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Writing Dates and Times
Ever since it was first issued in 2009, “Writing Dates and Times” has been one
of our most popular grammar blog posts. Because of the many questions we've received asking how to correctly write ranges of dates and times, today we reissue this
article to include additional guidance.
The following examples apply when using dates:
The meeting is scheduled for June 30.
The meeting is scheduled for the 30th of June.
We have had tricks played on us on April 1.
The 1st of April puts some people on edge.
(Some prefer to write it out: The first of April)
There are differing policies for expressing decades using numerals. Some
write the 1980s and the '80s, others write the 1980's and the 80's. However, using two apostrophes (the '80's) is awkward and is not recommended.
During the '80s, the world's economy grew.
During the 1980s, the world's economy grew.
During the 1980's, the world's economy grew.
During the '80's, the world's economy grew.
Some writers spell out the time of day, others prefer numbers.
She gets up at four thirty before the baby wakes up.
The baby wakes up at 5 o'clock in the morning.
Some use numerals with the time of day when exact times are being
Her flight leaves at 6:22 a.m.
Please arrive by 12:30 p.m. sharp.
It is clearer to use noon and midnight rather than 12:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m.
You may use AM and PM, A.M. and P.M., am and pm, or a.m. and p.m.
Some put a space after the numeral, others do not.
Her flight leaves at 6:22 a.m.
Her flight leaves at 6:22am.
Please arrive by 12:30 P.M. sharp.
As you will see in the following examples, there are a number of options
for expressing date and time ranges. Take care to express the ranges
clearly, and be consistent.
(using an en dash in accordance with The Chicago Manual of Style.
The en dash indicates up to and including, or through):
The fair will take place August 31–September 5.
(using a hyphen in accordance with The Associated Press Stylebook):
The fair will take place August 31-September 5.
(reasonably clear): The fair will take place from August 31 to September 5. Most
people would interpret that the fair will begin on August 31 and extend to
and including September 5. However, consider this sentence:
We will be visiting from August 31 to September 5.
Are the visitors departing on September 5 or staying through September 5?
(clear): We will be visiting from August 31 through September 5.
Do not use a hyphen or en dash when from or between is used before the first date or time.
We will be visiting on August 31, 2017, from 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
(exact beginning and end dates not important):
The Straus family lived in the neighborhood from 1949 to 2012.
(from followed by to)
The Straus family lived in the neighborhood between 1949 and 2012.
(between followed by and)
Example (with exact dates):
The Straus family lived in the neighborhood from January 1, 1949, to
October 18, 2012.
Because of the e-newsletter’s large readership, please submit your comments or questions regarding today's (or any past) article through GrammarBook.com’s Grammar Blog
Pop Quiz: Correct or Incorrect?
Answers are at the bottom of the newsletter.
1. The last outbreak of smallpox occurred in the late seventy’s.
2. Can you get here by 12:00 midnight?
3. Please deliver the package by August 1st.
4. Her flight leaves at 5:00 a.m. in the morning.
5. The market is open from 9 am to 9 p.m.
6. Traffic will be detoured on Saturday, April 22, from 1:00 p.m. and 4:00
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Pop Quiz Answers
1. The last outbreak of smallpox occurred in the late seventies.
2. Can you get here by midnight? (leave out 12:00)
3. Please deliver the package by August 1. (OR by the
first of August OR by the 1st of August)
4. “5:00 a.m. in the morning” is redundant. Leave out one or
Her flight leaves at 5:00 a.m. OR Her flight
leaves at 5:00 in the morning.
5. The market is open from 9 am to 9 pm. OR 9
a.m. to 9 p.m.
6. Traffic will be detoured on Saturday, April 22, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. OR between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. OR Traffic will be detoured on Saturday, April 22, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. OR 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. OR use pm, PM, or P.M.
Learn all about who and whom, affect and effect, subjects and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and much more by just sitting back and enjoying these easy-to-follow lessons. Tell your colleagues (and boss), children, teachers, and friends. Click here to watch.