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Writing the Date

There are several different ways to write the date in English. They vary from formal to informal, and there are differences between British and American English. The following table shows some typical formats.
Format A B C D E F British: Day-Month-Year the Fourteenth of March, 2011 14th March 2011 14 March 2011 14/3/2011 14/3/11 14/03/11 American: Month-Day-Year March the Fourteenth, 2011 March 14th, 2011 March 14, 2011 3/14/2011 3/14/11 03/14/11

Note: which format to use is a question of formality, politeness and personal choice. Generally, the longer formats, such as B or C, are more polite (since they show more respect for the reader). Shorter formats, such as D or E, are used in less formal situations, for example a memo, a letter between friends or an impersonal business letter. Format F is rather official and is typically seen on an invoice or an official or technical document. Format A is extremely formal and mainly used on printed items, for example a wedding invitation. The numerical formats may use a full stop (.) or hyphen (-) instead of a slash (/), for example: 14.3.2011 or 03-14-11

Note that another format exists which writes the date numerically in the order Year-Month-Day, for example: 2011/03/14. This is rare in British or American English and used mainly in very official or technical documents.

Months Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 Name January February March April May June Abbreviations Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun J F M A M J

8 9 10 11 12

August September October November December

Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Days of the Month 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd 23rd 24th 25th 26th 27th 28th 29th 30th 31st first second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth ninth tenth eleventh twelfth thirteenth fourteenth fifteenth sixteenth seventeenth eighteenth nineteenth twentieth twenty-first twenty-second twenty-third twenty-fourth twenty-fifth twenty-sixth twenty-seventh twenty-eighth twenty-ninth thirtieth thirty-first

In English, months are correctly written with an initial capital: January, February...

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