How to write the dates correctly

Who has a birthday today? It’s July 24. Wait… July 24, July 24th, 24th July, or 24 July? Arghhh.. Which one is correct? Don’t worry, Max-E Mates! We will take a look at the rules to write down the date correctly.

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.

The date format in British English

In British English, which is mainly used in Australia, the day is followed by the month, which is then followed by the year. The 6th day of the month September, in the year 2019, might be written in full (in order of complexity):

  • 6 Sept
  • 6 September
  • 6 September 2019
  • 6th September 2019
  • the 6th of September 2019
  • the 6th of September, 2019

The last two date formats are more formal. The “the” and “of” are optional but if you do use them, you must add both “the” and “of.” It is incorrect to say only “6th of September” or “the 6th September.”

As for the year, commas are not necessary when you write the date in British English, but you can if you prefer this style.

If you wish to add the name of the day, it should come before the date, and should either be separated by a comma or joined by “the” and “of.”

  • Saturday, 13 April 2019
  • Saturday the 13th of April, 2019

How to write the date in numbers?

If you prefer to abbreviate the date, you can use the following style in British English. Again, the day comes first, then the month, then the year.

  • 6/9/19 or 6.9.19 or 6-9-19
  • 06/09/2019 or 06.09.2019 or 06-09-2019
  • 9Sept2019 or 6-Sept-19

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

When you prefer to write the date in American English, usually the month comes before the day, then followed by the year. If we use the same example as before: The 6th day of the month September, in the year 2019, then the date in American English should be written as:

  • Sept 6
  • September 6
  • September 6, 2019
  • Monday, September 6, 2019

Dates written as April the 13th or April 13th are not incorrect but are less common in American English.

How to write the date in numbers?

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

  • 04/13/19 or 04.13.19 or 04-13-19
  • 04/13/2019 or 04.13.2019 or 04-13-2019
  • Apr. 13, 2019

Other date formats

The International Standard

In an effort to avoid miscommunication between people using the British date format and those using the American date format, an International Standard was developed. If an Australian writes February 3, 2019 as 03/02/2019, but an American writes the same date as 02/03/2019, who’s right? The international standard recommends writing the date as year, then month, then the day: YYYY-MM-DD. So if both the Australian and American used this, they would both write the date as 2019-02-03.

Writing the date this way avoids confusion by placing the year first. Much of Asia use this form when writing the date. For example:

January 1, 2018 would be written as 2018 January 1. (Did you notice there’s no comma?).

Now you can practice writing the dates by making a list of your friends and family members’ birthdays. Can you write down your birthday on the comment section below, Max-E Mates?

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