Writing Style – The “th” on Dates

This BizWritingTip continues a previous blog discussion on how to write dates.

It is considered substandard North American English to place an “rd,” “st” or “th” after a number directly following a month.

Example Incorrect

January 14th, 2011


January 14, 2011


14th of January or 14th day of January (The number comes before the month – perfect for a legal documents and formal invitations.)

We will meet on the 14th. (This is correct because the month is not used.)

People often complain that their computers automatically add the “th.” With Office 2007, this will not happen.

Note: If your organization works on ISO standards, it is recommended that you use this approach for dates: YYYY/MM/DD


2011/01/14 (January 14, 2011)

These notations are already widely used in Japan, Korea, Hungary, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and a few other countries.

Many organizations have set their own style guide for writing numbers. Go with whomever pays your salary!