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Re: format of date strings : british english proof reader needed

On Tuesday 13 May 2008 20:53:09 martin f krafft wrote:
> also sprach Jon Evans <saeng2oo@googlemail.com> [2008.05.13.2018 +0100]:
> > We were always taught that the correct way to give the date is:
> > Tuesday the 13th of May 2008
> I was most certainly always taught not to spell it out.

[I am a native British English speaker]

I have never seen a date written in that form.  I always use the long form 
(with "the", "of" and the ordinal number) when verbally giving a date and 
also when reading a date written in any format (including reading a date 
written in the form 13/5/08).  But I have never seen a date in writing 
with "the" and "of" -- it looks most odd.

> But I don't insist. Yet, I like the MHRA style guide, and if it's
> just by reason of it being published already.

There is a lot to be said for using an existing standard -- almost any one 
would do.  On the other hand, the great advantage of using a textual date 
(i.e. not 13/5/08) is that there is no ambiguity so it really doesn't matter.  
Any English speaker (US, British or other) will immediately understand all 
of: "13-Dec-2008", "December 13, 2008" or "13th December 2008".

> > Why not have a quick show of hands and then update the guidelines?
> > I'm fond of 'st,' 'th,' and 'rd' myself but if they've got to go
> > they've got go.

I also write dates with ordinal numbers (unless I am writing it in numeric 
form, which I avoid except in notes to myself because of the ambiguity).  But 
if the standard says not to use them, that would be OK.  I think fewer people 
use them (in writing) now than used to (everyone still uses them in speech as 
far as I can tell).

Vote: if we need a house style for dates, MHRA will do as well as any.  If we 
don't need a standard then just ban numeric dates and let everyone use 
whatever textual format they want.


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