How to say the date in English

How to say the date in English


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Ask for the date in English:

Look at these examples:

  • What’s today’s date ? / What’s the date today ?
  • It’s May 5. / It’s the 5th of May.
  • What day is it today ? / What day is it ? / What’s today ?
  • Today’s Thursday, May 5th (May fifth). 

Be careful of the difference between ‘day’ and ‘date’.

  • Day: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…
  • Date: July 14th, December 2nd, January 3rd…

Note: remember to capitalize the months! = January, not january

Why put “th”, “nd” or “rd” after the number?

These are ordinal numbers! Indeed, to say the date in English you should not use normal numbers but ordinal numbers:

Ex:  Today is the seventh of August (NOT:  Today is the seven of August  )

How to read ordinal numbers from 1 to 31:

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

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How to read the date? A few examples:

1st May → the first of May
2nd April → the second of April
3rd December → the third of December
4th May → the fourth of May
5th March → the fifth of March
6th June → the sixth of June
7th October → the seventh of October
8th August → the eighth of August
9th May → the ninth May
10th July → the tenth of July
16th March → the sixteenth of March
23rd November → the twenty-third of November
26th May → the twenty-sixth of May
30th May → the thirtieth of May

May 1 → May the first
May 2 → May the second
May 23 → May the twenty-third
May 30 → May the thirthieth

Ordinals are also used to talk about centuries:

  • The 16th century 
  • The 12th century 
  • The 20th century 

How to say the date in British English and American English:

The English and Americans have a different way of saying the date. If in doubt, it is better to use the British way which seems the most obvious:

  • British (day/month/year) → the seventeeth of July
  • American (month/day/year) → July the seventeeth

The year:

It is not necessary to say the year if you are asked for a current date. On the other hand, if you are talking about a date in the past or the future, it is worth saying the year. Don’t forget to put a comma beforehand:

  • 15/04/2001 → The fifteenth of April two thousand and one (orally) / The fifteenth of April, 2001 (in writing).
  • When were you born ? → 1st May, 1983.
  • When did you arrive in New York ? → In 2011.
  • When is the next World Cup ? → In July of 2017.

Talk about the beginning, middle and end of the month:

Look at these examples:

  • at the beginning of August 
  • in mid-October 
  • at the end of May 
  • by the end of November 

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