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Learn How to Write Dates Correctly (English, Spanish, Examples)

People go through a lot of confusion when it comes to writing dates. Mostly because of two reasons. The format for writing dates varies in different corners of the world and people come across different styles in everyday reading.

The following article discusses the correct way to write dates…

How to write the year correctly

In any kind of writing, the year should get written using numerals. A year consists of 365 days. Every year has a unique numeral value that is shown using these figures. Sometimes abbreviations like BC, AD, BCE, and CE help specify the era. If the year is written without a specific era, it is assumed as AD. 

When written in words, the year is spelled out according to the pronunciation. There is no need of capitalizing the word. When writing for a formal application the use of numerals at the beginning of the sentence should get avoided. The year should get separated from the day and the month using a comma in American English.

Sound confusing? It can be. To better understand this, let’s look at some examples.

Examples in sentences

  • India became independent in 1947.
  • In 2015 Russia was attacked by Syria.
  • The war continued from 225 BC to AD 405.
  • The tribal people begin moving towards not during 7000 BCE.
  • The work-from-home culture became popular in the year twenty.
  • The war between the two nations came to an end in nineteen forty-five.
  • The book was first published in 1954.

How to write the month and day correctly

When writing the month and day format in a sentence. A comma should get used after the day if it ends with a dependent clause. Commas after a month should get avoided. Also, there is no need for writing the ordinal number of the day when including the year.

A date should contain an ordinal number in inverse format. The use of the word “of” is also necessary when writing a date along with the day of the week

Usually, people don’t use [only] numerals when writing dates in a sentence. Specific formats can get used when writing a date using only numbers. For American English, the month-day-year format is preferred. Punctuation marks like hyphens, periods, and slashes are acceptable in American English.

Sound confusing? It can be. Let’s look at some examples to understand this better.

Examples in sentences

  • August 29, 2002
  • Because it is December 23, we are going on holiday.
  • On December 23rd, we are going to celebrate Christmas.
  • In July 2020, she gave birth to a child.
  • Sunday, April 5, 2021.
  • The annual meeting will take place Wednesday, July 17, 2007, at the school campus.
  • 05-24-1992
  • 6-15-1976
  • Two thousand fourteen when my brother graduated high school.

How to write dates with days of the week

As a general rule, dates are primarily written in the order of month, day and year in American English. Primarily the year is written in numerals. If the sentence starts with a year, it must get written in words. 

In American English, the day of the week is mainly written before the rest of the date. To write this correctly, you must place a comma after the day of the week to separate it from the rest.

Sound confusing? It can be. Let’s take a look at some examples to understand this better.

Examples in sentences

  • The students will leave for an excursion on Monday, October 19, 2022.
  • The higher officials will visit the factory on Friday, September 30, 2022.

How to write centuries

When writing centuries, both words and numerals are acceptable in American English. For centuries there is no need for including an apostrophe before “s.” Centuries are always plural and never possessive.

Examples in sentences

  • Many people had bowl haircuts during the 1990s
  • I bought a ’42 Willy’s.
  • Our grandfather loves listening to the songs of the 1950s
Example of how to write dates
Example of how to write dates

How to write decades

For decades, you can write two digits in numbers with an apostrophe before the number and “s.” The reason for this format is because the decade is a two-digit form, both plural and abbreviation. A decade is also represented in four numbers with an “s” after the numbers. However, without the “s,” it will appear as a year instead of an entire decade.

Let’s look at some examples to understand this better.

Examples in sentences

  • In the 1970s and 1980s, bell-bottom pants became popular.
  • My father is a big fan of movies from the ’80s.

Writing dates as numerals

Typically, there are two ways of writing a date. It can be written using only numbers or a combination of numbers and words. There are two standards for writing dates, the American English standard and the British English standard.

When writing a date by numerals (or numbers), it can be separated using a hyphen (-), dot (.), or slash (/).

08-09-2022, 08.09.2022, 08/09/2022.

Eliminating the zero before numbers smaller than 10 is not a standard format. Also, the weekday is always written first, and separated from the rest of the date using a comma. Eg, Wednesday, September 14, 2022.

Examples in sentences

  • 14-09-2019
  • 06/12/2010
  • 24.01.2012
Example of how to write dates
Example of how to write dates

Where does a comma go in dates?

Using commas when writing dates in American English format requires separating the weekday from the month. And commas separate the date from the year.

Now, let’s look at the use of commas in a sentence where the date is at the end.

If the date appears at the beginning of the sentence, the same rules are applicable. And the comma is placed after the year. When the date is in the middle of a sentence, the rule is to use a comma after the date.

For the month/date/year format, the comma is always placed after the year. If the date only has the month and year (or a month and day), the comma comes after the date.

Let’s look at some examples to understand this better.

Examples in sentences

  • I was admitted to the college in July 2015.
  • The incident fire took place on May 16, 1994.
  • The classes will resume on Friday, April 20, 2007.
  • August 27, 2020, marks twenty-five years of our first venture.
  • The celebrations will happen in November 2022.
  • I purchased my first car in October 2016.
Example of how to write dates
Example of how to write dates

How to write dates in Spanish

The most common and basic format of writing the date in Spanish is el [day], de [month], and de [year]. It is important to note that the month’s name is never capitalized in Spanish. The numbers can be spelled out, but it’s not very common. Occasional use of a period can also be observed in this format.

Examples in sentences

  • El 20 de September de 1956 (September 20, 1956)

How to write dates in British English

In British English, the date is commonly written in a day-month-year format. Here the use of commas isn’t mandatory. If the day’s name is added, it must come before the date, separated by a comma. Alternatively, it can be joined using “of” or “the.”

Examples to understand better:

  • 15 May 2022
  • 17th September 2010
  • On the 22nd of December, 2015
  • Sunday, September 11, 2022


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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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