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How to Write Dates in Words in English

By Elsie Goycoolea. Updated: January 20, 2017
How to Write Dates in Words in English

When you are learning a new language, one of the first lessons you may learn are numbers, months and seasons. Being able to count from one to ten in English or learning how to write your birthday month is usually the best place to begin. Somehow, learning how to write dates in English is not that easy to remember. Suddenly, you may find yourself writing a cover letter for a job application or writing an academic article and struggling to decide how the days and months should be written together.

In this OneHowTo article we explain how to write dates in words in English.

You may also be interested in: How to write numbers in French
Steps to follow:
1

It is usually easier to write dates in numerical form such as 22/02/1978. However, numerical forms tend to be fairly informal and you may want to use the full form if you are willing to showcase your English skills.

We will be referring to both British English and American English given that there are slight differences between both. These differences are often not recognized by certain institutions.

2

The simplest way to write dates in words in English is by just writing the day and month. When you don’t need to give mention to the year, you can simply write 22 February (British English) or February 22 (American English). If you are adding the year then it would read 22 February 1978 or February 22, 1978.

Notice how in American English you must add a comma in between the number and the year to avoid any confusion.

How to Write Dates in Words in English - Step 2
3

Next, it is much more formal to write the date in British English as the 22nd of February 1978 or as the 22nd of February, 1978. The use of the comma is optional in the second example. If you are going to use this formula make sure that you include both prepositions the and of.

In American English, the formula is very simple. It will read as February 22, 1978 or February 22nd, 1978. It is optional in this case to use st, nd, rd, th after the number; but you must include the comma.

From British English to American English you would switch the order by placing the month first and then the day.

4

Should you be adding the day of the week, in British English it would read as Monday, the 22nd of February, 1978 and in American English as Monday, February 22, 1978.

How to Write Dates in Words in English - Step 4
5

We should also mention that for the exception of May and June the month names can be shortened as Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, Jul, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec. Abbreviations are accepted more often in more informal styles of writing; thus if you are unsure which one to use, always use the full form.

6

Finally, if you only want to refer to years or decades, you may write them as the 1970s or the ‘70s in both British and American English. For instance, you may write:

  • The product was introduced in the 1970s after it was approved by the committee.
  • The product was introduced in the 70s after it was approved by the committee.
How to Write Dates in Words in English - Step 6

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1 comment
NSENGIMANA Jean Baptiste
This article is helpful. Up to date I was confusing the two ways to write dates but by now it is more clear and I think I will never be confused in writing dates in English. Thank you very much
OneHowTo Editor
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