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Should You Use Words or Numbers for Dates?

Is it "the 27th of December" or "the twenty-seventh of December"?

By
Mignon Fogarty,

calendar datesPeggy N. asked, “It's the 21st. You have plenty of time. Do I write it that way, or should it be It's the twenty-first?

I like it better written out, but want to be correct.”

Whether you use arabic figures (21st) or words (twenty-first) is a matter of style, so if Peggy is writing it for herself, she can write it out in words if that’s what she likes.

Liking it written out makes her a Chicago Manual of Style type of girl because that’s what Chicago recommends. (1)

The Associated Press’ AP Stylebook, on the other hand, recommends using the arabic figures. (2, 3) Here’s a recent example from a New York Times article: “We’re hoping we’re going to be busy on the 24th, too.”

References

1. “Month and day.” The Chicago Manual of Style Online. Section 9.32. 2010. http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/16/ch09/ch09_sec032.html (accessed December 28, 2012).
2. “dates.” AP Stylebook Online. 2012 http://www.apstylebook.com/online/?do=entry&id=789&src=AE (accessed December 28, 2012).
3. “months.” AP Stylebook Online. 2012 http://www.apstylebook.com/online/?do=entry&id=1939&src=AE (accessed December 28, 2012).

Calendar image, The Cleveland Kid at Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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