How to write dates correctly in formal English?

September 4th, 2020
Sept.4 2020
4, September, 2020
4th September, 2020
4th of September, 2020
September 4 2020

You might have seen various date formats in English. But you cannot use any format to write a date in formal writing. You will be surprised to know that there are grammar rules to write a date correctly in formal English writing. These rules are to be followed to write the dates formally like in invitation letters or official documents.
There can be a lot of questions in your mind when you write a date in formal documents like what should come first? Date or months? How should you punctuate a date? Where should you use comma? After the months or date?
All these things matter a lot to write a date correctly in formal writing. To know about the difference between formal and informal English, click here.
In this post, you will learn to write the date correctly in formal documents.

Use of Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers:

We use ordinal numbers when we write in format – 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on. We use of cardinal numbers when we write in format – 1, 2, and 3 and so on.
For example
May 1 or
the first of May
Date Formats
There are two date formats in English writing. British date Format and American date Format. British date Format is followed by British people whereas American date Format is followed in Americans. Now I’ll discuss these formats in detail.

British English Date Format

In British English, which is mainly used in Australia, the day is followed by the month, and the month is followed by the year.
1 May 2020
1st May 2020
the 1st of May 2020
the 1st of May, 2020

As for the year, commas are not necessary when you write the date in British English, but you can if you prefer this style.

If you write the same date in numbers following the date format in British English, that will be 1/5/2020 or 1.5.2020 or 1-5-2020
The most commonly used separator in the all-numeric date format is a forward slash (/). However, you can also use a hyphen (-) or a period (.)

The date format in American English

In the American date format, the month comes before the day and then followed by the year.
May 1
May 1, 2020
If you write the name of the day then then the date in American English should be written as:
Monday, May 1, 2020
If you write the same date in all numeric, following the format in American English, it will be like
5/1/2020 or
5.1.2020 or
5-1-2020

How to punctuate a date?

It can be a big question in your mind when you write a date formally.
I have already discussed above, in British English format, commas are not necessary when you write the date in British English, but you can if you prefer this style.
1 May 2020
1 May, 2020
But in American date format, comma is used before the year after the date. If you mention the name of the day, use comma after that also.
Monday, May 1, 2020
Comma is not used after the month or before the date. It is acceptable to add a comma after the year in a sentence, but even if you don’t add, it is grammatically correct.

The International Standard Date Format

There can be a lot of confusion between the two persons from different countries regarding date.
For Example:
If an Australian invites an American on the sixth of May, 2020 by writing a date following his format 6/5/2020, an American will consider this invitation on June 5, 2020.
To avoid miscommunication between people using the British date format and those using the American date format, an International Standard was developed.
The International Standard recommends year first then the month then the date
YYYY-MM-DD
In this format both the persons following the date format in American English or British English will write the date like 2020-05-01.
May 1, 2020 or 1 May 2020 will be written as 2020 May 1.

How to write dates correctly in English?

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