The date in English – Writing and Spelling

1. General

How to say the year

You write You say
1900 nineteen hundred
1901 nineteen hundred (and) one
nineteen oh-one
1995 nineteen ninety-five
2000 two thousand
twenty hundred
2002 two thousand (and) two
twenty oh-two
2010 two thousand (and) ten
twenty ten

You normally split up the year in tens.

1985 is split up in 19 and 85. (You say: nineteen eighty-five).

From 2000 until 2009 the year is normally not split up.

  • 2000 = two thousand
  • 2001 = two thousand (and) one

The word and is often left out. From 2010 on the year is split up again.

2010 is split up in 20 and 10. (You say: twenty ten).

2. Writing and saying the date in British English

rule: day – month – year

    Day   Month Year
You write:   1st    January, 2010
You say: the first of January twenty ten

Note: The two letters at the end of the number and the comma are often left out.

3. Writing and saying the date in American English

rule: month – day – year

  Month   Day Year
You write: January   1st, 2010
You say: January (the)* first twenty ten

* The definite article ›the‹ can be left out.

4. Sample sentences and the correct prepositions:

  • I was born in 1999. (Use in with the year.)
  • I was born in August. (Use in with the month.)
  • I was born on 12th May, 2000. (Use on in the complete date.)

5. Abbreviations BC, AD, BCE, CE

Sometimes BC or AD is added after the year.


  • 1060 BC (ten sixty Before Christ)
  • 1060 AD (ten sixty Anno Domini) – This is Latin for in the year of the Lord.

The abbrevations BCE or CE are becoming more and more common today.

  • 1060 BCE (ten sixty Before the Common/Current/Christian Era)
  • 1060 CE (ten sixty Common/Current/Christian Era)


  • 1060 BC = 1060 BCE
  • 1060 AD = 1060 CE

6. Note

It is common to use numbers instead of months.

British English

  • 13-11-2010
  • 13/11/2010
  • 13.11.2010

American English

  • 11-13-2010
  • 11/13/2010
  • 11.13.2010

If you write 4/8/2011, it is the 4th August 2011 in Britain, but it is April 8th, 2011 in the USA.

Thanks to Sharon.