How To Write Dates In Words In English?

Have you ever found yourself perplexed when you are writing dates in the cover letter or job applications? Why is this so? This is because the format of writing dates varies over the world and we see different formats in different letters, articles and memos.

We came across these different styles frequently in our reading then how can we overcome this struggle? Which style is informal or more formal? In this article, we will discuss these predominant conventions so we could understand that how to apply them clearly and coherently.

The Informal Way Of Writing Dates

Method of writing informal dates is to write them in numeral form. Such as

  • 4/8/2016
  • 6/6/2015

If we are willing to showcase our English skills then we must avoid this format as this is considered as highly informal.

The Formal Ways Of Writing Dates

Usually, there are two formats for writing the dates in English.

  • British 
  • American

The format of writing the dates between these languages is slightly different, even sometimes most of us didn’t recognize and ignore it. So let’s discuss them one-by-one.

Writing Dates In American Format

American format

Americans use month/day/year format for the dates. A month should be written in the full form like January. Using the short form such as Jan, Feb etc is considered an informal style.

  • July/ 4/ 1993

While writing a year in the sentence in American English it should be in numeral form but if you are using year at the starting of a sentence then we should write them in words.

Another important point to remember is that American writers do not use “and” after thousand.

  • Much happened in the arena of Science in 2016.
  • Two thousand sixteen was a consequential year in science.

Another thing is that we should put a comma in between day and year to avoid confusion.

  • He was born on June 6, 1936.
  • He didn’t do well in Olympics on October 16, 2008.

If you are adding the name of the day in American English it should be written as

  • Monday, February 22, 1978.

If you are writing the decades you can use an apostrophe and the abbreviation. The incorrect method which we use is given in the example below

  • In the 80’s, my grandpa had two cars.

The correct way is that we must use an apostrophe before the abbreviation.

  • In the ’80s, my grandpa had two cars.

Writing Dates In British Format

british format

British use day/month/year format for the dates. As mentioned above Month should be written in the full form like February etc.

  • 8/October/1995
  • 4/July/1993

While writing a year in the sentence in British Format, just like American Format, it should be in numeral form and if we are using year at the starting of a sentence then we should write them in words.

As American writers do not use “and” after thousand, some of the British writers use it and some of them don’t, so both the formats can be used.

  • Much happened in the arena of Science in 2016.
  • Two thousand sixteen was a consequential year in science.
  • Two thousand and sixteen was a consequential year in science.

Another thing is that comma is optional in between the month and year.

  • He was born on 6 June 1936.
  • He didn’t do well in Olympics on 16 October 2008.

If you are adding the name of day in British format it would be written as

  • Monday, 22 February 1978.

Use of decades is same as that of American Format.

  • In the ’80s, He was a famous dancer.

Main Difference Between British And American Format

As from above examples, we can see that there is a minor difference, placing the month and day. If an American writes a letter he will write the date as November 9, 2017, and will read it November 9th, 2017.

If a British writes a letter he will write the date 9 November 2017 and will read it 9th of November 2017.

Being a non-native now it will become easier for you to write the dates in English and I hope using above examples you can easily differentiate between these two formats, understood its consistent use clearly and if you want to know more you can ask it down in the comments section.

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