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This English language lesson on dates, months and years is perfect for English language learners looking to improve their pronunciation and fluency. This lesson covers the different ways to say dates in English and provides you with pronunciation tips to help them become confident and accurate when talking about dates.
Native English speakers often mix up how they say the current date, using ordinals, long form dates and short form dates. This can make using dates in an Everyday English conversation quite complicated. With practice and repetition,
you will be able to easily and confidently use dates in an Everyday English conversation.
✔Lesson transcript: https://adeptenglish.com/lessons/learn-english-language-dates/
Listen and learn is a great way to help you improve your pronunciation and fluency is with a lesson on dates, months and years.
Traditional Ordinal Cardinal Abbreviate Consistent Spreadsheet
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Hi there. Today let's do some basics in English. Basics, but things that people get wrong. Do you know how to do dates in English? Months of the year, days of the week, the year itself.
If you use your English at work and you want to sound professional, you need to know how to say the date correctly. And there are differences between how you see it written down and how you say it. And there are different formats for the date. It's the kind of material you learn in your very first English lessons, but that doesn't mean it's simple. So let's work on your pronunciation and some of the things that people can make mistakes with around dates, today.
And I don't mean either a fruit or going out for a drink with someone that you might have a romance with. They're different types of 'date'.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
If you are not sure what I meant with that last bit, then we reuse words in English. We use the same word to mean different things. So 'a date', D A T E, can also mean a fruit. Date and walnut cake is one of my favourites. And 'a date' can also mean when you go out to meet someone with the idea of something romantic in mind.
But today I'm talking about dates that you might find on your calendar.
So if I say that today is Thursday the 23rd of January, 2023, let's unpack that.
It seems simple on the face of it, but you can test how well you know your dates in this podcast and your date formats.
So that date, Thursday, the 23rd of January, 2023. That's usually the way we say the date. We don't necessarily say the day of the week, but the 26th of January, 2023, or sometimes we say 2023. That's the usual way that we say the date. And we write it differently.
A photograph of a calendar. Learn how to confidently and accurately use dates in English with this comprehensive lesson.
Notice that we don't write the 'the' in front of the number, but we say 'the 23rd' or 'the 26th'. And notice also the 26th 'of' January. We don't write the 'of' down either, but we do usually say that. You could say 'Thursday, 23rd January', but it's more usual to put the 'the' and the 'of' in there.
And if you want to write that, date down, you can literally write 'Thursday 23rd January, 2023'. But a more common format might be '23/01/23'.
We abbreviate a date sometimes when we write it down. That's A B B R E V I A T E, 'abbreviate', and the verb 'to abbreviate' means 'to shorten'. We give it a shortened form.
If you're putting dates into a spreadsheet, maybe like Excel - maybe you're doing your tax return - you want the date to be the same length each time, so '23/01/23' works. Whereas if you were trying to allow a different length for 'May', three letters and 'September', nine letters, that would be a problem in a spreadsheet.
So quite often we use this abbreviated form. And if you're reading that quickly, you might say '23 01 23'.
But if we're saying the date in full, one of the things that people can struggle with is that number. Today is the '23rd' of January. We don't say the 23 January.
So that little 'rd' at the end, or the 'th' at the end as it more usually is, needs some practice. This way of expressing a number, it's called an 'ordinal' or 'an ordinal number', that's O R D I N A L, but you'll not hear it called that very often. We do use them all the time, though. It's wherever number is being used to show an order of something.
If you think about the Olympic Games, if you're in 1st place, you get a gold medal. If you're in 2nd place, you get a silver medal, and if you're in 3rd place, then you get a bronze metal. So '1st', '2nd', '3rd' are all 'ordinal numbers', perhaps ones we're familiar with.
And you can spell these out in letters. It's more common with 'first', F I R S T, or 'second', S E C O N D, or even 'third', T H I R D. But with bigger numbers, we tend to write the number and then we put two little letters at the end to show the ending. So the 31st, we would write '31st'. Or the 14th we'd write '14th'. This is the bit that can be confusing. So what are the rules here?
Well, if the number of the day ends in a '1', it's first, ' 1st'. Or 21st, written '21st'. Or 31st, written '31st'. So we've taken the last two letters of the word 'first', and we've stuck it on the end of a number to show that it's an ordinal.
Similarly, if the day number ends in a '2', we write it as '2nd'. If it's the 22nd, it's '22nd' and you won't come across the 32nd when you're dealing with dates of course, but that would be '32nd' and so on. We've taken the last two letters of the word 'second', and we've stuck it on the end of the date.
Similarly with 'third', so you'll see '3rd' written as the date. And you can have the '23rd' as in 'the 23rd of January'. And the '33rd' is what it would be if there was a 33rd of the month. We've taken that 'rd' off the end and we've stuck it on the back of the '3' - '3rd' .
Notice there that 11th, 12th and 13th are different. They've got one, two, and three at the end, but because we're in the numbers that we know as 'the teens', it's slightly different. I didn't promise you it would be logical or consistent - English rarely is! So those are still worth a little bit of practice.
11th is '11th', and the word is spelled E L E V E N T H. 12th, you might want to practice your pronunciation 'cause some of these are hard to say. That's '12th', if you're writing it. Or if you spell it, it's T W E L F T H. So you've got quite a lot of consonants together there - 'twelfth'.
Then 13th follows the pattern that all the other teen numbers follow. So it's '13th' or T H I R T E E N T H, 'thirteenth'. And so on it goes.
Just one other thing to notice. If the number has a zero at the end, like 20, 30, 40, then when we come to spell it, so we'd say 20th, 30th, 40th, but when we write that word down 20th, it's T W E N T I E T H. You're not likely ever to do that for a date. We would almost always use the ordinal number format for the date, '20th' or '30th'
I'm sure you know the months, but shall we just practise their pronunciation as well? January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December.
And what about the year?
Well, if the year starts '19' or 19, or in the centuries earlier than that, it might be 18 something. If it starts like that, then it's really simple. '1987' is 'nineteen eighty seven'. That's the way we always say it, or (1882) 'eighteen eighty two', perhaps.
These are relevant sometimes because you might be giving your date of birth, say.
It gets slightly more complicated once we're into the millennium - that means past the year 2000. So if it's '2000', we say 'two thousand'. And for '2004', we usually say 'two thousand and four'. Once it gets past '2010', you can say 'two thousand and ten', but you might also hear 'twenty ten'. Or '2011' would be 'twenty eleven' or 'two thousand and eleven'. You've got a choice there - we say it both ways.
So shall we practise saying some dates? How about I give you some dates in that number format and then, you say them back to me in full? So if I say, 01/01/23', you say to me 'the first of January twenty twenty three'. Does that make sense? Or if I say to you 23/08/86 you would say to me, 'that's the twenty third of August, nineteen eighty six'.
Shall we practise?
- 31/05/92. 31/05/92.
- 13/12/04. 13/12/04.
- 17/02/21. 17/02/21.
- 04/11/00. 04/11/00.
- 22/05/24. 22/05/24.
- 03/03/21. 03/03/21. Or '03/03/21' Another way of saying it.
- 30/06/99. 30/06/99. And...
- 08/04/82. 08/04/82.
Okay. How did you get on with those? Did you find that easy or difficult? If you want to have another practice before I give you the answers, then stop here.
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OK? Those answers quickly.
- 31/05/92 is 'the thirty first of May, nineteen ninety two'.
- 13/12/04 is 'the thirteenth of December, two thousand and four'.
- 17/02/21 is 'the seventeenth of February, twenty twenty one' or 'two thousand and twenty one'.
- 04/11/00 is 'the fourth of November, two thousand'.
- 22/05/24 is 'the twenty second of May, twenty twenty four'.
- 03/03/21 is 'the third of March, twenty twenty one' or 'the third of March, two thousand and twenty one.
- 30/06/99 is 'the thirtieth of June, nineteen ninety nine. And...
- Finally, 08/04/82 is 'the eighth of April, nineteen eighty two'.
If you'd like to test yourself further, listen to that date quiz again, but this time, see if you can write them down in words - that's advanced level!
I told you there was a little bit more to it than you learned in your first English lessons at school perhaps. So, listen to this podcast a number of times until you're completely comfortable with how to say the date in English and how to write it down as well
Enough for now. Have a lovely date. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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