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Talking about dates, days and months in English

There are different ways to say and write the date in British and American English.

Learn how to say dates, days and months in English with Lingolia, then practise in the interactive exercises.

Saying the Date

There are two different ways to say the date in English:

  • first the day (ordinal number), then the month
    here, we say the before the day and of before the month.
    5 October 2004 - the fifth of October, two thousand and four
  • first the month, then the day (ordinal number)
    In British English we say the before the day (in American English we can leave out the.)
    October 5, 2004 - October (the) fifth, two thousand and four

We use it’s to say the date in a sentence.

It’s the fifth of October today.

Asking About The Date

To ask about the date we can say:

What’s the date today?
What date is it today?

Writing the Date

We can write the date with words and numbers or just with numbers. We write the date day + month + year.

5 January 2016

We can write the day as an ordinal number.

5th January 2016

We can put a comma between the month and the year. This is common when the date is part of a sentence.

The baby was born on 5(th) January, 2016.

We can also write the date using just numbers. We use a slash (/), a dot (.) or a dash (-) to separate the numbers.


Writing the Date in American English

In American English, We write the date month + day + year

January 5(th), 2016

Compare the date in British and American English.

5-1-16 → 5 January 2016 (British English)
5-1-16 → May 1 2016 (American English)


The months (and their abbreviations) are listed below:

  1. January (Jan)
  2. February (Feb)
  3. March (Mar)
  4. April (Apr)
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August (Aug)
  9. September (Sep)
  10. October (Oct)
  11. November (Nov)
  12. December (Dec)

Days of the Week

The days of the week (and their abbreviations) are listed below:


Monday (Mon)
Tuesday (Tu, Tue, Tues)
Wednesday (Wed)
Thursday (Th, Thu, Thur, Thurs)
Friday (Fri)


Saturday (Sat)
Sunday (Sun)

Public/Bank Holiday

25th December, 1st January, …


Months and days are always written with capital letters.

My sister was born on Thursday, 5 August, 1986.

Public Holidays

New Year’s Day 1st January
Epiphany/Three Kings’ Day 6th January
Valentine’s Day 14th January
Easter date changes
Ascension Day 5th May
Whitsun date changes
Mother’s Day date changes
Father’s Day date changes
All Saints’ Day 1st November
Remembrance Day 11th November
Christmas Eve 24th December
Christmas Day 25th December
Boxing Day 26th December
New Year’s Eve 31st December
national holiday different for each country
Independence Day different for each country

Useful Vocabulary with Time Words

today Today is Monday.
tomorrow Tomorrow is Tuesday.
the day after tomorrow The day after tomorrow is Wednesday.
yesterday Yesterday was Sunday.
the day before yesterday The day before yesterday was Saturday.
the other day I met him on the train the other day.
this week/month/year This week has been very cold.
next week/month/year I’m going to Spain next month.
last week/month/year She finished studying last year.
in a week/month/year Michael has an exam in a week.
a week/month/year ago We moved to Manchester two years ago.
ages ago The last Harry Potter book came out ages ago.