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Writing Dates

Introduction

What is the proper date format? The two main methods for writing dates are using only numbers or combining words and numbers. The American English standard and the British English standard are both used to write dates. Whether you’re writing a formal letter or a casual note or using the British or American date format will usually affect how you do this. A basic rule is that a date is more formal and the more complex the style is.

This article will discuss writing dates, the various formats used, and the distinction between British English and American English formats.

Writing Dates

Definition

The two most common formats for writing dates are using only numbers or combining words and numbers. The American English standard and the British English standard are both used to write dates.

The month is always placed before the day in American English, while in British English, the day is always placed before the month. Both formats apply whether one writes the date using numbers or both words and numbers.

How to write dates correctly?

Since there are so many alternatives, it can be challenging to write dates. Geographical location, the situation, how formal you need to be if you need the year, and whether you’re using only numerical forms all influence how to write the date.

Spell out the month, the day, the year, and the numerals to write the precise date. The British date format is day-month-year with no comma between the month and year, as opposed to the American date format of month-day-year.

The table below shows examples of different date formats that are commonly used.

Month, day, and year
Put a comma after the day when you need to write the complete date.
Examples:
January 11, 2022
March 15, 2018
October 22, 1986
September 23, 2018
June 16, 1995
Month and year
Like other date formats, do not separate the month and year with a comma. Only use a comma after the year if it concludes a conditional sentence or an opening phrase.
Examples:
January 2020
March 2018
October 1986
September 2018
June 1995
Month and day
It is simple to write the month and day only. Simply remove the comma and the year.
Examples:
January 11
March 15
October 22
September 23
June 16
With a day of the week
A comma must always come after the day of the week and before the remaining part of the date when writing dates with the day of the week. 
Examples:
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Wednesday, October 22, 1986
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Friday, June 16, 1995

The Month Abbreviated

Put a period after the first three letters of the month. Do not shorten May, June, or July. Date abbreviations in formal writing are helpful in tables and charts.

Here is a list of the months of the year in English-speaking nations, listed from first to last: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.

The table below shows the abbreviations of the months.

MonthsAbbreviation
JanuaryJan.
FebruaryFeb.
MarchMar
AprilApr.
MayMay
JuneJune
JulyJuly
AugustAug.
SeptemberSep.
OctoberOct.
NovemberNov.
DecemberDec.

For the most part, abbreviations should only be used when it is essential to conserve space or avoid repetition. The abovementioned abbreviations are likely to be used primarily in newspaper headings, printed articles, lengthy specialist reports, and presentation cards. The abbreviation can be used in any situation when saving space is essential.

Numerical Dates

Dates aren’t typically written with the month spelled out. We frequently use an all-numeric date format when we sign documents, make notes, or keep journals. When writing the date in a sentence, we typically do not use the strictly numerical form.

The following are examples of how numerals are used as dates.

( a ) You may use various formats when writing the date solely in numbers. 

Example date: March 31, 2022

British English format: 31/03/22 

American English format: 03/31/22

( b ) For dates that contain numbers, only hyphens, slashes, and periods are acceptable punctuation.

Example date: November 15, 1995

British English format: 15-11-95 or 15/11/95  or 15.11.95 

American English format: 11-15-95 or 11/15/95 or 11.15.95

( c ) If the number is fewer than 10, it is also allowed to remove the zero in the month.

In the list of months in order, the first nine months are ( 1 ) January, ( 2 ) February, ( 3 ) March, ( 4 ) April, ( 5 ) May, ( 6 ) June, ( 7 ) July, ( 8 ) August, ( 9 ) September. 

Examples:

February 12, 201502/12/15 or 2/12/15
March 16, 201103/16/11 or 3/16/11
April 9, 202204.09.22 or 4.9.22
May 6, 200905-06-09 or 5-6-09
June 18, 201206/18/12 or 6/18/12

( d ) You can enter two or four numbers for the year. Use two-digit numbers when it is clear which century you are referring to.

Examples:

October 18, 201510/18/2015 or 10/18/15
December 16, 201312/16/2013 or 12/16/13
August 9, 201908.09.2019 or 8.9.19
January 6, 201001-06-2010 or 1-6-10
June 12, 198906/12/1989 or 6/12/89

( e ) If the date is a living person’s birthday, we can determine if the year was in the 1900s or the 2000s.

Ordinal Numbers for Dates

Days of the monthDays of the monthDays of the month
1stfirst11th eleventh 21st twenty-first
2ndsecond12th twelfth 22nd twenty-second
3rdthird13th thirteenth 23rd twenty-third
4thfourth14th fourteenth 24th twenty-fourth
5thfifth15th fifteenth 25th twenty-fifth
6thsixth16th sixteenth 26th twenty-sixth
7thseventh17th seventeenth 27th twenty-seventh
8theighth18th eighteenth 28th twenty-eighth
9thninth19th nineteenth 29th twenty-ninth
10thtenth20th twentieth 30th thirtieth

Date Formats in American English and British English

Using numbers solely or mixing words and numbers are the two most common approaches to writing dates. Dates are written using either the American English standard or the British English standard. The way you do this will typically depend on whether you’re writing a formal letter or a casual note and whether you’re using the British or American date format.

The American date format is month-day-year, whereas the British format is day-month-year with no comma between the month and year.

Date Formats in British English

The day comes first in British English, then the month, and finally the year. As an example, let us use the 11th day of the month of February in the year 2022. The date in British English should be written as:

11 Feb11 February11 February 2022
the 11th of February 2022the 11th of February, 2022

It is improper to say merely “the 11th  February” or “11th of February,” but it is necessary to include both “the” and “of.”

Commas are optional when writing the year in British English; however, you can use them if you like this format.

If you want to include the name of the day, put it before the date and separate it with a comma or connect it with “the” and “of.”

Friday, 11 February 2022

Friday the 11th of February, 2019

Writing Dates in Numbers 

The date can be shortened using the British English format below. As a rule, the day comes before the month, then the year. Let us say, for example, for the date 31 March 2022,

31/03/2231.03.2231-03-22
31/03/202231.03.202231-03-2022
31Mar202231-Mar-22

A forward slash ( / ) is the most typical separator in the all-numeric date format. But you may also use a hyphen ( – ) or a period ( . ). 

Date Formats in American English

The month is typically placed before the day, then the year, when writing the date in American English.

The date should be expressed in American English using the same example: the 11th day of February 2022.

Feb 11

February 11

February 11, 2022

Friday, February 11, 2022

Writing Dates in Numbers 

you must use the following referencing style if you want to write the date in all numbers in American English. Again, the month appears first in this case, followed by the day and the year.

03/31/2203.31.2203-31-22March 31, 2022
03/31/202203.31.202203-31-2022

Writing Dates: American English vs. British English

The date can be written in English in a variety of ways. They range from formal to informal, and British and American English differ. 

Using numbers solely or mixing words and numbers are the two main approaches to writing dates. Dates are written using both American and British English standards. It usually depends on whether you’re writing a formal letter or a casual note and if you are using the British or American date format.

In contrast to the American date format of month-day-year, the British format is day-month-year with no comma between the month and year.

Some common formats are shown in the following table below.

British Englishday – month – yearAmerican Englishmonth – day – year
22 April 1986April 22, 1986
22/04/198604/22/1986
22/4/19864/22/1986
22/04/8604/22/86
22/4/864/22/86
the twenty-second of April, 1986April the twenty-second, 1986
22nd April 1986April 22nd, 1986

The International Standard ISO 8601

There are many ways to write dates. The International Standard ISO 8601 was developed to prevent international misunderstandings. 

The ISO 8601 is, therefore, as follows: YYYY-MM-DD 

Examples

2022-02-11 for February 11, 2022

2022-12-25 for December 25, 2022 

2022-10-22 for October 22, 2022

More Examples

Example 1

Write each date below using numerals and hyphens in British English format. (Use: DD-MM-YYYY)

( a ) January 6, 2018

( b ) February 15, 2006

( c ) December 25, 2022

( d ) May 21, 1999

( e ) March 31, 2010

Solution

The day comes first in British English, then the month, and finally the year. Since we need to follow DD-MM-YYYY, we have,

( a ) January 6, 2018
Answer: 06-01-2018

( b ) February 15, 2006
Answer: 15-02-2006

( c ) December 25, 2022
Answer: 25-12-2022

( d ) May 21, 1999
Answer: 21-05-1999

( e ) March 31, 2010
Answer: 31-03-2010

Example 2

Write each date below using numerals and slash in American English format. (Use: MM/DD/YYYY)

( a ) January 1, 2017

( b ) November 12, 2002

( c ) March 18, 1984

( d ) July 5, 1987

( e ) June 28, 2012

Solution

The day comes first in British English, then the month, and finally the year. Since we need to follow DD-MM-YYYY, we have,

( a ) January 1, 2017
Answer: 01/01/2017

( b ) November 12, 2002
Answer: 11/12/2002

( c ) March 18, 1984
Answer: 03/18/1984

( d ) July 5, 1987
Answer: 07/05/1987

( e ) June 28, 2012
Answer: 06/28/2012

Example 3

Write the following using the SI Format for writing dates.

( a ) March 10, 1995

( b ) April 11, 2013

( c ) May 29, 1999

( d ) June 20, 2022

( e ) July 13, 2019

Solution 

The SI format for writing dates is YYYY-MM-DD.

( a ) March 10, 1995
Answer: 1995-03-10

( b ) April 11, 2013
Answer: 2013-04-11  

( c ) May 29, 1999
Answer: 1999-05-29

( d ) June 20, 2022
Answer: 2022-06-20

( e ) July 13, 2019
Answer: 2019-07-13

Example 4

Write the full date of each given below. ( Example: 03-05-22 is March 5, 2022 ) 

( a ) 10-22-86

( b ) 12-14-17

( c ) 04-18-23

( d ) 11-29-25

( e ) 02-13-97

Solution

( a ) 10-22-86
Answer: October 22, 1986

( b ) 12-14-17
Answer: December 14, 2017

( c ) 04-18-23
Answer: April 18, 2023

( d ) 11-29-25
Answer: November 29, 2025

( e ) 02-13-97
Answer: February 13, 1997

Summary

Definition

The two most common formats for writing dates are using only numbers or combining words and numbers. The American English standard and the British English standard are both used to write dates. The month is always placed before the day in American English, while in British English, the day is always placed before the month. This format applies whether one writes the date using numbers or both words and numbers.

Writing dates correctly

Geographical location, the situation, including how formal you need to be if you need the year, and whether you’re using only numerical forms all influence how to write the date.

Spell out the month, the day, the year, and the numerals to write the precise date. The British date format is day-month-year with no comma between the month and year, as opposed to the American date format of month-day-year.

Month, day, and year

Put a comma after the day when you need to write the complete date.

Month and year

Sometimes we merely need to write dates with the month and year. If we don’t know the precise date of something, we may speak to a broad time. Like other date formats, do not separate the month and year with a comma. Only use a comma after the year if it concludes a conditional sentence or an opening phrase.

Month and day

It is simple to write the month and day only. Simply remove the comma and the year.

With a day of the week

A comma must always come after the day of the week and before the remaining part of the date when writing dates with the day of the week. 

Difference between writing dates using American English format and British English format 

The date can be written in English in a variety of ways. They range from formal to informal, and British and American English differ. 

In contrast to the American date format of month-day-year, the British format is day-month-year with no comma between the month and year.

British Englishday – month – yearAmerican Englishmonth – day – year
22 April 1986April 22, 1986
22/04/198604/22/1986
22/4/19864/22/1986
22/04/8604/22/86
22/4/864/22/86
the twenty-second of April, 1986April the twenty-second, 1986
22nd April 1986April 22nd, 1986

There are several different ways to write dates. To avoid international misconceptions, the International Standard ISO 8601 was created.

Therefore, the ISO 8601 is as follows: YYYY-MM-DD.

Frequently Asked Questions on Writing Dates ( FAQs)

What is meant by writing dates?

The two most common formats for writing dates are using only numbers or combining words and numbers. The American English standard and the British English standard are both used to write dates.

The month is always placed before the day in American English, while in British English, the day is always placed before the month. This applies whether one writes the date using numbers or both words and numbers.

When writing dates, how do you shorten the months?

Put a period after the first three letters of the month. Do not shorten May, June, or July. Date abbreviations in formal writing are helpful in tables and charts.

Here is a list of the months of the year in English-speaking nations, listed from first to last: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.

The table below shows the abbreviations of the months.

MonthsAbbreviation
JanuaryJan.
FebruaryFeb.
MarchMar
AprilApr.
MayMay
JuneJune
JulyJuly
AugustAug.
SeptemberSep.
OctoberOct.
NovemberNov.
DecemberDec.

What is the difference in writing dates between British English and the American English date format?

The date can be written in English in a variety of ways. They range from formal to informal, and British and American English differ. 

Using numbers solely or mixing words and numbers are the two main approaches to writing dates. Dates are written using both American and British English standards. It usually depends on whether you’re writing a formal letter or a casual note and if you are using the British or American date format.

In contrast to the American date format of month-day-year, the British format is day-month-year with no comma between the month and year.

Some common formats are shown in the following table below.

British Englishday – month – yearAmerican Englishmonth – day – year
22 April 1986April 22, 1986
22/04/198604/22/1986
22/4/19864/22/1986
22/04/8604/22/86
22/4/864/22/86
the twenty-second of April, 1986April the twenty-second, 1986
22nd April 1986April 22nd, 1986

What is the international standard format for writing dates?

There are many ways to write dates. The International Standard ISO 8601 was developed to prevent international misunderstandings. 

The ISO 8601 is, therefore, as follows: YYYY-MM-DD 

Examples

2022-02-11 for February 11, 2022

2022-12-25 for December 25, 2022 

2022-10-22 for October 22, 2022

How should dates be written?

Writing dates can be challenging because there are so many options. How you write the date depends on your location, the circumstance, how formal you need to be, if you need to include the year, and whether you’re using simply number formats.

To write the exact date, first, spell out the month, then the day, the year, and the digits. The American date format is month-day-year, whereas the British format is day-month-year with no comma between the month and year.

Examples of popular date formats are provided listed below.

Month, day, and year

Put a comma after the day when you need to write the complete date.

Examples:

January 11, 2022

March 15, 2018

October 22, 1986

September 23, 2018

June 16, 1995

Month and year

Like other date formats, do not separate the month and year with a comma. Only use a comma after the year if it concludes a conditional sentence or an opening phrase.

Examples:

January 2020

March 2018

October 1986

September 2018

June 1995

Month and day

It is simple to write the month and day only. Simply remove the comma and the year.

Examples:

January 11

March 15

October 22

September 23

June 16

With a day of the week

A comma must always come after the day of the week and before the remaining part of the date when writing dates with the day of the week. 

Examples:

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Wednesday, October 22, 1986

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Friday, June 16, 1995

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