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GuanoLad
11-23-2003, 09:26 PM
Here in the Commonwealth, we write out dates in Day/Month/Year order, probably because it progresses in order of magnitude.

Why does the US do it Month/Day/Year? Is it just to be contrary?

Askance
11-23-2003, 09:42 PM
Because Americans typically say "November 24th", whereas we usually say "the 24th of November".

Gary T
11-23-2003, 09:44 PM
No. Sometime centuries ago, it became more common in speech to say "September twelfth (1973)" rather than "the twelfth of September (1973)." The written form simply followed suit.

Gary T
11-23-2003, 09:45 PM
That "No" in my post was in repsonse to the OP question about being contrary.

biqu
11-23-2003, 09:59 PM
As an American wanting to be contrary, since at least 1997 I have been following the notation set forth in ISO 8601 (http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/iso-time.html), which recommends YYYY-MM-DD for shorthand dates. I switched for many of the same reasons put forth in the linked page, well before I was even aware that an international standards body had recommended that notation.

GuanoLad
11-23-2003, 09:59 PM
Are you guys sure? Because it seems to me both cultures use both ways.

KenGr
11-23-2003, 10:23 PM
I wasn't aware that Australia used DDMMYYYY. That seems wrong from all logic.

The common US for MMDDYYYY is, indeed the direct quote from the normal spoken English.

The international standard (used most places I have seen) is YYYYMMDD because it directly computer sorts with minimal programming and confusion. You will find that even in the US, computer applications use this format if the programmers get their way.

einstein's lovechild
11-24-2003, 12:11 AM
I wasn't aware that Australia used DDMMYYYY. That seems wrong from all logic.

Um what about days < months < years?

Achernar
11-24-2003, 12:15 AM
For real. Nobody would ever think of writing the time 11:05 as "5:11" no matter how frequently they said "five minutes past eleven".

MC Master of Ceremonies
11-24-2003, 06:58 AM
Originally posted by KenGr
I wasn't aware that Australia used DDMMYYYY. That seems wrong from all logic.

The common US for MMDDYYYY is, indeed the direct quote from the normal spoken English.

The international standard (used most places I have seen) is YYYYMMDD because it directly computer sorts with minimal programming and confusion. You will find that even in the US, computer applications use this format if the programmers get their way.

From normal spoken US English that is, in English speaking countries it is more common to say: "the 12th of September" than "September 12th".

DDMMYYYY is the standard in Britain too.

Sunspace
11-24-2003, 08:37 AM
And Canada, as usual, has a mixture that leads to all sorts of confusion as people use one system and have it interpreted as another. What makes this worse is the number of people who still use a two-digit year and write the date in all numbers.

I work for a company that spans North America, Europe, and Asia. I might get a copy of a memo with the date written 01/02/03. It's been forwarded and copied from person to person and from office to office. Quick! When was the original message written?

My desk phone says 24-Nov-03. Payphones display 24/11/03. The newspaper is dated November 24, 2003. A printout from Shipping downstairs is dated 11/24/2003. The contents of the printout, a listing of tracking info for a package, is listed by date: 2003-11-24. In selfdefense, I write the name of the month: 11 Nov 2003--but I've occasionally seen the month written in roman numerals: 24 XI 2003.

I say we standardise all numerical dates in the 2003-11-24 format.

Gary T
11-24-2003, 08:42 AM
Originally posted by Achernar
For real. Nobody would ever think of writing the time 11:05 as "5:11" no matter how frequently they said "five minutes past eleven".
Really quite irrelevant on several grounds.

Achernar
11-24-2003, 08:45 AM
Uh... sorry?

Gary T
11-24-2003, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by GuanoLad
Here in the Commonwealth, we write out dates in Day/Month/Year order, probably because it progresses in order of magnitude.

Why does the US do it Month/Day/Year? Is it just to be contrary?
In light of the several different systems in use, why pick on the American system as the "contrary" one?
From http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/search97/doc/user/c_is2.htm

Month-day-year, American numeric date format.

Day-month-year, English numeric date format

Year-month-day, European numeric date format

Year-day-month, Swedish numeric date format
___________

That aside, the better question would be, why did you Brits change from the system you established in America?
From http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_date

11/16/2001 - used in places with American influence. This format was traditional in England, whence it was brought to America. Since the 1900s the English have begun to use the d/m/y format, imported from Europe.

And from http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/archives/0110/techwhirl-0110-00454.html

"Month, day, year" was perfectly acceptable British usage about two centuries ago...
_____

So anyway, the answer to the OP question is, "Because that's the tradition established here by British colonists centuries ago."

aerodave
11-24-2003, 03:04 PM
I work for the Department of Defense. We habitually operate on both the 24-hour clock and on the DD-MMM-YYYY date format or something close to it. It drives most other Americans batty.

When you work on a military installation, you will get dirty looks, and people will make fun of your emails if you write the date like "November 24, 2003" It's expected to be something like the following examples:

24 Nov 03
24 Nov 2003
24 November 2003

Of course, you can get away with just "24 Nov" or "24 November" if the year isn't necessary. If you write the date numerically, it's usually 11/24/03, but the preferred numerical method on many forms is 20031124. But, in correspondence, you don't write the date numerically. You put down "6 Dec" and you look cool.

And of course, it's currently 1600, not 4:00 pm. But that's a different thread.

All this has crept into my own personal habits. I date my checks "24 Nov 03," and my wife thinks I'm nuts.

Floater
11-25-2003, 05:07 AM
Originally posted by Gary T
Year-day-month, Swedish numeric date format

Someone must have lied to you. Sweden uses YYYYMMDD.

pulykamell
11-25-2003, 05:18 AM
In Hungary, it's customary also to go Year-Month-Day, and not just in numeric format. For example:

2003 julius 12

Striss
11-25-2003, 05:41 AM
Hey, don't you date/month/year folks also drive on the left side of the road.....? ;)

curly chick
11-25-2003, 05:44 AM
Originally posted by Gary T
Year-month-day, European numeric date format


Which Europeans do this?

Celyn
11-25-2003, 05:56 AM
It seems to me that the date of the month is the one perhaps most likely to be questioned, as, well, it changes faster. I mean people might look up from writing and ask - "oh, what's today's date", when the chances are they *know* the month but need to check the date of the month. Then the month, of course, changes more quickly than the year does. So in terms of what is likely to be debatable at all, or need cheching at all, there is a logic in the order of DD MM YY (or YYYY).

OK I *do* get confused about years too, but, only till about, um, February. :(

APB
11-25-2003, 07:59 AM
Originally posted by Gary T
That aside, the better question would be, why did you Brits change from the system you established in America?
From http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_date

I fear that the author of the Wikipedia article is a little confused. It is certainly misleading to say that the month/day/year format 'was traditional in England' and that '[s]ince the 1900s the English have begun to use the d/m/y format, imported from Europe'.

Both the m/d/y and the d/m/y formats had been in use in England for centuries and were pretty much interchangable. Indeed, it was not uncommon for writers to use both within the same document. What is true is that the m/d/y format, as in 'November 25th, 2003', was more widely used and that this was especially so in print. What changed during the twentieth century was that many UK publishing houses decided that they preferred the d/m/y format. This was part of the wider move towards less cluttered design. Thus the really big change was the abandonment of the use of 'st', 'nd', 'rd' and 'th' for the day numerials. The arguments for using the form '25 November 2003' in print is partly an aesthetic one. However, this change was never universally adopted. A number of UK publishers, including the Times and some of the other major newspapers, still prefer m/d/y, although usually as 'November 25, 2003'.

The point is that, so long as the month is given as a word, there can be no ambiguity and both formats can exist happily alongside each other. It is just a matter of style. Problems only arise if numerials only are used and the idea of writing dates in numerials only did not become widespread in the UK until the twentieth century. By the time it did, the change in printing fashions meant that neither format seemed the more obvious.

Götterfunken
11-25-2003, 08:47 AM
Originally posted by Gary T
Month-day-year, American numeric date format.

Day-month-year, English numeric date format

Year-month-day, European numeric date format
[/B] I'm pretty sure I've seen the day-month-year format in Italy and France--I don't recall ever seen the year-month-day format.

I've always assumed the day-month-year format was the standard Continental format, though I could be mistaken.

disponibilite
11-25-2003, 09:16 AM
French common usage has always been day/month/year. And I think most of Europe is that way and the Brits just copied the Europeans.

It makes sense in French anyway to be day/month/year....since they say "quatorze juillet" (July 14 to us). They never say "juillet quatorze"

Futile Gesture
11-25-2003, 09:24 AM
A random flick through today's European papers:

Le Monde (French) : mardi 25 Novembre 2003
Le Parisien (French) : Mardi 25 nov 2003
Jyllands-Posten (Danish) : Tirsdag den 25. november
De Gazet Van Tielt (Belgium) : 25/11/2003
Express (Greek) : 25/11/2003
Die Welt (German) : Dienstag, 25. November 2003 and 25.11
Der Spiegel (Geman) : Dienstag, 25. November 2003
La Padania (Italian) : martedì 25 novembre 2003
El Mundo (Spanish) : Martes, 25 de Noviembre de 2003.
Troms Folkeblad (Norwegian) : 25.11 and Tirsdag 25. november

All in the format Day, Month, Year or Day Month.

None lead with year or month.

Floater
11-25-2003, 09:47 AM
Originally posted by Futile Gesture
All in the format Day, Month, Year or Day Month.

None lead with year or month.
The format should vary with the situation. In formal Swedish we use YYYYMMDD, but in newspapers, personal letters etc we would write 25/11 2003 or 25 november 2003.