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How we say dates
1st of January or January the 1st
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2013/12/09
1:24pm
Phairch
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I’ve been fascinated by the way a particular person referred to a famous date since it and everything related to it happened. I’ve never heard common usage in everyday interactions or in media referring to a date like this.

 

You can guess who it was…

 

People generally say “September 11th” or “the 11th of September.”

 

This person used “September the eleventh” so many times that it added to my disdain for him and has created a hard-wired association with it to him in my mind.  

 

I have been unsuccessful at finding information about this usage on the internet.   Can you shed any light on the origin of this and where, if anywhere, it’s used more commonly than here in the upper Midwest?

2013/12/09
7:01pm
RobertB
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It sounds quite ok.  This site for one recommends it.
2013/12/10
8:12am
deaconB
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When the pretty young thang at the doctor’s office asks me my birthday – which seems to be ALL the time since HIPPA, I always respond in the format “7 July, 1776″.   It’s a programmer’s thing, because if you write dates as YYYYMMDD, it’s VERY easy to sort them, and it’s a pain if days are between months and years.   But internationally, they do that as well.

If I think fast, I use MM/DD/YYYY format, since I know that’s what they expect, and it’s the polite thing to do, but I think in the other format.

2013/12/10
11:14am
Bob Bridges
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I almost always say “December tenth, twenty thirteen”, but I almost always write “2013-12-10″.   And being a weirdo, I wrote it that way even back in high school, years before I became a computer nerd and learned that it’s an ANSI standard.   I wasn’t thinking of sorting, back then; it just seemed to me that one should start with the general and work one’s way down to the specific.   I suppose if I had invented the US Mail, I would have done addresses that way, too; state, then city, then street, then number, then name.

But deaconB, you say it d mmmm, yyyy and then cite yyyymmdd.   How does the latter explain why you say the former?

Phairch, I grew up in the Midwest and I definitely learned “December the 12th” as a normal way of expressing it.   I’ve never noticed its absence, but I just asked my grown daughter and she thinks “December the 10th” sounds weird, so I expect you’re right.

2013/12/10
3:55pm
deaconB
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Bob Bridges said
But deaconB, you say it d mmmm, yyyy and then cite yyyymmdd.   How does the latter explain why you say the former?

Phairch, I grew up in the Midwest and I definitely learned “December the 12th” as a normal way of expressing it.   I’ve never noticed its absence, but I just asked my grown daughter and she thinks “December the 10th” sounds weird, so I expect you’re right.

Whether you put day first or last,  keeping month in the middle is the key thing. This is all based on obsolete technology, of course. A modern POSIX-compliant computer counts the number of seconds since the epoch.   Scientists keep adding “leap seconds” to compensate for a planet that slowing down, and computers are now something like 18 seconds off.

Does your daughter cringe in horror at “Friday the 13th” movies for lexical reasons?

2013/12/10
5:43pm
Bob Bridges
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Or the song “December the 25th!”, for that matter.   I just asked; I gather she’s barely aware of those movies.   But she adds that “Friday the 13th” is a sort of saying, a common phrase, so no, it doesn’t sound weird.

2013/12/10
5:43pm
New River, AZ, USA
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Bob Bridges said: I suppose if I had invented the US Mail, I would have done addresses that way, too; state, then city, then street, then number, then name.

Now that would make sense. Ultimately, that’s how the sorters sort’em. For dates, in my written records, I use the more-sortable and searchable YYYYMMDD format, but when I have to communicate a date to someone else I use a format the avoids the “month / day” ambiguity that arises when using a day number less than 13. For example: September 11, 2001 or, if space is a concern, Sep 11, 2001.

Saying “September THE 11th” is fine for speech or historical writing, but still sounds a bit pretentious to my ear.

2013/12/11
1:37am
Glenn
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There is another common form of saying the date of late: month name plus cardinal day. For example: February fourteen; July twenty.

2013/12/17
7:12am
Phairch
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Heimhenge said:

Now that would make sense. Ultimately, that’s how the sorters sort’em. For dates, in my written records, I use the more-sortable and searchable YYYYMMDD format, but when I have to communicate a date to someone else I use a format the avoids the “month / day” ambiguity that arises when using a day number less than 13. For example: September 11, 2001 or, if space is a concern, Sep 11, 2001.

Saying “September THE 11th” is fine for speech or historical writing, but still sounds a bit pretentious to my ear.

 

Maybe that’s it…that in the context it just sounds pretentious. It might it also be use of the date as a historical title, rather than the descriptive title?

We commonly refer to Independence Day as the “4th of July,” and everyone knows we mean Independence Day. But we don’t say “July the 4th.”

In the case of the terrorist attack, presumed opinion leaders seem to want to create the “4th of July” kind of identification or title for September 11th. Maybe it’s this attempted naming with the baggage I read into it that makes it sound pretentious.

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