A lot of English learners aren’t sure how to say and write dates in English, and you don’t want to make mistakes with something so common and basic. So let’s make sure you’re doing it the right way, because there are a lot of little details to remember.
If you want make fewer mistakes in your English, it’s good to learn the most common ones so that you can avoid them. This means your English will be more accurate, and you can also speak and write more confidently since you know you’re saying things correctly.
I created a course called 200 Common Errors in English for exactly this reason – to help you learn about the common mistakes English learners make, so that you can stop making them, and speak better English.
How to say the date in English
All right, first let’s look at how to say dates – the important thing is that we always say them with ordinal numbers:
- Say: June THIRD, not June THREE
- Say: February SIXTEENTH, not February SIXTEEN
- Say: May TWENTY-FIRST, not May TWENTY-ONE
We sometimes write it May 21 and sometimes May 21st, but when speaking we always say third, sixteenth, twenty-first.
You’ll sometimes hear people say:
- the third of June
- the sixteenth of February
- the twenty-first of May
These forms are also correct.
When we say the year, we say it like this:
- 1804 = eighteen oh four (not one thousand eight hundred and four)
- 1963 = nineteen sixty-three (not one thousand nine hundred and sixty-three)
- 2022 = twenty twenty-two (not two thousand twenty two)
But there have been some exceptions in recent decades!
- For the years 2000 – 2009; we say two thousand one, two thousand two, and so on (we don’t say “twenty oh two”)
- When it comes to the years 2010-2019, some people say “two thousand nineteen” and some people say “twenty nineteen” – both are fine.
OK? Try saying today’s date – I’m publishing this video on June 12th, 2022. You might be watching it on a different date, though.
How to write the date in English
Now let’s look at how to write dates in English – the shortest form first.
There is a major difference in English date format depending on whether you’re in the U.S. or somewhere else!
In American English, we write MONTH / DAY / YEAR – so Christmas Day would be 12/25/2022.
Or sometimes we just write the last two letters of the year – 12/25/22.
But in British English, and in many other parts of the world, the DAY comes first, so it would be 25/12/2022.
This is very important to know, because something like 10/5/22 would be:
- October 5th in American English
- May 10th in British English
This short form is most often used in less formal communications like e-mails between friends, text messages, chatting, and so on.
For more clarity, we can write the date in a longer form:
- October 5, 2022
- October 5th, 2022
We could write just the number 5 or we could write 5th, but the important thing is that there is ALWAYS a comma between the day and the year, and we ALWAYS say 5th and not just 5 when speaking.
If we also want to include the day of the week, we would write it like this – again, with a comma after the day of the week, and a comma between the day and the year:
- Wednesday, October 5 (or 5th)
- Wednesday, October 5 (or 5th), 2022
Sometimes in more formal writing, or at the top of letters, you might see it written this way: 5 October 2022. This form should not use any commas. Again, it’s not as common.
To practice, try writing and saying the date of an important holiday in your country. For example, in the U.S., Independence day is July 4th and it originally happened in the year 1776: July 4, 1776.
And if you want to practice even more, try saying aloud some of these important dates in American history.
I hope you now feel more confident in saying and writing dates in English!
Remember to join my 200 Common Errors Course so that you can fix any mistakes you might be making in grammar, spelling, pronunciation, and more. The course has 40 lessons that will help you speak and write better English, avoiding the errors that many English learners make.