Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I wanted to use this, but I don't know if it's actually valid in English:

The specified date is invalid.
It points to a non-existing day.

I'm not a native speaker, and I just want to say that the input points to a date that does not exist, like 30th February.

share|improve this question
5  
The specified date is invalid is perfect. IF you are going to add the follow-on sentence it should be "It refers to a non-existent day." but I think your first sentence is fine all by itself. –  Jim Jan 26 '13 at 22:05
    
@Jim That would make a perfect answer :) –  DJDavid98 Jan 26 '13 at 22:07
    
In normal conversation, something like 'The 30th of January was a Saturday this year,' or even 'The 30th of February?' would be more idiomatic. –  Edwin Ashworth Jan 26 '13 at 22:11
    
The term "non-existing day" is a quirk of date formats. You probably wouldn't say Blahday was a non-existing day, or a day that doesn't exist. I think it would be silly to have different error messages for, say, 30th February and 28th Nebruary. –  FumbleFingers Jan 26 '13 at 22:17
1  
Accepting an answer about 20 minutes after you have asked a question may decrease the chance of you getting the best possible answer or of getting a wide range of useful information. I care not personally, but some people are influenced by an answer having been accepted. –  Russell McMahon Jan 26 '13 at 23:23

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

"The specified date is invalid." is not only valid, but quite common.

If you want to avoid "sounding like a robot", then you could take the invalid date in question and produce a sentence like:

There is no 31st of April.

There is no 29th of February in 2013.

share|improve this answer
    
I guess I'll just use the first sentence alone then, thanks! –  DJDavid98 Jan 26 '13 at 22:43

"The specified date is invalid" will be perfectly well understood by essentially everyone who encounters it as a website error message.

You'd probably get good understanding with the unusual but brief and informative

  • No such day in calendar

If you wanted to be complete and/or pedantic you could say

  • xxx is not a valid date

where xxx is the user input data.

This carries a very slightly stronger suggestion that what is wrong is the formatting or genuine-date nature of the entry.
Without this the entry could be a properly formatted date entry and refer to a real-world day but still be "invalid". For example,

Departure date ? : 11/11/2013 Return date ? : 12/12/2012 -> The specified date is invalid (Because return is before departure)

Date of birth ? : 11/11/1812 -> The specific date is invalid (Because not even I am that old)

Even the above is not an absolute statement about date formatting or real-world date being invalid, but making this certain would require a much more complex and pedantic sentence, which is not justified or useful in the context of an error message.

share|improve this answer
    
A fun one is: “Where was Benjamin Franklin [1706–1790] on September 11th, 1752?” –  tchrist Jan 27 '13 at 2:23
    
@tchrist Thanks! I didn't know about this little slice of history. Very interesting. –  John M. Landsberg Mar 16 '13 at 18:36

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.