A plea for clarity — writing the date


I find no end of confusion when it comes to written dates.    For example,  today could be written numerically as:

2012/7/6  (year/month/day) —  the ISO 8601 international standard or

7/6/2012  (month/day/year)  — as my Windows 7 computer indicates and is common in the U.S. and partially in Canada  or

6/7/2012 (day/month/year) — common in most countries

One can see how the latter two forms could be confusing.    The first format is recommended as being independent of language and is sensible as progressing from largest unit to smallest —  year -> month -> day.     However,  if you are like me,  it is easiest to recall many months by their name, not their number (unless you do this often).  There can be no confusion this way.    Hence, my recommendation as an English teacher is to write today’s date this way:

6 July 2012.     This provides full clarity.  There is no chance for error.    I would prescribe this format for international contexts where absence of ambiguity is desired.


Of course, in some countries like Thailand the year is a completely different matter as it is based on the Buddha’s life,not Jesus’ and is 543 years greater than our Gregorian calendar.   Hence today would be indicated thus:

6/7/2555  or using Thai characters for the month  6 กรกฎาคม 2555



2 thoughts on “A plea for clarity — writing the date

  1. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the
    video to make your point. You definitely know what youre
    talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

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