Grammar Is It Fourth of July or 4th of July? |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Is It Fourth of July or 4th of July?

As Independence Day approaches, many of you may be wondering how to write the name of the holiday—is it Fourth of July or 4th of July?

The Chicago Manual of Style refers to the holiday as “the Fourth of July” or “the Fourth.” The Associated Press Stylebook lists “Fourth of July” and “July Fourth” as acceptable in formal writing. 

When expressing the date rather than the holiday, writing either July 4 or the 4th of July is acceptable. When writing a complete date in a sentence, use a comma to separate the day of the month from the year, and—what most people often forget—always put one after the year as well.


On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence. 

You can find more information about writing dates in our post Writing Dates and Times.

Should We Always Capitalize Independence Day?

Independence Day is synonymous with the holiday expressions the Fourth, Fourth of July, and July Fourth. As a holiday, Independence Day is a proper noun that should always be capitalized.

We would not capitalize the phrase if we are using it as a common reference to freedom not related to the United States’ declaration of national independence.


My independence day takes place the day my rookie contract expires and releases me into the possibilities of baseball free agency.

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5 responses to “Is It Fourth of July or 4th of July?”

  1. Jennifer L. White says:

    I have been receiving your emails for years and I love them! I don’t always have the time to read them all, but I have so much to learn and working for attorneys for 30 years, so do the attorneys!

  2. Don Brazelton says:

    I really appreciate having these grammar related emails because correct communication skills give clarity to my writings. I have an email folder dedicated to grammar, and I refer to it if I need to verify something.

  3. Brenda R says:

    I skip all the angst over 4th (or Fourth) of July – or what ever is causing this month’s angst.

    I simply refer to that holiday as Independence Day – and call it respectful enough.

  4. Patrick Kuo says:

    When referring to the Independence Day, is it acceptable to use “4th July” instead of “4th of July?”

    • says:

      As the post states, the following are acceptable when referring to the holiday (Independence Day):
      the Fourth of July
      the Fourth
      Fourth of July
      July Fourth

      When referring to the date itself, write either “July 4” or “the 4th of July.” We do not recommend omitting “of.”

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