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Tips for Stating the Date in English

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.

Grammar Corner Tips for Stating the Date in English

 

What is the correct format for dates in English? How to write the date in English usually depends on the following things: Whether you write a formal letter or an informal note; and whether you use British or American English. Let's take a look at the examples below. As you can see, there are a number of ways in which you can write the same date. As a general rule we can say that the more complicated the style of date, the more formal it is.

The date format in British English

In British English (which is mainly used in the UK, Ireland, Australia, India and other countries influenced by Britain), the day is followed by the month, which is then followed by the year. The 8th day of the month February, in the year 2020, might be written in full (in order of complexity):

  • 8 Feb 
  • 8 February
  • 8 February 2020 
  • 8th February 2020 
  • the 8th of February 2020
  • the 8th of February, 2020

The more formal options are the last two date formats. While the “the” and “of” are optional, you must add both “the” and “of” if you use them. It is incorrect to say only “8th of Februar” or “the 8th February.” As for the year, in British English, commas are not necessary when you write the date, but you can if you prefer. When adding the name of the day to your date, it comes before the date, and should either be separated by a comma or joined by “the” and “of.”

  • Saturday, 8 February 2020 
  • Saturday the 8th of February, 2020

 

How to write the date in numbers?

When you want to abbreviate your date (which is usually less formal),  you can use the following style in British English. Again, the day comes first, then the month, then the year.

  • 8/2/20 or 8.2.20 or 8-2-20 
  • 08/02/2029 or 08.02.2020 or 08-02-2020
  • 8Feb2020 or 8-Feb-20

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 (.).

The date format in American English

In American English, the month comes before the day, then followed by the year. If we use the same example as before: The 8th day of the month February, in the year 2020, then the date in American English should be written as:

  • Feb 8 
  • February 8
  • February 8, 2020 
  • Saturday, February 8, 2020

Dates written as February the 8th or February 8th are not incorrect, but are less common in American English.

How to write the date in numbers?

If you want to write the date in all-numeric in American English, you will need to use the following style. Here, too, the month comes first, then the day, then the year.

  • 02/08/2020 or 02.08.20 or 02-08-20 
  • 02/08/2020 or 02.08.2020 or 02-08-2020 
  • Feb. 8, 2020

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