How to Read the Date in English
Book with the date in English

Learn how to read the date in English

Trying to read the date in English can be more than a little confusing. As well as needing to know numbers one to thirty, you also need to know how to count using ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) and be able to use the shortened version of each number.

Therefore, we will take a look at how to read the date in English and the dates of the month. As well as this, we will also learn how to read years

But why is learning to read dates so important? Because we need to be able to follow a planner; for example, for work events, social events, and birthdays.

So, let’s get started!

1 - Months

January blocks

First, let’s take a look at the twelve months of the year and their shortened names. As you can see; the months of the year get a capital letter at the start of the word; 

  •   January (Jan)
  •   February (Feb)
  •   March (Mar)
  •   April (Apr)
  •   May (May)
  •   June (Jun)
  •   July (Jul)
  •   August (Aug)
  •   September (Sep)
  •   October (Oct)
  •   November (Nov)
  •   December (Dec)

Next; when we talk about a month, we use the preposition in.

For example;

  • My birthday is in May.
  • We will go on vacation in August.
  • Megan will go traveling in September.

2 - Dates

Date in English Halloween

So, now that we know the months of the year, let’s jump into the dates of each month;

To start with;  when we talk about dates, we use ordinal numbers. For example;

1 = First = 1st
2 = Second = 2nd
3 = Third = 3rd
4 = Fourth = 4th
5 = Fifth = 5th
6 = Sixth = 6th
7 = Seventh = 7th
8 = Eighth = 8th
9 = Ninth = 9th
10 = Tenth = 10th

Continuing on from 11 until 19, we still add -th to the end of the number.

11 = Eleventh = 11th
12 = Twelfth = 12th
13 = Thirteenth = 13th
14 = Fourteenth = 14th
15 = Fifteenth = 15th
16 = Sixteenth = 16th
17 = Seventeenth = 17th
18 = Eighteenth = 18th
19 = Nineteenth = 19th

Finally, when we get to number 20 and number 30; we add -ieth.

20 = Twentieth= 20th                                                            
21 = Twenty-first = 21st
22 = Twenty-second = 22nd
23 = Twenty-third = 23rd
24 = Twenty-fourth = 24th
25 = Twenty-fifth = 25th
26 = Twenty-sixth = 26th
27 = Twenty-seventh = 27th
28 = Twenty-Eighth = 28th
29 = Twenty-Ninth = 29th
30 = Thirtieth = 30th
31 = Thirty-first = 31st

Why are there letters at the end of each number?

Let’s take a closer look;

The two letters at the end of each number are the same two letters at the end of each word

For example; 

  • First -> ‘st’
  • Second -> ‘nd’
  • Third -> ‘rd’

See? Super easy!

Following on from this; when we talk about dates, we use the preposition on the’.  

For instance;

  • I will start my new job on the 1st.
  • Jenny’s party will be on the 10th.
  • We celebrate our wedding anniversary on the 30th.

Moreover; when we want to say a date with a month; we say on the … of ….

For example;

  • The family will fly to Japan on the 12th of September
  • We plan to go hiking on the 2nd of April
  • Many people celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December

Are you finding this easy to follow so far? Practice saying or writing some sentences using the sentence structure above. In other words; the more you practice, the easier it will become!

3 - Years


Many Students find years tricky to read because they are made up of four numbers. Therefore, it can be very confusing! So let’s read on to find out the easiest way to read years.

Before 2000

Before the year 2000 (Two thousand), the easiest way to read a year is to divide it into two parts.

For example;

  • 1980 = 19 (nineteen) 80 (eighty) = nineteen-eighty.
  • 1750 = 17 (seventeen) 50 (fifty) = seventeen-fifty.
  • 1642 = 16 (sixteen) 42 (forty-two) = sixteen forty-two.

After 2000

After the year 2000, we need to sayand, then say the extra year(s);

For example; 

People from the UK will say;

  • 2005 = 2000 (two thousand) and 5 (five) = two thousand and five.
  • 2012 = 2000 (two thousand) and 12 (twelve) = two thousand and twelve.
  • 2045 = 2000 (two thousand) and 45 (forty-five) = two thousand and forty-five.

Whereas people from the US will say it differently;

  • 2005 = 2000 (two thousand) and 5 (five) = two thousand and five. 
  • 2012 = 20 (twenty) 12 (twelve) = twenty -twelve
  • 2045 = 20 (twenty) 45 (forty-five) = twenty forty-five

People from the US and people from the UK say 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 in the same way by using the word and after thousand;

  • 2001 = 2000 (two thousand) and 1 (one) = two thousand and one.
  • 2003 =  2000 (two thousand) and 3 (three) = two thousand and three.
  • 2009 =  2000 (two thousand) and 9 (nine) = two thousand and nine.

As well as this, when we talk about years, we use the preposition in.

For example;

  • We got married back in 1985.
  • The first man landed on the Moon in 1969.
  • My birthday is in 1991.

So, now that we know how to say months, dates and years; let’s put them all together in some sentences;

  • Joe was born on the 6th of April, 1998.
  • They will move to a new house on the 31st of March, 2020.
  • Rosie’s cat died on the 15th of August, 1986.

4 - Asking / Giving the date in English

Asking and Giving the date in English

And finally; if you are not sure what date it is, then you will need to ask someone politely.

For instance, you could ask someone;

  • What’s today’s date?
  • What date is it today?
  • Do you have the date?

And if someone asks you what date it is; you could reply;

  • Today is the 13th of December
  • Today is December 13th
  • It’s the 13th of December
  • It’s December 13th

Now you will be able to say the date in English

So there you have it! It is quite easy to read dates, months and years once you practice a little and don’t let the numbers put you off. In short; it just comes down to plain old study!

Try to say the date every morning when you wake up, and use different ways to say it; for example

  • Today is the 7th of November
  • It’s November 8th
  • It’s the 9th of November 

To sum up, if you can do this simple practice each day, you will be able to say the date without any problem!

Here is a great video explaining how to say the date in English.

Good luck! 

More Useful Tips To Help You Improve Your English

Do you know how to use Prepositions of Place? I’m ON the bus. She is AT home. Here we have more great examples to help you!

Good morning! How are you? Good to see you! Here we have more great examples of greeting people in English that you should know!

Do you like reading books? Then follow these great English Reading Tips to help you read effectively.

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