How Do We Express Dates?
Expressing dates is the act of representing a specific day on the calendar using a combination of the month, day, and year. Dates are important for a wide range of practical purposes, such as scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements, and organizing events.
How to Write Dates: American English Vs. British English
There are different ways to express dates in English, and they are different in British English and American English. Let's have a look at some common ways:
|American english||British English|
|September the twenty fifth, 2022||The twenty fifth of September 2022|
|September 25ᵗʰ, 2022||25ᵗʰ September 2022|
|September 25th, 2022||25 September 2022|
Contracted Forms of Months
When writing dates, you can also use the contracted forms of the months. You can learn all of them on the list:
Here are a few examples:
6 Sept 2014
15 Mar 1889
Days of the month
Let's see the days of the month:
|Dyas of the month|
How to Read the Dates?
There are three common ways to tell the date. Compare these three sentences:
It is the
It is July
It is July
How to write the Dates?
There are different ways of writing dates, depending on the variety of English we are using, the level of politeness, formality or informality of the context, and even personal preference.
We have mentioned some ways of expressing dates, the longer ways are used in more formal writings, they are more polite:
The Fifteenth of November, 2020
November The Fifteenth, 2020
The shorter versions are usually used for letters between friends, informal business letters, memos, etc.
September 25th, 2022
Let's go through some of the differences between American and British English:
The structure of dates in American English is Month/Day/Year. In British English, the structure is Day/Month/Year.
In both styles, the days and years are written numerally and the month is spelled out, here you can see some examples:
She finished her project on
She finished her project on
Since we usually use the ordinal numbers in speech, we consider them unnecessary in American English formal writings:
❌ The day he started to live again, it was
✔The day he started to live again, it was
In British English, ordinals are used in dates, but not in formal writings:
In American English, we use commas to separate the day from the year.
July 20, 2021
In British English, commas are mostly considered unnecessary and therefore are omitted in formal writings:
20 July 2021
In both American and British English, when only the month and the year are mentioned, it's better not to use commas.
❌It happened in
✔It happened in
Century and Decade
Century is s period of 100 years. For example, the period from the beginning of 1700 until the end of 1799 is called a century. There are two common ways to refer to a century: the first is to simply mention the period, such as the 1700s, while the second is to refer to it as the eighteenth century or 18th century. It is important to note that although these two ways of referring to the century may seem different, they are actually referring to the same period of time.
The Royal Palace was built in
1600s should not be confused with the decade.
The artwork from
This painting belongs to the
It is important to note that the number in the name of a century is always one higher than the number of the year that starts the century. For example, we are now in the 21st century, but the years start with the number 20 (2000-2099), same goes for the 18th century which began with the year 1700, so its years start with the number 17 (1700-1799).
How to Write Centuries?
There are some recommended ways to write centuries, one is to use all lowercase words, for instance: the seventeenth century. We could also use ordinal numbers, such as the fifth century or 17th century. Centuries are only capitalized if they start a sentence or form part of a title.
Using a Hyphen
Decades are a duration of 10 years. We can write them in different ways. However, it is better to use numerals for decades, using all four digits + 's' and no apostrophe.
Some of the best songs were released during
Writing the first decade of the century can be confusing since there is no way you can tell 1800s is referring to the century or the decade; therefore, it's better to rewrite the sentence:
What are BC, AD, BCE, and CE?
Let's have a look at the following table:
|BC||is the abbreviation for 'before christ'|
|AD||stands for the Latin phrase: Anno Domin meaning the year of our lord|
|BCE||is the abbreviation for 'before the common era'|
|CE||is the abbreviation for 'common era'|
- BC and AD
BC and AD are initials referring to years in Georgian calendars. BC is used to refer to the years before birth of Jesus Christ, and AD refers to the years after birth of Jesus Christ.
It can be written with and without periods.
- BCE and CE
Some people use BCE or CE instead of BC and AD for religious neutrality. This will express the same period, just with religious neutrality.
BC, BCE, and CE always are placed after the date but AD always comes before the date.
200 B.C. , 200 B.C.E. , 200 C.E.
Can be written with and without periods.
What Is 'ISO'
Since the different styles of expressing dates can be confusing and sometimes can result in very expensive mistakes, ISO is used to prevent problems. 'ISO' is an internationally agreed way to express dates, this is the standard way to show dates on important situations like purchasing airplane tickets, business letters, contracts, and so on.
The structure is YYYY-MM-DD
For instance: 23 September 2019 will be shown as 2019-09-23.
My birthday is
Her wedding is
The proposition used when referring to the year is in, but remember, in this case, you are not allowed to use the day. For example:
She was killed
I was born
When you are referring to the month as an approximate date, you should use the preposition 'in'. Check out the examples:
I think it was
I saw her
You might also like
When to Spell Out Numbers
There are many types of ways to say a number but do you know when and where to use each of them? In this lesson, we will discover more about numbers.
Fractions, Decimals and Percentages
A fraction is a particular form of writing numbers. In this lesson, we will learn how to use them.
The act of telling the size, length, weight, etc, of something, is called measurement which is all about numbers and fractions.
Expressing time is not just about time and numbers. In this lesson, we will learn how to tell time and learn more about it.
Nowadays using genders to refer to males and females is not considered common. In this lesson, we will learn about how and what it is.