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Date In A Letter ( Guide: Formal Letters And In Business)

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Writing Date In A Letter

In business communications, it’s important that you know how to write the date in various types of letters and communications that you send out.

It’s easy to get confused about writing the date in a letter as you’ve probably seen different variations.

To help you understand the proper way of dating a letter, I have put together this guide to help you.

No matter if you’re going to be dating a formal letter or a letter to your friend, you will know exactly how to date your letter.

Before we get into the details of dating your letter, let me briefly provide you the different dating systems.

Writing Date In America

The American way of dating a letter is to write the month, day, and year (MM-DD-YYYY).

For example:

July 4, 2000
07/04/2000
7/4/00
Author

Writing Date In Europe

In Europe and many other countries in the world, you’ll write the day first, then the month, and the year (DD-MM-YYYY).

For example:

4 July 2022
4/7/00
04/07/2000
Author

Here are some of the regions that format their date in the Day/Month/Year format:

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Central America (except Belize)
  • Mexico
  • Oceania
  • South America
  • Europe

Writing Date In Asia

In some other places in the world such as in Asia, many countries will put the year (YYYY-MM-DD).

For example:

2000 July 4
Author

Writing Date In International Standards

Since there are so many different ways of writing date, the International Standard 8601 (ISO 8601) was created to clarify the potential for miscommunication.

According to ISO 8601, you will write the year, month, and day (YYYY-MM-DD).

For example:

2000-07-4
Author

How To Date A Letter

Now that we have looked at the different dating systems and how people write the date in different countries, let’s look at how you will write a date on a letter.

In business communications, you have three ways of writing the date:

  • Full block format
  • Indented paragraph format
  • Simplified style format

Full Block Format

In the full block format, you will put the date, recipient’s address, and content of your letter all aligned on the left side of the page.

Your date must be perfectly aligned on the left.

For example:

[Date]
[Recipient Name]
[Recipient Address]
[Body of letter]
Author

Indented Paragraph Format

The indented paragraph format is one where you will put the date and address indented to the center or the right side of the page.

Typically, you will also need to put the signature on the right side of the page as well.

For example:

[Date]
[Recipient Name]
[Recipient Address]
[Body of letter]
Author

Simplified Style Format

With the simplified style format, you’ll write the date and address on the left side of the page.

The main difference between the simplified style and the full block is what comes right after the address.

In the full block format, you’ll start with the salutations like (“Dear…”) whereas in the simplified style format, you’ll put the subject line under the address in capital letters.

Date In A Letter Tips

Writing the date in a letter can sometimes get confusing.

Here are some tips that you should keep in mind when putting a date on a letter.

In the United States, Belize, and Micronesia, you will need to use the MONTH-DAY-YEAR format.

Some other countries may also use the MONTH-DAY-YEAR format as a secondary option such as Canada and the Philippines.

In most other countries in the world like Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, Mexico, Oceania, and Central America, you’ll need to use the DAY-MONTH-YEAR format.

When using the international standard for writing a numerical date, you’ll need to use dashes (-) to separate the numbers although the slash (/) or dot (.) is also accepted.

In the United States, when you’re writing a formal letter, you should write out the date in full by putting the month, day, and year (October 1, 20XX).

In the US, you’ll need to separate the day and the year with a comma.

In other parts of the world, you’ll write the day first, month, and year in full (1 October 20XX).

When writing the date in a formal European letter, you do not need to add a comma.

In some Asian countries, you’ll write the year, month, and day without any punctuation (20XX October 1).

Finally, note that in Hungary, writing the date follows its own rules where you put the year, dot, month, and day (20XX. October 1).

Date In A Letter FAQs

Let’s look at a few commonly asked questions regarding how to put date on letter.

How to write date in formal letter

When you’re writing a formal letter, you’ll need to write the date in full when it’s part of your sentence.

For example:

The present contract is entered into on March 1, 20XX
Author

It’s important that you separate the day and the year with a comma.

If you’re writing a formal letter in an email, you don’t have to put the date as the email will automatically stamp the date your email was sent.

There are other variations of writing the date in full in a sentence that is acceptable as well such as using ordinal number, cardinal numbers, or adding the day of the week.

For example:

Friday, November 15
Friday, November 15, 20XX
The 15th day of November 20XX
Author

How to write date in a semiformal letter

If you’re writing a semiformal letter, like to a colleague or a professional that you know, you can use the full block format where you align the date and address on the left of the page.

You can also use a modified version of the full block formate by indenting the date and address.

How to write date in an informal letter

When you’re writing an informal letter, you can put the date on the left, center, or right of the page and omit the recipient’s address.

You can also choose to abbreviate the date if you’re writing it in a sentence (for example, Apr. 1, 20XX).

How to write date in a business letter

In a business letter, you will generally write the date in full where you indicate the month before the day with a comma between the day and the year (February 1, 20XX).

You can also choose to put the day before the month and the then year where in this case you will no use any comma (1 February 20XX).

Generally, the date will be represented in cardinal numbers and not ordinal (February 4 instead of February 4th).

Finally, you will place the date on the top left side of the page as you would in a full block style.

You can also put the date on the right side of the page as well.

Which side do you write the date on a letter

In the United States, most of the time the date will be written fully aligned on the left of the page.

However, depending on the format that you use, you can also indent the date, and put it in the center, or left of the page.

Have a look at the Indented Paragraph Format and Simplified Style Format above.

Where does the date go on a letter

The date on the letter will generally go at the top.

You can then choose to put the date aligned to the left, center, or aligned to the right side of the page depending on the format you use to address your letter.

The most common way of writing a letter is to use a full block format where you’ll put the date on the left of the page.

What is a date format

A date format is a convention you use to write a date.

There are different types of date formats:

  • MM/DD/YY: Month-Day-Year with leading zeros (04/15/20XX)
  • DD/MM/YY: Day-Month-Year with leading zeros (15/04/200XX)
  • YY/MM/DD: Year-Month-Day with leading zeros (20XX/04/15)
  • Month D, Yr: Month name-Day-Year with no leading zeros (April 15, 20XX)

How do you abbreviate the date

When you’re writing a less formal letter or when you’re writing the date outside of a sentence, you can try abbreviating it.

For example:

September 10, 20XX will be written as Sep. 10, 20XX
Author

To abbreviate your month, you’ll generally use the first three letters of the month followed by a period.

How do you write the date as numerals

There are many ways you can write a date as numerals.

Here are the different possible variations to write January 15th:

  • 01/15/20XX
  • 1/15/XX
  • 01-15-20XX
  • 01.15.20XX

In the United States, the DD/MM/YYYY is the preferred date format in numerals. 

In Europe, the MM/DD/YYYY is the preferred date format in numerals.

Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

Dating a letter can be confusing at times as there are many date format variations to choose from.

Writing the date on a letter or legal document is crucial to ensure you protect your legal rights or document the communication in time.

In this article, I have compiled a list of things to consider when writing the date in your letter.

I hope you have found this helpful and good luck with your letter!

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Editorial Staff
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer by trade and an entrepreneur by spirit. I specialize in law, business, marketing, and technology (and love it!). I'm an expert SEO and content marketer where I deeply enjoy writing content in highly competitive fields. On this blog, I share my experiences, knowledge, and provide you with golden nuggets of useful information. Enjoy!

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