How to write and say dates

Welcome again to the Art of Business English podcast. This week I have a very practical lesson for those of you who are still learning some of the fundamentals of the English language. With that being said, knowing how to correctly say and write dates in English is a critical skill for doing business.

I am sure you will agree that dates play a vital role in everyday business and if you mess up dates or write them incorrectly, then this can lead to some very serious consequences, such as delays and late deliveries.

With this in mind, today I am going to give you a quick lesson on how you can write and say dates correctly. Even if you have an advanced level of English I am sure there are some little gems in here today.

I have divided the episode into several parts, firstly we will look at years, then dates and then centuries. I am also going to give you some useful language on asking for and telling the date.

Let’s jump right in.

How to say the year

Until the year 2000, every year was pronounced as two numbers:

  • 1485 - fourteen eighty-five
  • 1750 - seventeen fifty
  • 1900 - nineteen hundred

For the first years of previous centuries, we add “o” which means 0:

  • 1501 - fifteen o one
  • 1901 - nineteen one

For the first ten years of the 21st century, we use the word thousand:

  • 2000 - two thousand
  • 2007 - two thousand seven

From the year 2010 onwards, you can say two numbers again:

  • 2012 - twenty, twelve
  • 2020 - twenty, twenty

Or you can still use thousand and say

  • 2012 - two thousand twelve
  • 2020 - two thousand twenty

How to say the date

When we say dates in English, we use ordinal numbers. So, for September 1, we say first. We also say the before the number followed by of:

  • It's the first of September.

In American English, it’s also possible to invert the month and day:

  • It's September first.

For written dates, the following rule is used:

British English: Day + Month + Year

  • 9/7/2010 - 9th July 2010

For written dates, the following rule is used:

American English: Month + Day + Year

  • 7/9/2010 - July 9th, 2010

Tip: In English, months and days always start with capital letters.
may → May

monday → Monday

How to say the centuries

When we refer to a century, we also use ordinal numbers:

  • 1800 - 1900: the nineteenth century
  • 1900 - 2000: the twentieth century

Centuries are divided into ten decades (a period of ten years).

How to ask the date

If you want to ask what the date is, you can say:

  • What date is it?
  • What's the date today?
  • What's today's date?
  • Do you know what the date is today?
  • What date are we on today?
  • What's the date tomorrow?
  • What's tomorrow's date?

You can answer by saying:

  • It's the 10th of April.
  • It's April 10th.
  • Tomorrow is April 10th.

How to ask the day of the week

If you want to ask the day of the week, you can say:

  • What day is it today?
  • What's the day today?
  • What day is it tomorrow?
  • What's the day tomorrow?

You can answer by saying:

  • It's Monday today.
  • Today is Monday.
  • Tomorrow is Tuesday.
  • It's Tuesday tomorrow.

Final thoughts

These are the ways we write and say dates. These are very natural English techniques and are used commonly by native speakers.

I hope you found this episode interesting and useful. If you would like me to prepare you an episode on a topic that you are having problems with, then why not send me a Speak Pipe message below. I would be more than happy to prepare that for you.

See you next week. Take care. 

Are you looking to expand your knowledge of English vocabulary and expressions? 

Grab your copy of my eBook "500 Business English Collocations for Everyday Use". Includes free download audio of pronunciation 

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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