How to read and write the date, and how NOT to!

If you don’t know how to write the date correctly, you could lose your job. Are you scheduling a meeting, organizing an event, or planning a party? Watch this lesson first to avoid confusion. By reading or writing the date incorrectly, you could lose your job, miss an event, or even DIE. The date is written differently in different parts of the world, so it is important to know how to write for the people in your life. I’ll show you how the date is written in different parts of the world, and teach you how to ALWAYS use the right date format. You’ll learn when to write the date in words, when to use numbers, and what DD-MM-YY means. This lesson is important for everyone, but especially those who work with people from other countries.



Hi. I’m Rebecca from engVid, and I have a simple question for you today. What date is this? Look at it, and tell me what date it is. Now, you probably said one of these. You might have said: “April 3rd, 2018” or “the 4th of March, 2018”, and that’s the problem, that not everybody who is watching this video from different parts of the world said the same thing. Can you imagine all of the problems that would ensue, that would follow if you announced this date for a major event where people from all over the world are going to attend? You could lose your job for this one, and I’m not exaggerating. This is a really serious point to learn in today’s lesson. Okay?

Now, let’s take it a little bit further. Let’s imagine that you’re organizing a conference. Let’s pretend you’re organizing a lecture at a university, or let’s pretend that you’re planning a wedding for a friend and you’re sending out invitations. Okay? Let’s see what happens if you write the date like this. Lots of interesting things, I assure you.

All right, so let’s see what happened. If you sent out an invitation or an announcement with the date written like this: “04-03-2018”, the Americans and Filipinos wrote: “April 3rd, 2018” in their diaries. In the meantime, the Brits, Germans, Russians, Mexicans, Indians, and a whole lot of others wrote: “4th of March, 2018” in their diaries. Already confusion is on the horizon. Right? Lots of expenses, lots of confusion, lots of issues. And the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, they really weren’t sure because you weren’t actually following their system at all, so they’re flooding your inbox to ask you: “Which date did you actually mean?” And all of this is leading to a lot of unnecessary problems, so I’m going to show you exactly what you need to do, when you need to write the date in words, and at other times when you need to write the date in numbers, how to do that and what guidelines you can follow. Now, of course, I’m giving you the general picture, it will also depend a lot on your company, what policies they have regarding how you write the date, the date format, and so on. But I’m going to tell you exactly how to write the date in words and also in numbers when you really have to. Keep watching.

Okay. So, as I said, when you have a choice, always write the date in words. And I’m going to show you exactly how you can do that in the next segment. But sometimes you don’t have a choice. Sometimes, for example, if you’re filing out a job application online or a government form, or a visa application, or you’re writing the date on a cheque, sometimes you’re going to see little squares where something is written in the background very lightly. It’s usually a “D” or an “M” or a “Y”, or all of them. Okay? So what does that “D”, “M”, and “Y” stand for? The “D” stands for “Day”, the “M” stands for “Month” and the “Y” stands for “Year”. Okay? So that already will help you a whole lot anytime you’re filling out any kind of form. All right? Now, these are the different options you might see there and what will… I’m just trying to show you an example of how you would change the information based on what they’re asking you with the “D”, “M”, and “Y”. Okay? So let’s suppose that you’re filling out an application, a visa application, and they’re going to ask for your birthdate. All right? And let’s suppose your birthdate is January 3rd, 1986. If the form says: “Day/Month/Year”, then you would write: “03/01/86”. Now, usually they have two spots available for the day and the month, because they obviously… December is 12. Okay? You can’t have more than two digits for the day or for the month. So if it just says… If it just has two, four, six spots there with a “D” and a “Y”, you’re going to write the date like that. Sometimes they switch it around, then you’ll know: “Month/Day/Year”, so in this case it would become January 3rd, ’86. Okay? This is a situation in which the year is only asked for in two digits. Okay? Sometimes you see it like this: Year, month, day, then you would write, in this case: “86-01-03”. Year, day, month: “86-03-01”.

Video “How to read and write the date, and how NOT to!” Author: Learn English with Rebecca [engVid]