Hard to believe that 2016 is almost gone and the new year is coming soon. Because years come and go, we are always in need of writing dates and times when we communicate with each other. But what are the proper ways to write dates and times? How exactly do you write a date in a sentence? What about writing am or pm? And lastly, how do you spell out the date correctly?
These are some of the many questions a lot of us have when dealing with times and dates and grammar rules. Other people also have some confusion of when to use ordinal and cardinal numbers (we will explain what these are below.) Plus, there are the questions about when is it right to use ‘th’ and ‘rd’ when writing dates and times. This guide contains all you need to know about writing dates and times the right properly. There also a few rules, tips and exceptions to be aware of as well.
Ordinal vs. Cardinal Difference
When it comes to writing dates and times, the use of ordinal and cardinal numbers always come into question. Cardinal numbers refer to natural numbers such as 0,1,2,3,4…. and so on. On the other hand, ordinal numbers are what you use to refer to place numbers such as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th…. and so on. Keep in mind that these have different meanings in mathematics; especially in set theory.
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Still, when most of us write the date January 1st, 2017, chances are that we will use an ordinal number to do so. The reason for that is because we tend to write things in the same manner we pronounce or hear them. That’s why most would write January 1st or December 25th, 2016 using the ‘st’ after the 1, or ‘th’ after the 25. But the truth is that you don’t need to use ordinal numbers when writing these dates. However, there are a few instances when you can and should use either the ‘th’ or ‘rd’ when writing out dates though.
Here are some examples and rules to follow when using dates:
We were set to meet each other on November 16.
We are set to meet one another on the 16th of November.
Some of the kids played tricks on everyone for April 1. (In most cases, we would write ‘April 1st’ because we tend to spell things how we hear them in our heads.)
On the 1st of April everyone likes playing April fools jokes on each other.
Remember that you only need to use ordinal numbers on dates when the day precedes the month.
I wrote the article on the 16th of December.
The 1st of April is a joker’s holiday!
Writing Out The Time of Day
When it comes to writing out the time of day, some writers prefer to numbers while others choose to spell out the time of day entirely.
He goes to work at 4 o’clock in the morning each day.
She gets up at five thirty to be extra early.
For others who like to be more specific when it comes to dates and times, they use exact times in writing.
Angela waited for her boyfriend’s flight which arrived at 8:45 a.m.
I would really like for everyone to be at the party at exactly 5:30 p.m. this Saturday.
There are also several different ways to using AM and PM when referring to time. You can use either of the following:
PM, pm, p.m. and pm
AM, am, a.m. and am.
Some people also choose to use a space between the numeral time while others do not.
She got there at exactly 9:22 p.m.
She got there at exactly 9:22pm.
When referring to decades and using numerals, here are a few rules to keep in mind.
Many people think that the music of the 1950’s era was the best ever.
I like the music of the ’50s, it makes me feel nostalgic.
During the 1950s, the music was all about love and peace.
During the ’50’s, teen songs were the most popular.
Commas And Dates
One rule to remember is that no commas are needed in between a month and year.
“Paula and I met on September 2009.”
But if the day is added, then you would use a comma in between.
“Dolores and I saw a movie on July 6, 2016.”
In the event that the date comes before the month, then no comma is needed. This often happens when writing for the military or in academic.
The doctor released the results of the test on 24 May 2016.
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One last thing. When you are referring to midnight or noon, it is better to use those exact words as opposed to using either 12:00 a.m or 12:00 p.m. Using either noon or midnight makes it more clearer to the reader as to exactly what time you meant.