May 1992 , linking London and Paris by rail.
- The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 .
Date: Month and year
When only month and year are specified, the month appears before the year. No comma is needed between the two.
- Twitter was founded in March 2006 and launched later that year.
- In January 2020 , reports of a new respiratory virus emerged from China.
- Farley first lost the lottery in November 1997 .
The preposition “of” between month and year is unnecessary and omitted in formal writing.
- This report was originally published in May of 2015 .
Date: Day and month
When it is clear which year is being referred to, you may indicate only day and month. Spell out the month, and write the day in numerals. Remember that day follows month in American usage. Don’t use ordinal numbers ( st , nd , rd , th ).
- Her birthday is November 23 .
- The last day to submit your applications is February 10 .
- On May 11 this year, our astronauts landed on Venus.
In British and other European writing, the day appears before the month.
- My daughter was born on 23 November last year.
- The deadline is 10 February .
- On 11 May this year, our astronauts landed on Mars.
The use of ordinal numbers ( st , nd , rd , th ) in dates is unnecessary. Avoid it in formal writing.
- Poor: The Durandians landed on July 19th at 3 p.m. Better: The Durandians landed on July 19 at 3 p.m.
In creative and other informal writing, the day and the month are often shown in words.
- They were married on the nineteenth of September last year.
Date: The day alone
When only the day is mentioned, spell out single-digit numbers. Two-digit days may be either spelled out or written in numerals. Use ordinal numbers ( st , nd , rd , th ).
- We woke up early on the morning of the fifth .
- We’ll reach on the sixteenth ( or the 16th ).
Style guides differ in their recommendations on whether to write numbers in numerals or words. Numbers under 10 are generally spelled out. The Chicago Manual of Style recommends spelling out two-digit numbers as well, while the AP Stylebook and APA Publication Manual suggest using figures for numbers from 10 onward.
When using figures, don’t set the ordinal in superscript (16th, not 16 th ).
Date with day of the week
To show a day of the week alongside a date, write the day followed by a comma, and then write the date. This can be helpful in appointments and invitations.
- American: The apocalypse was expected to happen on Saturday, May 21, 2011 .
- British: The conference starts on Monday, 8 August 2022 .
The date in numerals
Dates may be written in all numerals . A numeric date format is used when the date is standalone—for example, in a signature. The U.S. date format is month-day-year, while the day-month-year format is followed by the UK and other nations. Slashes or hyphens are used to separate the parts of the date.
- American : Signed 5-11-21 for May 11, 2021 British: Signed 11-5-21 for 11 May 2021
- American: Dated 11/5/2021 for November 5, 2021 British: Dated 5/11/2021 for 5 November 2021
All-numeric dates are also written in the YYYY-MM-DD format, as specified by the ISO . This internationally agreed way to show dates is common in government, corporate, and other official usage. One of the benefits of this system is that it makes for easier sorting and storage of files and folders. In file names and data entries, hyphens are generally omitted.
- Please submit all applications by 2023-05-01 . referring to May 1, 2023
- Application_ 20230501 date in a file name
The date in words
Dates are generally written in words rather than numerals in creative writing and legal documents. Spell out the day and the month, but use numerals for the year.
- Where were you on the night of the fifteenth at 11 p.m.?
- On the twenty-second of January 2021 , an object landed in Farley’s garden.
- They left on the first of December .
In formal writing, follow the prescribed format of writing the day and year in figures and spelling out the month.
- American: On January 22, 2021, an object landed in Farley’s garden. British: On 22 January 2021 , an object landed in Farley’s garden.
- American: They left on December 1 . British: They left on 1 December .
The month abbreviated
When part of a specific date, the month may be abbreviated . Write the first three letters of the month, followed by a period . Don’t abbreviate May, June, and July. In formal writing, abbreviations for dates are useful in tables and charts but avoided in running text.
- Jan. 9, 1997
- Feb. 24, 2022
- May 1, 1997
In British style, the form is day-month-year.
- 9 Jan. 1997
- 24 Feb. 2022
In AP style, the abbreviations Jan. , Feb. , Aug. , Sept. , Oct. , Nov. , and Dec. are used. The remaining months are not abbreviated.
Periods may be omitted in informal usage, if there are space constraints, or in a fixed format, such as a table. The months June and July are also then abbreviated.
- Jan 9, 2021
- Jun 11, 2023
- 29 Dec 2051
On vs. in with dates
Use on with a date with the exact day. Use in to refer to the month or the year.
- Your flight departs on August 3, 2022 .
- Your flight departs on the third of August .
- The restaurant will reopen in August 2022 .
- The restaurant will reopen in August .
- The restaurant will reopen in 2022 .
Quick Quiz Quick Quiz
Place a comma between the day and the year in a date.
No comma is necessary between the month and the year in a date.
No comma is needed between the month and the year in a date.
Ordinals are not used in dates in formal writing.
Did You Know? Did You Know?
How to Write Dates in English: Formats and Rules
Reading and writing dates in English can be confusing, especially for non-native speakers. Inside, you will find information about different formats, along with the essential rules to follow.
Most Common Date Formats in English
The difference between american and british date formats, how to write the month and day, how to write the year, how to write centuries, how to write dates with days of the week, rules for writing dates in english: an overview.
Some things are so deeply ingrained in our lives we barely notice them, although we see and use them every day. One of such things are dates – we see them every time we look at our smartphones, we use them for making plans or for writing invitations for special occasions. But have you ever paid attention to the date format you use?
When it comes to writing dates in English, there are a few things you need to know. For instance, while there is one commonly used date format, there are also separate rules on how to write the year, the month, and day, and even centuries.
In this article, we will cover all of these topics and provide you with writing tips to write dates correctly in English and avoid misunderstandings with your English-speaking friends or colleagues. Let’s get started!
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- The most common way for writing dates in English is to use day/month/year format.
- American English speakers use the month/day/year format.
- Another way to write the date in English is to add the day of the week first, followed by the day and then the month.
- You can also use the international standard for writing dates in English – write the year first, followed by the month and then the day.
- In both American and British English, you can abbreviate the name of the month.
- When writing dates with days of the week, use the following order: the day of the week, month, day, year.
The most common way for writing dates in English is to use day/month/year format (also denoted as DD/MM/YYYY). For example, if you were writing the date for the fifth of January , 2022, you would write it as 05/01/22.
However, there are also other ways to write dates in the English language. Americans use the month/day/year format – again, in a purely numerical form. This way, the same date, January fifth, would be written as 01/05/2022.
Another way to write the date in English is to add the day of the week first, followed by the day and then the month. So, the same date would be written as Friday, 5 January 2022.
And finally, you can use the international standard for writing dates in English – write the year first, followed by the month and then the day (also known as YYYY/MM/DD format). This way, the same date would be written as 2022/01/05.
Note that the numerical format of date writing is generally used informally or when there’s limited space. If you choose the all-numeric date format, there are always two slashes or hyphens to separate the parts of the date – one between the day and month, and another one between the month and year.
The two most commonly used date formats come from British and American English . The British English date format is day/month/year, while the month/day/year format occurs in American usage.
In the American English date format, the month is written as a word (January, March, November, etc.), followed by the day of the month and then the year. The year can be written with two digit numbers (22 for 2022) or four (2022). When writing a date with a day of the week, the order is: day of the week, month, day, year. For example:
- Tuesday, January 5, 2022.
The British English date format is nearly the same, but the day is written first, followed by the full month (e.g. September, April, June) and then the year. However, no comma is necessary in a date in British English. For example:
- Tuesday, 5 January 2022.
As such, the main difference between British and American English date formats is that an American writes the month before the day, while the British date format puts the day before the month.
Now let’s take a closer look at how to write each part of an entire date:
You can write the month with either two digits or spell it out in full, both forms are correct. Using a number to indicate the month is the most common, and it is generally written in informal situations. The full name of the month should be used in formal writing , such as a business letter, a resume, or a legal document.
In both British and American forms, the name of the month can be abbreviated if it’s a part of a specific date. In order to abbreviate the month, you should write its first three letters, followed by a period. The only exceptions are May, June, and July. For example:
- BrEn: 5 Jan. 2022.
- AmEn: Jan. 5, 2022.
However, it is recommended to avoid abbreviations in formal writing unless they’re used to save space like in tables or on charts.
When it comes to the day of the month, ordinal numbers (e.g. 1st, 2nd, 3rd) are usually omitted in American formal writing, although they are frequently used in speech. Similarly, in British usage, it would be best to use a cardinal number (e.g. 1, 2, 3) when writing the date in formal situations.
In both the American and British date formats, the year can be written with either two or four digits. The two-digit year is the most common form, and it is generally used in informal writing. The four-digit year is used when writing formal documents or in business correspondence – for example, a formal business letter or a contract agreement.
Note that if the year is placed at the beginning of a sentence, it should be written out as words. For example:
- Two thousand twenty was an uneventful year due to the pandemic.
Centuries can be written in different ways, too. You can use an ordinal number as an abbreviation (18th) or the full form followed by the word "century" (the eighteenth century), you can also write it with numbers (the 1800s) Note that you don’t need to use an apostrophe after writing numbers, as centuries are plurals, not possessives.
When writing dates with days of the week, use the following order: the day of the week, month, day, year. To make the long-form date easier to read, use a comma after the day of the week. Here are the examples:
- BrEn: Monday, 5 January 2022.
- AmEn: Monday, January 5, 2022.
As you can see, there are several different date formats in the English language, each one with its own nuances and recommended usage. While all of them are perfectly acceptable, remember to stick to the same format in your writing to make it look unified and professional.
When in doubt, remember that the British format of writing day/month/year is the most commonly used format outside of the US. In order not to get confused by so many rules, here are several key of them you need to keep in mind every time you write the date in English:
- When writing the year, you can either write the full four digits (2022) or just the last two digits (22).
- When writing the month, you can either write the full name (January) or its abbreviated form (Jan).
- When writing the day, you can either write the ordinal number (1st) or just the numeral (1).
- When writing centuries, you can either write the full word (the seventeenth century) or write numbers (17th or 1700s).
- When writing dates with days of the week, you should separate them by a comma.
Now you know the basics of how to write dates in English. Americans use the format of month/day/year, but there are other ways to write dates as well. If you’re traveling or doing business in other countries, it’s important to be aware of the date format they use. When in doubt, stick to the international standard in order to avoid confusion.
The most important thing to remember when writing dates is to be consistent. Once you’ve chosen a format, use the same format throughout your document. This will make it easier for your reader to understand and follow along. With a little practice, you’ll be writing dates like a pro in no time.
You should also consider downloading our Langster app , which is full of bite-sized stories that will allow you to see various date formats in different contexts and read them correctly. Good luck!
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How to Write the Date Properly in Different Ways
- DESCRIPTION write the date
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It’s easy to get confused about how to write the date in various situations. Whether you need to write the date in a formal letter or put a date on your wedding invitation , these guidelines can help you do it properly. It also helps to learn how people around the world write today’s date in numbers.
How to Write the Date Around the World
Did you know that people around the world write the date in different ways? Depending on where you are, you may put things in a completely different order. This change in format is called “endianness,” and it comes from Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift . In Gulliver’s Travels , there is one political faction committed to breaking their eggs open on the large side and another faction just as committed to breaking their eggs open on the small side. The large-side faction are called the “Big Endians,” and the small-side group are called the “Little Endians.” At some point in history, these terms became associated with the way different societies write the date. Writing it day-first is the little endian format, while writing it year-first is the big endian format.
How to Write the Date in America
Americans are middle endians. They write the date as month/day/year. For example, the fourth day in January would be written like this:
- January 4, 2005
In formal U.S. writings, you never want to omit the year or use a purely numerical form for the date. For example, if you were to write a formal business letter, you'd write out the entire date, including the full month (January 4, 2005). Writing it out in such a way allows the notation to be understood by everyone.
The United States is one of the only places in the world that uses this date format. Belize and Micronesia also use this format and it is secondary in Canada and the Philippines. The rest of the world has a different order.
Using the European Date Format
Europeans are little endians. In European countries and most other places in the world, the day comes first, then the month, and then the year. The fourth day in January would be written like this:
- 4 January 2005
In formal European writings, the date is typically written in a similar fashion to the American version. So January 4, 2005 would simply have the month and day switched around, making it 4 January 2005. Notice in a formal European version of the date, there's no comma. The comma separating the date from the year is an Americanism that the Europeans do not follow.
Here are some of the regions that format their date in the Day/Month/Year format:
- Central America (except Belize)
- South America
Writing the Date in Other Places
Other places in the world use the big endian form, which seeks to avoid confusion by placing the year first. Much of Asia uses this form when writing the date.
Here's an example:
- January 1, 2018 would be written as 2018 January 1. Notice there's no comma.
Interestingly, in Hungary, a comma isn't used when writing the date either. Instead, there's a dot after the year. Also, the first letter of the month isn't capitalized.
- 2018. január 1
The International Standard
So many systems for one simple concept, right? In an effort to avoid international miscommunication, the International Standard ISO 8601 was created. If an American writes May 3, 1988 as 05/03/1988 but an Italian writes May 3, 1988 as 03/05/1988, who's to know what's what?
Because of this, the ISO 8601 is as follows:
- YYYY-MM-DD (2017-03-30)
How to Write the Date in Words
In very formal situations, such as invitations or business letters , you may need to write the date in words. You can do this properly in a couple of ways:
- The fifth of June two thousand twenty
- June fifth, two thousand twenty
More Considerations for Writing the Date
There are certain rules that can be a bit unclear when it comes to writing the date. Keep these tips in mind.
How to Write the Date With Commas
One of the most challenging aspects of writing the date is knowing whether you should use a comma. It all depends on the format.
In the month-first format used in America, use a comma after the day and before the year: January 4, 2005. In the day-first format used in Europe, you don’t need to use a comma.
However, with either format, you’ll need to use a comma after a date if it is part of an introductory phrase:
- Correct: On January 4, 2005, Ella was born.
- Incorrect: On January 4, 2005 Ella was born.
Starting a Sentence With a Date
If you start a new sentence with a date, you should avoid using a numerical symbol as the first character in the sentence. In this case, write out the number or reword the sentence.
- Incorrect: 1945 brought the end of World War II.
- Correct: Nineteen forty-five brought the end of World War II.
- Correct: World War II came to an end in 1945.
Using Dashes vs. Slashes
When writing the date with numbers only, they may be separated by a hyphen (-), slash (/), or dot (.) Most formal writings will accept a slash (/). Notice, however, that the ISO standard uses hyphens (-).
It's fair to say these methods are interchangeable. When writing an academic paper, you'll want to consult your professor's preferred method of citation. When filling out official documents or forms, note the instructions and sample text carefully.
Whether to Use Abbreviations
As a rule of thumb, abbreviated versions of words are far less formal, and that includes dates. In a less formal situation, you might use numbers or abbreviations for months. However, if you are writing the date in an academic paper or other formal situation, you’ll need to spell out the words.
Make Their Formatting Your Primary Objective
Ultimately, the way you write the date will depend on the situation. Before you decide, think about your audience and what the expectations are for your writing. If it’s a casual note, you can do whatever feels right. If it’s an announcement, invitation, formal letter, or academic writing , you should consider spelling the date out. Keeping your reader in mind is always the best guide.
Writing the Date
There are several different ways to write the date in English. They vary from formal to informal, and there are differences between British and American English. The following table shows some typical formats.
Note: which format to use is a question of formality, politeness and personal choice. Generally, the longer formats, such as B or C, are more polite (since they show more respect for the reader). Shorter formats, such as D or E, are used in less formal situations, for example a memo, a letter between friends or an impersonal business letter. Format F is rather official and is typically seen on an invoice or an official or technical document. Format A is extremely formal and mainly used on printed items, for example a wedding invitation. The numerical formats may use a full stop (.) or hyphen (-) instead of a slash (/), for example: 14.3.2016 or 03-14-16
When referring to a specific date in the month-day date format, use cardinal numbers (one, two, three) rather than ordinal numbers (first, second, third). This
Use numerals when you see “MM,” “DD,” and “YY” or “YYYY” on a form. When you're asked to provide a date on a form, you'll often see something like MM/DD/YY or
In formal writing, always write the date in full when it is part of a sentence. This usually involves giving the day of the month, the month
The month-day-year date is the most common format used in America. When you need to write the entire date, place a comma after the day. Here's
If you're writing in APA style, list the month, date and then year. Insert a comma after the date. For example: June 15, 2005 or May 2004.
When you prefer to write the date in American English, usually the month comes before the day, followed by the year. If we use the same example as before: The
To write the exact date, spell out the month, and write the day and the year in numerals. The American date format is month-day-year
The most common way for writing dates in English is to use day/month/year format (also denoted as DD/MM/YYYY). For example, if you were writing
When writing the date with numbers only, they may be separated by a hyphen (-), slash (/), or dot (.) Most formal writings will accept a slash (/). Notice
Writing the Date ; A, the Fourteenth of March, 2016, March the Fourteenth, 2016 ; B · 14th March 2016, March 14th, 2016 ; C · 14 March 2016, March 14, 2016 ; D · 14/3/