Please note: This original post from August 24, 2008, has been updated and replaced by a new version of Writing Dates and Times, published on April 19, 2017.
Rule: The following examples apply when using dates:
The meeting is scheduled for June 30.
The meeting is scheduled for the 30th of June.
We have had tricks played on us on April 1.
The 1st of April puts some people on edge. (Some prefer to write it out: The first of April)
Rule: There are differing policies for expressing decades using numerals. Some write the 1980s and the ’80s, others write the 1980’s and the 80’s. However, using two apostrophes (the ’80’s) is awkward and is not recommended.
During the ’80s, the world’s economy grew.
During the 1980s, the world’s economy grew.
During the 1980’s, the world’s economy grew.
During the ’80’s, the world’s economy grew.
Rule: Some writers spell out the time of day, others prefer numbers.
Example: She gets up at four thirty before the baby wakes up.
Example: The baby wakes up at 5 o’clock in the morning.
Rule: Some use numerals with the time of day when exact times are being emphasized.
Example: Her flight leaves at 6:22 a.m.
Example: Please arrive by 12:30 p.m. sharp.
Rule: It is clearer to use noon and midnight rather than 12:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m.
Note: You may use AM and PM, A.M. and P.M., am and pm, or a.m. and p.m.
Some put a space after the numeral, others do not.
Example: Her flight leaves at 6:22 a.m.
Example: Her flight leaves at 6:22am.
Example: Please arrive by 12:30 P.M. sharp.
Pop Quiz: Correct or Incorrect?
1. The last outbreak of smallpox occurred in the late seventy’s.
2. Can you get here by 12:00 midnight?
3. Please deliver the package by August 1st.
Pop Quiz Answers:
1. The last outbreak of smallpox occurred in the late seventies.
2. Can you get here by midnight? (leave out 12:00)
3. Please deliver the package by August 1. (OR by the first of August OR by the 1st of August)
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2008, at 11:24 pm
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869 Comments on Writing Dates and Times
How to Talking about Days, Months, Seasons, and Dates in French
By Veronique Mazet
To talk about dates in French, you need numbers and also the names of the days and of the months. You also might need to know the seasons of the year.
French days of the week
The French week (la semaine) starts on Monday (lundi), and the days of the week are not capitalized. Here are the days of the week (les jours de la semaine), starting with Monday.
- lundi (Monday)
- mardi (Tuesday)
- mercredi (Wednesday)
- jeudi (Thursday)
- vendredi (Friday)
- samedi (Saturday)
- dimanche (Sunday)
Using the definite article le (the)+ a day of the week indicates every + day of the week. For example: Le jeudi j’allais chez ma grand-mère (Every Thursday, I used to go to my grandmother’s house).
Months and seasons in French
The names of the months (mois) are not capitalized in French, and they are never preceded by an article. Here are the 12 months with their English translations:
- janvier (January)
- février (February)
- mars (March)
- avril (April)
- mai (May)
- juin (June)
- juillet (July)
- août (August)
- septembre (September)
- octobre (October)
- novembre (November)
- décembre (December)
To say in + month, say en
There are several uses of the comma that can best be described as conventional or mechanical. The use or omission of the comma is well established, and writers need only to apply the rules.
Most authorities, including The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style, recommend a comma after the first digit of a four-digit number. The exceptions include years, page numbers, and street addresses.
We sold 1,270 rare books last year; the most expensive sold for $5,255.
On page 1270 of the report, his address is listed as 5255 Ocean View Drive as of February 5, 2008.
The trend with these labels is to omit the comma.
David White Jr. is the father of David White III.
He was formerly a senior vice president at Apple Inc.
When a degree or certification is shown after a person’s name, it should be set off with commas.
The report was prepared by Christopher Smith, PhD.
Jane Jones, Esq., has joined the board of directors.
Tom Roberts Jr., MD, FACS, will be the keynote speaker at next year’s conference.
When directly addressing someone, the person’s name or title should be set off with commas.
- We could not have done it without you, Lisa.
- Thank you, Governor, for your support.
- Lori, please stop by my office before you leave for the day.
When a date consists of the day of the month followed by the year, the day of the month should be followed by a comma. When the day of the week is provided before the month, the day of the week should be followed by a comma.
When the date appears in the middle of a sentence, commas should appear both before and after the year.
The store closed its doors for good on Wednesday, October 15, 1958.
Her arrival on Monday, April 11, 1988, was considered a turning point for the company.
When a date is used as an adjective, most authorities require a comma following the year. Yet at least one significant authority (Bryan Garner, in his fourth edition of Garner's Modern English Usage) omits it. Given the uncertainty, it is best to recast the sentence.
The July 10, 2011, meeting was canceled due to a hurricane watch.
The meeting scheduled for July 10, 2011, was canceled due to a hurricane watch.
No comma is used between the month and the year when they are the only two elements in the date.
The store closed its doors for good in October 1958.
The store closed its doors for good in October, 1958.
The British style, sometimes used by American writers, reverses the month and day, which eliminates the need for a comma. (See also the essay discussing British and American usage.)
Her arrival on 11 April 1988 was considered a turning point for the company.
Commas should be used to separate geographic elements, as in the examples below. The final geographic element should also be followed by a comma when it appears in the middle of a sentence.
- The mayor of New York was the first guest to arrive; the mayor of Athens, Georgia, was the last to arrive.
- His family moved from Bristol, England, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, when he was eight.
- The company is headquartered in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Though not necessarily mechanical, the use of commas in lists is well established. In this usage, the comma separates a series of words, phrases, or independent clauses.
Do not place a comma after the last item in the list (see fourth example below) unless the structure of the sentence otherwise requires it (see third example below, in which the comma after audience is required to separate an introductory dependent clause from the main clause).
- For your entree, you may choose vegetarian pasta, beef, chicken, or salmon.
- Jane will bring the food, Jose will bring the drinks, John will bring the music, and Jackie will bring the cops.
- With dignity, grace, and a tremendous empathy for his audience, he delivered the most moving eulogy.
- I am taking art history, Russian literature, microeconomics, and macroeconomics next semester.
The final comma in a list of items is known as an Oxford comma or serial comma. Some writers omit it, but doing so can cause confusion. In the example immediately above, the serial comma makes it clear that the writer is taking two separate economics courses next semester.
Omitting the serial comma makes this unclear. Is it one course covering both microeconomics and macroeconomics, or is it two separate courses? Even though not all sentences will be unclear with the omission of the serial comma, its consistent use is a good habit.
(See also the essay on style.)
When a noun is modified by more than one adjective, each of which independently modifies the noun, the adjectives should be separated by a comma. In this usage, the comma substitutes for the conjunction and.
The wine offered a fragrant, captivating bouquet.
It was a long, noisy, nauseating flight.
When there are three or more modifying adjectives, it is perfectly acceptable to treat them as a conventional list and include the conjunction and.
It was a long, noisy, and nauseating flight.
If sequential adjectives do not individually modify a noun, they should not be separated by a comma.
In the example below, the balloon is bright red, not bright and red.
He held a bright red balloon.
He held a bright, red balloon.
When an adjective or adverb is repeated for emphasis, a comma is required.
This is a very, very violent movie.
This is a very very violent movie.
After lists, the most important function of the comma is to set off nonrestrictive or nonessential information.
Compare the two sentences below, in which the presence or absence of a comma indicates important information.
I will give the document to my brother, Tom.
Explanation: The writer has only one brother. The brother's name is (grammatically) nonessential and therefore set off with a comma.
I will give the document to my brother Tom.
Explanation: The writer has more than one brother. In this case, the specific brother—Tom—is essential information and should not be set off with a comma.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter has been made into several movies.
Explanation: Hawthorne wrote more than one novel.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, has been made into several movies.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s first novel, Fanshawe, was published anonymously in 1828.
Explanation: Hawthorne had only one first novel.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s first novel Fanshawe was published anonymously in 1828.
When an explanation or definition occurs as an appositive, it should be set off with commas.
Mary Smith, a staff writer at the Times, recently wrote a book on that subject.
The building’s window placement, referred to by architects as fenestration, is among its most distinctive features.
These words are frequently misused. That serves as a restrictive pronoun and therefore does not take a comma.
John’s cars that are leased are never kept clean.
Explanation: In this case, the dirty cars are specifically those that John leased; John might have non-leased cars that are kept clean.
Which serves as a nonrestrictive pronoun and therefore requires a comma.
John’s cars, which are leased, are never kept clean.
Explanation: In this case, all of John’s cars are dirty. The fact that those cars are leased is not essential to the meaning of the sentence.
When a nonessential word or phrase occurs in the middle of a sentence, it should be set off with commas.
Your work has been, frankly, awful.
The hotel, once we finally found it, was very nice.
When a word or phrase occurs at the beginning of a sentence, a comma should usually separate it from the main clause.
- Yes, we expect to attend the Christmas party.
- No, you shouldn’t respond to a rhetorical question.
- Honestly, why would you ever think that?
- To be honest, I didn’t enjoy the food.
- In my opinion, the movie was more compelling than the book.
When a word or phrase follows the main clause at the end of a sentence, it should normally be set off with a comma.
- I found the painting rather dull, to be honest.
- You will be joining us for dinner, won’t you?
- Leave some food for me, please.
- We will not be attending the reception, however.
When a sentence ends with an adverb that is essential to the meaning of the sentence, the adverb should not be set off with a comma.
We visited Berlin too.
We took the train instead.
This is where things get tricky. Mastering the proper use of the comma in these situations is impossible without at least some understanding of grammar. The rules are easiest to learn and deploy if you first understand four common sentence types: compound, simple, complex, and compound-complex.
A compound sentence contains two or more independent clauses linked by a coordinating conjunction. Independent clauses are those that can stand alone as complete sentences. The most common coordinating conjunctions are and, but, and or. In certain cases, nor, yet, so, and for act as coordinating conjunctions.
Rule: Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction that joins two independent clauses.
- She purchased the car, but she declined the extended warranty.
- The prime minister’s plan seemed quickly and sloppily put together, and the opposition party immediately attacked it.
- Are you traveling in first class, or does your employer limit you to business class on international flights?
- I lost my job, so I can’t afford to go to Europe this summer.
Exception to the rule: When the independent clauses are closely connected and short, you may omit the comma.
Elizabeth flew to the conference and Nancy drove.
A simple sentence contains only one independent clause and no dependent clauses. When a simple sentence contains a conjunction, you might be tempted to insert a comma before the conjunction, as you do with a compound sentence. With a simple sentence, however, the general rule is to omit the comma.
Rule: Do not use a comma before a coordinating conjunction if the sentence contains only one independent clause.
She purchased the car but not the extended warranty.
Are you traveling in first class or in business class?
Exception to the rule: If omitting the comma leads to confusion or lack of clarity, insert the comma.
The alumni’s fundraising was better this year than last, and better than expected.
A variety of different styles may be used for formal invitations. The following style should be used in all other print and electronic communications.
For dates, use 1, 2, 3, 4, not 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. Write “Reservations are due July 27,” not “Reservations are due July 27th.”
Do not abbreviate days of the week.
Do not abbreviate months of the year when they appear by themselves or with a year (December 2012). March, April, May, June and July are never abbreviated in text, but the remaining months are when they are followed by a date (Jan. 27), and are correctly abbreviated Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
CorrectThe semester begins in September.The semester begins in September 2012.The semester begins Sept. 4.The semester begins Tuesday, Sept. 4.
The semester begins Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012.
If only the month and year are used, do not use commas. Do not use the word “of” between the month and the year.
Use: We met in December 2011 (not December of 2011).
Appositives and phrases introduced by a comma must always be closed by a comma (or period at the end of a sentence).
Use: The meeting was held Tuesday, Sept. 19, at the Fetzer Center.Note the commas preceding and following Sept. 19.
Use:They were married May 14, 2012, in Chicago.Note the commas preceding and following 2012.
Be concise and consistent
When to include the year
Include the year only if it is different from the present year (the year in which the publication or correspondence is dated) and always if the year is different from the present year.
Avoid using “last” and “next”
Last has several meanings and its use in reference to time can be confusing. The phrase “during the last month” can mean either “during the previous month” or “during the final month.” Previous, past, and final have more specific meanings and should be used in place of last. Similarly, the word next also can be confusing and should be avoided.
Make your meaning clear
A week can be defined as a specific seven-day period or as any seven consecutive days. A month can be defined as a specific month of the calendar or as any period of 30 consecutive days. A year can be defined as a specific calendar year or fiscal year or as any period of 365 consecutive days.
If you write, “During the past year, the University raised $17.
5 million,” do you mean during the previous calendar year, or during the previous fiscal year, or during the 365 days immediately preceding the date of your writing? If you write “During 2011,” or “During the 2011-12 fiscal year,” or “During the past 12 months,” or “From April 2011 through March 2012,” the period covered is more clearly defined.
Fiscal and academic years
For academic and fiscal years, use 2011-12, not 2011-2012. The single exception to this rule is at the end of a century, for example, 1999-2000.
For decades, use 1960s, 1990s or use '60s, '90s (no apostrophe before the s).
How to Write Dates Correctly in English
How to Write Centuries
Here’s a tip: When writing about whole centuries, do not use an apostrophe before s. Centuries are plurals, not possessives.
For example, when we write the 1800s, we are referring to all the years from 1800 to 1899. Within that range are one hundred discrete years; that is, more than one: a plural. We can also refer to those years collectively as the nineteenth century in all lowercase letters.
Women often wore bonnets in the 1800’s.
Women often wore bonnets in the 1800s.
Women often wore bonnets in the eighteen hundreds.
Women often wore bonnets in the Nineteenth Century.
Women often wore bonnets in the nineteenth century.
How to Write Decades
Here’s a tip: Decades should be written as two-digit numbers with an apostrophe before them and an s after them (e.g., ’90s). When in doubt, write it out. You can write the entire decade in numerals with an s after it (e.g., 1990s), or write out the words (e.g., the nineties).
This is the way to think about writing decades using numbers: they are both abbreviations and plurals. A shorter way of saying “My mother was born in the 1940s” is “My mother was born in the ’40s.
” The apostrophe (not an opening single quotation mark) indicates where the two century digits would be, had they been included.
There is no need to put an apostrophe between the zero and the s—that would incorrectly indicate a possessive.
Learn English Vocabulary
Learn about days and dates(requires Real Player).
The days of the week:-
Watch and listen to this video (requires access to YouTube.)
The months of the year:-
Now you have a go:-
- For single days and dates we use on.
- For example:
- I was born on the 7th of the month.
- For months we use in.
- For example:
- I was born in September.
! My birthday is on September the 7th.
How to ask the day or date
How to say days of the week, months and dates in English
So let’s make a start by looking at the days of the week in English.
Days of the week in English
- Here are the seven days of the week in English with the pronunciation:
- ⦿ Monday – /’mun.dei/
- ⦿ Tuesday – /’tiu:z.dei/
- ⦿ Wednesday – /’wenz.dei/
- ⦿ Thursday – /’thurz.dei/
- ⦿ Friday – /’frai.dei/
⦿ Saturday – /’sa.ta.dei/
- ⦿ Sunday – /’sun.dei/
- The accent in the pronunciation is always on the first syllable, The two most difficult days to pronounce are Tuesday and Thursday, so take extra time to practice those.
- As you can see, we always use a capital letter for the first letter of each day. Here are some examples:
– I work from Monday to Friday. I’m free on Saturday and Sunday.
– Our next lesson is on Wednesday.
– Saturday is his favorite day of the week because he plays football.
– The meeting is on Thursday at 10:30.
– We’ve got an appointment on Tuesday morning.
As you can see, we often use ‘on’ before the days of the week.
Months in English
Here are the twelve months in English with the pronunciation:
- January – /’gian.iu.e.ri/
- February – /’fe.bru.e.ri/
- March – /’ma:tc/
- April – /’ei.pril/
- May – /’mei/
- June – /’giun/
- July – /giu’lai/
- August – /’o:.gust/
- September – /sep’tem.ba/
- October – /ok’tou.ba/
- November – /nou’vem.ba/
- December – /di’sem.ba/
We also always use a capital letter for the first letter of months. For example:
– February is the shortest month of the year, with only 28 days.
– They’re going away on holiday in May.
– The weather is very hot here in July.
– It’s very cold in December.
– Halloween is in October.
As you can see, with the months we use ‘in’.
Dates in English
When we say the date in English we normally use ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc) instead of cardinal numbers (one, two, three, etc). Let’s look at these ordinal numbers:
- 1st – first
- 2nd – second
- 3rd – third
- 4th – fourth
- 5th – fifth
- 6th – sixth
- 7th – seventh
- 8th – eighth
- 9th – ninth
- 10th – tenth
The numbers from 11-19 follow the same pattern of adding -th to the number:
- 11th – eleventh
- 12th – twelfth (the letter v changes to f)
- 13th – thirteenth
- 14th – fourteenth
- 15th – fifteenth
- 16th – sixteenth
- 17th – seventeenth
- 18th – eighteenth
- 19th – nineteenth
When (time and dates)
Home » English Grammar » Adverbials » Adverbials of time
We use phrases with prepositions as time adverbials:
|clock times:||at seven o'clock||at nine thirty||at fifteen hundred hours|
|mealtimes:||at breakfast||at lunchtime||at teatime|
|these phrases:||at night||at the weekend||at Christmas||at Easter|
|seasons of the year:||in (the) spring/summer/autumn/winter|
|years, centuries, decades:||in 2009||in 1998||in the 20th century||in the 60s||in the 1980s|
|months:||in January/February/March etc.|
|parts of the day:||in the morning||in the afternoon||in the evening|
|days:||on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday etc.||on Christmas day||on my birthday|
|dates:||on the thirty-first of July||on June the fifteenth|
|We say at night when we are talking about all of the night: When there is no moon, it is very dark at night. He sleeps during the day and works at night. but we say in the night when we are talking about a specific time during the night: He woke up twice in the night. I heard a funny noise in the night.|
We often use a noun phrase as a time adverbial:
|last week/month/year||this week/month/year||next week/month/year|
|last Saturday||this Tuesday||next Friday|
|the day before yesterday||the day after tomorrow|
|the other day/week/month|
We can put time phrases together:
We will meet next week at six o'clock on Monday.
I heard a funny noise at about eleven o'clock last night.
It happened last week at seven o'clock on Monday night.
We use ago with the past simple to say how long before the time of speaking something happened:
I saw Jim about three weeks ago.
We arrived a few minutes ago.
We use in with a future form to say how long after the time of speaking something will happen:
I'll see you in a month.
Our train's leaving in five minutes.
When (time and dates)
Prepositions of Time – at, in, on
- at for a PRECISE TIME
- in for MONTHS, YEARS, CENTURIES and LONG PERIODS
- on for DAYS and DATES
|at 3 o'clock||in May||on Sunday|
|at 10.30am||in summer||on Tuesdays|
|at noon||in the summer||on 6 March|
|at dinnertime||in 1990||on 25 Dec. 2010|
|at bedtime||in the 1990s||on Christmas Day|
|at sunrise||in the next century||on Independence Day|
|at sunset||in the Ice Age||on my birthday|
|at the moment||in the past/future||on New Year's Eve|
Look at these examples:
- I have a meeting at 9am.
- The shop closes at midnight.
- Jane went home at lunchtime.
- In England, it often snows in December.
- Do you think we will go to Jupiter in the future?
- There should be a lot of progress in the next century.
- Do you work on Mondays?
- Her birthday is on 20 November.
- Where will you be on New Year's Day?
Notice the use of the preposition of time at in the following standard expressions:
|at night||The stars shine at night.|
|at the weekend*||I don't usually work at the weekend.|
|at Christmas*/Easter||I stay with my family at Christmas.|
|at the same time||We finished the test at the same time.|
|at present||He's not home at present. Try later.|
*Note that in some varieties of English people say “on the weekend” and “on Christmas”.
Notice the use of the prepositions of time in and on in these common expressions:
|in the morning||on Tuesday morning|
|in the mornings||on Saturday mornings|
|in the afternoon(s)||on Sunday afternoon(s)|
|in the evening(s)||on Monday evening(s)|
When we say last, next, every, this we do not also use at, in, on.
- I went to London last June. (not in last June)
- He's coming back next Tuesday. (not on next Tuesday)
- I go home every Easter. (not at every Easter)
- We'll call you this evening. (not in this evening)
Talking About Time: Using ‘At’, ‘In’ and ‘On’
Time is a pretty important part of all of our lives! Wherever we go and whatever we do, it’s always necessary to know how we’re relating to other people through time.
In English, there are a few different ways to think about time – which all depend on what exactly you want to say. So let’s take a closer look!
Prepositions of time
Prepositions are words that come before a noun, and shows that noun’s relationship with everything else in the sentence.
When it comes to prepositions of time – these are words that are used in a very similar way, only they show the relationship of things with reference to time, rather than anything else.
The main prepositions of time you will come across are “at”, “in” and “on”. Let’s take a closer look at what each one means, and how they’re used!
“At” is only used to describe specific times. It might be to describe a particular numerical time on the clock, or it could also be used to refer to particular and specific events or times of day.
- Let’s take a look at some examples!
- To use “at” in relation to clock time, you simply use the word followed by the time. For example:
- “Her train is arriving at 8 o’ clock.”
- “We had lunch at 11:30.”
- “At” can be used with both 24 hour and 12 hour time descriptions, and both use the form in exactly the same way. For example:
- “The plane is landing at 23:40.”
In some cases, you can also use “at” when you’re talking about a specific time of day, or event. But this one is a little more tricky!
- You can use them to refer to general times of day, without specifying a particular time, such as “at breakfast, at lunch time, at night.”
- You can also use “at” to refer to specific events or times, such as “at Christmas, at Easter.”
- Let’s take a look at some examples:
- “He came in late at night.”
- “We’re going on holiday at Christmas this year.”
- “In” is used in phrases that describe a more general period of time, that doesn’t have a specific clock time or time of day.
- Let’s look at some examples to see how it’s used!
- “We got up very early in the morning.”
- “She is planning to move in December.”
- “I was born in 1989.”