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2.16. What is the correct way to write dates?




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This article is from the Calendars FAQ, by Claus Tondering claus@tondering.dk with numerous contributions by others.

2.16. What is the correct way to write dates?

The answer to this question depends on what you mean by "correct".
Different countries have different customs.

Most countries use a day-month-year format, such as:
25.12.1998 25/12/1998 25/12-1998 25.XII.1998

In the U.S.A. a month-day-year format is common:
12/25/1998 12-25-1998

International standard ISO-8601 mandates a year-month-day format,
namely either 1998-12-25 or 19981225. This format is gaining
popularity in some countries.

In all of these systems, the first two digits of the year are
frequently omitted:
25.12.98 12/25/98 98-12-25

This confusion leads to misunderstandings. What is 02-03-04? To most
people it is 2 Mar 2004; to an American it is 3 Feb 2004; and to a
person using the international standard it would be 4 Mar 2002.

If you want to be sure that people understand you, I recommend that
you
* write the month with letters instead of numbers, and
* write the years as 4-digit numbers.

 

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