Something people in my lessons are often unsure about is how to write dates and times. This short article aims to provide a few simple rules for writing dates clearly and correctly.

Off we go …

In British English the format is *day month year*: 10 June 2015.
There’s no need to write the th (10th June) and style guides I had a look at for this article recommend not doing so.

If you want to add the day of the week, it’s followed by a comma: Tuesday, 10 June 2015.

If you were speaking you would say the 10th (tenth) of June. However, in written English you do not include the and of except in very formal (legal) documents.

There’s always an exception, of course. And this one goes against both of the above points. If it’s already clear which month you mean, you can write the 10th. For example: Look forward to seeing you on the 10th.

Two countries divided by a common language

In the USA, the format for dates is *month day, year*: June 10, 2015.
Note the comma. If your sentence continues after the date a second comma is needed:
I suggest meeting on June 10, 2015, to discuss the next steps.

Having two different systems is no problem as long as the month is written out. The problems start when only figures are used. If you write 10.6.2015 your recipient may well be uncertain whether you mean 10 June 2015 or October 6, 2015. So make a point of writing the month out to avoid confusion.

And now for everyone’s favourite …

 … prepositions. Which one do you use when?

  • Use on with days and dates: on Monday, on the 10th, on 10 June 2015
  • Use in with months, years, seasons and parts of the day: in June, in 2015, in summer, in the afternoon
  • Use at with times and festivals: at 7 o’clock, at Christmas

 

 

 

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 in staying on track
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Porträt Nicola Bartlett
Nicola Bartlett
I’ve been an English trainer for over 25 years, helping adults to get their message across in English – clearly and appropriately. Successful communication in English requires more than just a good knowledge of the language. An understanding of different mentalities and a feeling for the best approach are vital, too.