How to Write Dates in English
Today we are going to refresh our memory and focus on the days of the week, months, and dates. We will also look at ordinal numbers, which are very useful to know when writing the date in English.
There are some elements that you should keep in mind when it comes to writing the date and its various possible formats. In many cases, the format depends on the country in which you are located. ABA English will explain everything you need to know in this article.
Writing Dates in English
What we should be aware of when noting the days of the week is that, in English, they are ALWAYS CAPITALISED. That goes for months of the year, too.
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
- January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December
In English, you will probably notice that some calendars start with Sunday instead of Monday, depending on the place, but it is important to note that both varieties are accepted.
How to Correctly Write the Date
Do you know how to write the date correctly in English? In English, it is important to remember that the date can be written in two ways and both are acceptable.
- Day/month/year. For example, 1/2/16 which refers to 1 February 2016.
- Month/day/year. For example, 2/1/16 which also refers to 1 February 2016.
In other words, you have to be careful when you see dates like these written down as they could actually be interpreted differently depending on the country you are in.
Proper Date Format
Knowing how to express both the date and time in English is very important. The day/month format is known as the “British” format. This is the same as the general European format and is often used in other English-speaking countries like New Zealand and Australia.
The month/day format, which portrays the month first, is referred to as the “American” format. It is used 100% of the time in the United States and is also very prominent in Canada. By following these simple rules, you already know how to write the date in English.
Ordinal numbers are used in English to show position, ranking or order of numbers in relation to other numbers in a sequence, NOT quantity. These numbers are often used to write dates. Take a look at this example of how the date is written in a letter in English:
September 17th, 2018
Ways to Write the Date
As you can see, in the previous example, ordinal numbers were used. Every number has a corresponding ordinal number which ends in one of the following suffixes: –st, -nd, -rd, and -th.
The first three suffixes (-st, -nd, and -rd) correspond to the first three numbers, that is 1, 2, and 3. They are also applied to any numbers that end in any of these three digits (except for 11, 12, and 13, which are irregular).
- One (1) = First
- Two (2) = Second
- Three (3) = Third
- Twenty-one (21) = Twenty-first
- Fifty-two (52) = Fifty-second
- Seventy-three (73) = Seventy-third
These can also be written in a different more abbreviated format with the number itself and the corresponding suffix.
- One (1) = 1st
- Two (2) = 2nd
- Three (3) = 3rd
- Twenty-one (21) = 21st
- Fifty-two (52) = 52nd
- Seventy-three (73) = 73rd
With the remaining numbers, we always use the suffix -th.
- Four (4) = Fourth or 4th
- Twenty-six (26) = Twenty-sixth or 26th
And do not forget the three exceptions to the rule that we mentioned earlier:
- Eleven (11) = Eleventh or 11th
- Twelve (12) = Twelfth or 12th
- Thirteen (13) = Thirteenth or 13th
Once you memorize these simple rules, it will be very easy to remember how the proper date format in English.
As explained, these are the main rules you must remember in order to use days, months, dates and ordinal numbers correctly. If you want to continue receiving useful tips, take a look at Unit 10 in the ABA English course, “The Question“.