How to read and write the date, and how NOT to!

Hi. I’m Rebecca from engVid, and I have
a simple question for you today. What date is this? Look at it, and tell
me what date it is. Now, you probably
said one of these. You might have said: “April 3rd, 2018” or “the
4th of March, 2018”, and that’s the problem, that not everybody who is watching this video from
different parts of the world said the same thing. Can you imagine all of the problems that would
ensue, that would follow if you announced this date for a major event where people
from all over the world are going to attend? You could lose your job for this
one, and I’m not exaggerating. This is a really serious point
to learn in today’s lesson. Okay? Now, let’s take it a
little bit further. Let’s imagine that you’re
organizing a conference. Let’s pretend you’re organizing a lecture at
a university, or let’s pretend that you’re planning a wedding for a friend and
you’re sending out invitations. Okay? Let’s see what happens if you
write the date like this. Lots of interesting
things, I assure you. All right, so let’s
see what happened. If you sent out an invitation or an announcement
with the date written like this: “04-03-2018”, the Americans and Filipinos wrote:
“April 3rd, 2018” in their diaries. In the meantime, the Brits, Germans, Russians,
Mexicans, Indians, and a whole lot of others wrote: “4th of March, 2018”
in their diaries. Already confusion is on the horizon.
Right? Lots of expenses, lots of
confusion, lots of issues. And the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, they
really weren’t sure because you weren’t actually following their system at all, so
they’re flooding your inbox to ask you: “Which date did you
actually mean?” And all of this is leading to a lot of unnecessary
problems, so I’m going to show you exactly what you need to do, when you need to write
the date in words, and at other times when you need to write the date in numbers, how to
do that and what guidelines you can follow. Now, of course, I’m giving you the general
picture, it will also depend a lot on your company, what policies they have regarding how
you write the date, the date format, and so on. But I’m going to tell you exactly how to write
the date in words and also in numbers when you really have to. Keep watching. Okay. So, as I said, when you have a choice,
always write the date in words. And I’m going to show you exactly how
you can do that in the next segment. But sometimes you
don’t have a choice. Sometimes, for example, if you’re filing out a
job application online or a government form, or a visa application, or you’re writing the
date on a cheque, sometimes you’re going to see little squares where something is
written in the background very lightly. It’s usually a “D” or an “M”
or a “Y”, or all of them. Okay? So what does that “D”,
“M”, and “Y” stand for? The “D” stands for “Day”, the “M” stands
for “Month” and the “Y” stands for “Year”. Okay? So that already will help you a whole lot
anytime you’re filling out any kind of form. All right? Now, these are the different options
you might see there and what will… I’m just trying to show you an example of
how you would change the information based on what they’re asking you
with the “D”, “M”, and “Y”. Okay? So let’s suppose that you’re filling out an
application, a visa application, and they’re going to ask for your birthdate. All right? And let’s suppose your birthdate
is January 3rd, 1986. If the form says: “Day/Month/Year”,
then you would write: “03/01/86”. Now, usually they have two spots available for
the day and the month, because they obviously… December is 12. Okay? You can’t have more than two digits
for the day or for the month. So if it just says… If it just has two, four, six spots there
with a “D” and a “Y”, you’re going to write the date like that. Sometimes they switch it around, then you’ll
know: “Month/Day/Year”, so in this case it would become January 3rd, ’86. Okay? This is a situation in which the year
is only asked for in two digits. Okay? Sometimes you see it like this: Year, month, day,
then you would write, in this case: “86-01-03”. Year, day, month: “86-03-01”. Okay? And sometimes you’ll see that they
ask for the year in four digits. Okay? Then it’s like this:
“YYYY”, right? So then it would be: “1986”, month: “03”,
day: “01”, or it could be the same thing with four digits for the year,
and day and month. Okay? So, here we’ve looked at some different options
where if you had to write this date, you might be asked any of these ways to write it, and
you want to make sure you write it properly so that you don’t have a lot of problems afterwards,
bureaucratic and otherwise, because you wrote the wrong date. And then they think they’re not who you think
you are, and all kinds of other problems. Okay? So you really don’t want that. Now, one other thing. Sometimes in some situations they ask for
the month, not in two letters, okay? Or numbers, but as three. So you might see: “MMM”. What does that mean? How can you write three? Are you supposed to
put another zero? No. When you see three Ms, that means they’re
asking for the month, part of it, to be written in letters. So, which letters? How do you abbreviate that? In this case they’re asking you to put the
first three letters of the month, so: “Jan”, “Feb”, “March”, okay? You just put the
first three letters. Okay? If you see that they’re asking
for the month in three spaces. All right? And listen, it’s not only for job applications
and cheques, and things like that, you could actually do yourself a lot of harm if you don’t
understand and you can’t interpret these dates properly. Let’s look at some
other situations. We already talked about how you or many other
people might miss a very important event. You could end up eating spoiled food, because,
you know, printed on food packages is the date and sometimes, unfortunately,
it’s written like this. You could end up buying products which have expired,
or you could even end up using old medicines. All of that is really dangerous. You can also make mistakes in legal contracts
and all kinds of other complicated situations. Okay? So, as I said, whenever possible, you should
write the date in words, and that’s what we’re going to look at next. All right, so the great
date debate continues. Now, you’re saying: “You mean to tell me for something as important as
this, there is no standardization in the world?” No. There really isn’t. Of course, there are organizations that have
tried to standardize this, a very well-known organization is the International Organization
for Standards, also known as ISO, right? They said it is more
logical to make… To write the date in this way, to write
the year, the month, and then the day. You start from the biggest number, go down
to the month, go down to the day. Right? But unfortunately that system is
not followed all over the world. Okay? It may be followed in some countries, for
example, we said in China, Korea, and Japan they actually do follow the ISO 8601 system which
says you must write it as year, month, day. So, let’s say that August 1st, 2018 would
be written this way in these countries and any other countries that actually
decide to follow this ISO 8601 system. It can not only be countries,
it can also be some companies. So always be aware and find out what your
company suggests, and what they insist on in terms of the date format. Okay? You want to
ask them about… Use that term:
“The date format”. All right. Now, so even though, yeah, it’s good if everybody
followed that system it would make sense or one system. There are two other main systems,
the American and the British. Okay? So, just to review, the Americans put the
month first, then the day, then the year, whether the year is written in four
digits or two, doesn’t matter. The British: Day, month, year. Okay? So, August, this would be: “08-01-2018” if
you’re writing it in numbers, but as I said, if you can avoid it at all
do not write it in numbers. Only write it in numbers
if a form asks you for it. Okay? Or if your company
insists on it. All right. Rather than that,
write it in words. Now, usually in the States we write it like this:
“August 1st, 2018”, and why do we put the comma? Because otherwise all these
numbers can mixed up. Right? So the comma is to
separate the date from the year. All right? You could also write it this way: “August
1st” with the “st” for “1st”, right? Again, you need the comma, 2018. And this, as I said, is followed in a few
countries, like the USA, the Philippines, usually in Canada also
we follow this system. Okay? There are some of our government forms which
might ask for specific other formats, but then they would say, you
know: “D/M/Y” and so on. All right. If you’re in Britain or if you’re following
the British system which is followed in lots of countries, and lots of areas of the world,
then you would go with day, month, year. For example, so here would be
the first of August, 2018. They also write it in words slightly
differently from the States. Okay? So they put… They follow the same
system, so they say… And they say: “The
first of August 2018.” Now, when you write the date like this you
don’t need to put the comma because there’s no confusion. Right? There’s a date here, there’s a word, then there’s
a date, so there’s no confusion, unlike here. And if you want, you can also write
the “st”: “The 1st of August 2018.” All right? Now, whether you write it this way or this
way, it will be very clear to anybody who’s reading it anywhere in the
world what that date is. Right? So, as I said, whenever
possible, write it in words. These are some of the parts of the world that
actually follow this system, the UK, many countries in Europe, many countries in Latin
America, Australia, Russia, India, and so on. It would be very interesting if you like, in
fact, in the comments section of this video to write your country and then put down
how you write the date in your country, which date format is followed. If you’re not sure, just
check your computer. Usually your computers have the date according
to the system that’s followed in that country. All right? So, I hope this lesson helped you a lot to
clarify this issue or even to bring this issue to your attention because maybe you weren’t
even aware of this difference; and yet, I’m sure you understand now it can make
such a difference, especially at work. It can save your job, it can save your health, it
can save your time, and it can save a lot of money, and if you, god forbid, were to have ever
used any medicines that were outdated, it could even save your life. So, I hope this
lesson helped you. If you found this lesson helpful please check out
some of my other lessons on YouTube or on engVid, and after that please go to our website
at to do a quiz on this so you can really master
it once and for all. Okay? Thanks so much for watching. Thanks for your patience. You will be rewarded. Bye for now.

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