Read and Write Dates Correctly
Let’s learn how to read and write the dates in English.
Level A1 /Elementary
How to write the dates in English?
The most common way in British English is to write the day of the month first, then the month (starting with a capital letter) and then the year: 20 February 2020, 5 March 1997
The date may be written in numbers only: 22/02/2020, 5/3/1997
In written American English, the month of the date comes before the day and year. For example, Independence Day in the USA is on July 4th each year. In the year 2000 the date was 4/7/2000 in British English. In American English this is written 7/4/2000.
You can ask about dates in English in several ways:
- What date is it? – It’s the first of June. (1st June)
- What’s the date today? – It’s June the first. (June 1st)
- What’s today’s date? – Fifteenth of April. (15th April)
How do you say years in English?
When you are talking about years, this is how you would say the year correctly in English:
- 1100 = ‘eleven hundred’
- 1309 = ‘thirteen hundred and nine’ or ‘thirteen ‘oh’ nine’
- 1678 = ‘sixteen (hundred and) seventy-eight’
- 1910 = ‘nineteen (hundred and) ten’
- 1946 = ‘nineteen (hundred and) forty-six’
- 2000 = ‘two thousand’
- 2007 = ‘two thousand and seven’ or ‘twenty ‘oh’ seven’
- 2019 = ‘two thousand and nineteen’ or ‘twenty nineteen’
When were you born?
- I was born in 1991.
- I was born on the thirteenth of August (13/08).
- He was born on the second of May (2/05).
- They were born on the eleventh of December (11/12).
- I was born June 12.
- He was born 6 September 1989.
- We were born 24.05.1988.
- My birthday is … the second July / on the second of July / July the second / on July the second.
It’s Interesting to Know
- AD stands for Anno Domini (Latin for “In the year of (Our) Lord”), abbreviated as AD. It defines an epoch based on the traditionally-reckoned year of the conception or birth of Jesus of Nazareth. It is used in the English language to denote years after the start of this time.
- BC stands for Before Christ (from the Ancient Greek “Christos” referring to Jesus), abbreviated as BC, it is used in the English language to denote years before the start of this time.
- Some non-Christians also use the abbreviations AD and BC without intending to acknowledge the Christian connotation, but some people prefer the alternatives ‘CE’ (Common Era) and ‘BCE’ (Before Common Era), arguing that they are more neutral terms.
- A millennium (pl. millennia) is a period of one thousand years.
- A century is a period of one hundred consecutive years. Centuries are numbered ordinally (e.g. “the nineteenth century”).
- A decade is a period of 10 years.
- The decades from 1920 to 1999, are called “the Twenties“, “the Sixties“, etc.
- The Noughties is the period of years between 00 and 10 in any century, usually 2000–2010: They were born in the noughties and grew up completely at ease with computer technology.
Read about writers and poets to learn the way we read the dates in English.
Have practice in writing the dates in English.
Task 1. Write the dates in full.
Example: 5th Feb – February the fifth
Task 2. Match the dates (American English).
b. January fifth, nineteen sixty-eight
c. June eighth, ten sixty-six
d. July third, eighteen seventeeen
e. October twelfth, eighteen seventy
f. July fourth, nineteen forty-five
g. April thirtieth, nineteen ninety
h. March twenty-first, two thousand
i. February twenty-third, two thousand and five
j. August twenty-second, nineteen forty
Task 3. Write the dates in letters (American English).
Task 4. Choose the right date and write it in letters:
- Christopher Columbus discovered America. – ____________________
- Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. – ____________________
- Ukraine celebrated the thirthieth anniversary of its independence. – ____________________
Task 5. Write the day in numerical form, use the British style (day/month/year).
- The first of January nineteen ninety-eight. – ________
- The thirty-first of March two thousand and seventeen. – ________
- The fifth of August nineteen eighty-six. – ________
- The twenty-fifth of December two thousand and two. – ________
- September the 12th nineteen seventy-two. – ________