How to Write Dates in English

When you are learning the English language, one of the principal things you will learn are numbers, months and seasons. Having the option to include numbers from one to ten in English, or figuring out how to compose your birthday month, is normally the best way to start.

Unfortunately, figuring out how to write dates in English isn’t as simple to recall. One day, you may have to compose a letter for a job application. Even while in college, you may be required to compose a scholarly article. In any case, learning to choose how the days and months should be composed together can be challenging. The way to conquer your battle with dates is to comprehend the conventions and, afterward, apply them plainly—and reliably. Only then, will you learn how to write dates in English.

How Should You Write the Year?

Writing out years is an important step in learning how to write the date. When years are at the beginning of a sentence, you should always write them out. Otherwise, you should express them as numerals. When formulating a sentence, include the year the correspondence is dated or the year the publication is dated. It is not necessary to include the present year in a sentence. The following are examples of incorrect and correct ways to write years in a sentence.

Correct: Two thousand and nineteen was an adventurous year.

Correct: Two thousand nineteen was an adventurous year.

Correct: The year 2019 was an adventurous year.

Correct: My grandfather died in 2014

Incorrect: My grandfather died in two thousand and fourteen.

Also, you should write out academic and fiscal years as, 2019-20, not 2019-2020. You should only write out the year, if it is at the end of a century, such as 1999-2000. Additionally, when you write, for example, the 1900s, it indicates every year in that century. It can also be referred to as the twentieth century.

Example 1:

Correct: Tank tops were worn in the 1900s.

Correct: Tank tops were worn in the nineteen hundreds.

Incorrect: Tank tops were worn in the 1900’s.

Example 2:

Correct: Tank tops were worn in the twentieth century.

Incorrect: Tank tops were worn in the Twentieth Century.

When writing the year in decades, you should always use either 1970s or ‘70s. The apostrophe, before the 7, indicates the two century digits. Placing an “s” after the zero would be grammatically incorrect. Here are some examples of how to write the year in decades.

Example 1:

Correct: In the ’80s, punk rock hairstyles were popular.

Correct: In the eighties, punk rock hairstyles were popular.

Incorrect: In the 80’s, punk rock hairstyles were popular.

It is important to make your meaning clear, when you write the year. It is important to specify whether you are referring to any period of 365 consecutive days, a specific calendar year, or fiscal year. Below are just a few examples.

Example 1:

Correct: During the 2018-19 fiscal year, the company raised $10 million.

Correct: During the past 12 months, the company raised $10 million.

Correct: From April 2011 through March 2012, the company raised $10 million.

Example 2:

Incorrect: During the past year, the company raised $10 million.

How Should You Write the Month and Day?

You need to also understand month and day, in order to learn how to write the date as well. It is important to use cardinal numbers, such as one and two, when writing in the month-day-date format. For example, you should write January 1, 2019, instead of January first two thousand and nineteen. When months appear by themselves or with a year, you should never abbreviate the month. It is also important to remember to never abbreviate March, April, May, June and July in a sentence. The remaining months can be abbreviated, when they are followed by a date. The following is an example.

Example 1:

Correct: It happened the morning of March 27.

Incorrect: It happened the morning of Mar. 27.

Incorrect: Here are some more examples of how to correctly write the month and day.

Example 2:

Correct: The term begins in August.

Correct: The term begins in August 2017.

Correct: The term begins Aug. 4.

Correct: The term begins Wednesday, Aug. 4.

Correct: The term begins Wednesday, August 4, 2017.

When Should You use a Comma?

As shown below, you should never use a comma, if only the month and year are used. Another important thing to remember is that “of” shouldn’t be placed between the month and year. It is fine to use “of” and ordinal numbers (first, second, etc), when using construction. This can be seen in example two.

Example 1:

Correct: We met in February 2008.

Incorrect: We met in February of 2008.

Example 2:

Correct: Tina was born on the 1st of May.

Correct: Tina was born on the first.

Additionally, if appositives and phrases are introduced by a comma, it should be closed by either a period, at the end of a sentence, or a comma. The top sentences, in both examples, below, show you how to write the date and place the comma correctly. In the first example, the comma is placed before and after the date. However, in the second example, notice that the comma is only placed after the date and year.

Example 1:

Correct: The meeting was held Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Frazier Center.

Incorrect: The meeting was held Thursday Oct.19 at the Frazier Center.

Example 2:

Correct: They were married July 17, 2009, in Virginia.

Incorrect: They were married, July 17, 2009, in Virginia

How Should You Write the Date in Numerals?

When writing numeral style dates, it should be written in the month/day/year date format. For example, it should be written as 12/31/2019 or 12/31/19. Numerical style dates shouldn’t be written in formal writing.


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