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Crazy American Dates

Travel Forums Off Topic Crazy American Dates

1. Posted by ROLLonOZ (Full Member 36 posts) 11y

Just a general wondering really.

How come in Britan and Europe (I think) we write the date as DD/MM/YYYY, eg 14/01/05, the 14th Day of the 1st Month of the 2005 year.

When in America its MM/DD/YYYY. Doesn't make sense to me but i'm sure theres a very obvious explanation which i'm missing :)

2. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

As I understand it, the English date accends from lowest period to higher period. Days are the smallest division, then months and then years. Thus, DD/MM/YYYY

The American dates are configured to be more along the lines of how someone would speak the date, "January 14th, 2005." Thus MM/DD/YYYY.

I have always been confused by the whole thing, because in Canada we officially use the English version, but because I spent a significant amount of my time in the U.S., and work for a U.S. company, I often get communications in the American format.

To facilitate ease of understand, I always write the date as:

DD MMM YYYY, where MMM is the three letter month, like 14 JAN 2005.

3. Posted by JaneS (Budding Member 6 posts) 11y

I can understand the American way of writing it as they say the date (MM/DD/YYYY), but in Australia we generally seem to say "the 14th of January". Of course, we'd write it as 14th January, but we say the 'of'. Maybe we're just making more work for ourselves.

But on the other hand, maybe the American way makes more sense...just think about writing dates in your diary - it's easier if you know what month you're supposed to be writing the appoinment in, and then specify the day, rather than the other way around. I don't know if that made any sense, but at least I know what I'm talking about. I think.

4. Posted by dougj (Budding Member 32 posts) 11y

i'm canadian and have always used month/day/year, never the other way around.

5. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 11y

How come in Britan and Europe (I think) we write the date as DD/MM/YYYY,

Unfortunately, it's not even as easy as that. Probably the single biggest problem i have travelling and working for lots of foreign customers is getting the date the right way around.

I'm British (150105) living in Sweden (051501) for a company who's biggest customer - and my boss - is American (011505), whilst the int'l standrad we have to use on some products doesn't really care about the day (010515).

I try and avoid at all costs using any date before the 13th of each month, as i just know i'll get it wrong! And the worse part of it is that i struggle to even know/remember which month/year it physically is as it all blurs into one, let alone how to write it!!

6. Posted by Kingwindle (Respected Member 301 posts) 11y

I tend to also say it in the way of the 14th 'of' January. Not January the 14th. I only say that I think because of the way we have grown up with it.
Its hard though when you work at your desk and get dates in emails from America and it takes my brain a few seconds to register!!