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When defining a date, should I use on, upon or when, or can I leave these words out?

For example, can I say:

The date the company allots the securities is known as the Despatch Date.

or should I say:

The date on which/upon which/when the company allots the securities is known as the Despatch Date.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

According to 1913 Webster's upon is interchangeable with on, however if you look at ngrams

enter image description here

you will find that upon is used less and less as there is, I believe, a slight archaic and/or formal tone to it.

All your sentences seem correct to me, but I would choose shorter and simpler constructs (using only when or without conjunction).

Here is ngrams graph that compares upon which and on which

enter image description here

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+1: Shorter and simpler construct .. When. – user8568 May 26 '11 at 11:02

I'd probably go with a slight rewording of your sentence:

The company allots the securities on the Despatch Date.

If there is an established convention in the context (document containing this sentence) for the definition of a term, then I'd use that, whether it is quotes, bold or italic. The only objection I can see to this is the slight possibility that the despatch date somehow exists independently of being the date when the company allots the securities, in which case, maybe:

The day the company allots the securites is known as the Despatch Date.

You could even arrange things more:

The Despatch Date is the day when the company allots the securities.

I'm not sure you can leave out 'the day' or something similar without leaving the ambiguity again.

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Either of your formulations is fine (with any of the options in the second one) - they are both correct grammatically, and they have the same meaning. I think the second is perhaps a little easier to read, using any of the options within it.

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My immediate thought was to leave them out, but if I do a rewrite, I would like one of them

  • The so-called "Despatch Date" is the date the company allots the securities

  • The so-called "Despatch Date" is the date upon which the company allots the securities

I prefer the second version. Please note that "so-called" is sometimes used to cast a doubt on the word after: "The so-called "expert" mr. XX"

How about

The company allots the securities on what is known as "Despatch Date"

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Why have you added "so-called" to the sentence? That completely changes its meaning. – Marcin May 26 '11 at 16:17
In what way change the meaning??? It means exactly the same as "is known as" = Commonly called – mplungjan May 26 '11 at 18:19
No, 'so-called' explicitly casts doubt on the truth of it. Maybe you want 'defined' or 'term of art'. – TimLymington May 26 '11 at 20:21
That is a POSSIBLE other definition. There is also the "as know as" definition. I do not see why it cannot be used here and I for sure do not see a reason to downvote. But see update – mplungjan May 27 '11 at 15:23

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