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Are these acceptable?

  • Nov. 2nd, 2011
  • Nov 2nd, 2011
  • Nov 2, 2011
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closed as off topic by Matt E. Эллен, JSBձոգչ, Hugo, kiamlaluno, FumbleFingers Jan 3 '12 at 18:08

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Where are you writing? Who's your intended audience? What are you writing: speech, a date at the top of a letter? – Hugo Jan 2 '12 at 23:12
Questions should be about English or use of English. This is a question about date formatting, which I don't believe is specific to English. – Matt E. Эллен Jan 3 '12 at 10:14
@MattЭллен: asking a question about date formatting in a specific language is entirely appropriate on any language forum because different languages have different specifications about date formatting, whether it be in figures or written out in letters. And there are also different specifications within one language depending on the medium. – Laure Jan 3 '12 at 16:40
@Laure: I don't believe English has a specific date format. For one thing Americans use the format mm/dd/yyyy and the british use dd/mm/yyyy, and the separators aren't uniform, they can be /, -, ., etc. When it comes to writing the name or abbreviation of the month then there is no specific format either. This is why programmers have such problems interpreting date inputs and have to force some kind of uniformity. – Matt E. Эллен Jan 3 '12 at 17:20
@MattЭллен: The teaching and learning of how to write and say the date is part of the teaching and learning of any foreign language and with all its specificities: personal letter, newspapers, business letter, etc. The date is not written the same way in English, in French, which is different from German and again different from Japanese (I don't speak Japanese, only heard of). – Laure Jan 3 '12 at 18:08
up vote 5 down vote accepted

All three are acceptable, as are other forms such as 2 Nov 2011, as found in the related stories list of UK newspaper the Guardian.

Only abbreviate where appropriate, otherwise write the longer form.

Which one you choose should be guided by your publication's style guide, if you have one, or just pick your own and be consistent.

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I am a little bit confused...Jwpat 7 claims that only Nov. 2, 2011 is acceptable, on the other hand the other gentleman maintains that all forms are acceptable... Good effort!:) Keep up the good work and confront your views:) – lukas Jan 3 '12 at 6:59
@lukas: I'd be amazed you'll get a straightforward answer. Quoting The Chicago Manual of Style: The trouble is that American on the one hand and the British (as well as many Canadians) on the other use different conventions of abbreviation, resulting in dates that often look alike but mean quite different things..... And the Manual has several paragraphs on the matter. Hugo's answer seems a good compromise (I don't agree with the use of Nov. but I know it's used). The use of the letters in the ordinal number not a problem and it is accepted - see my comment to jwpat7. – Laure Jan 3 '12 at 7:54

I think none of those are acceptable in literate writing. In the first two, 2nd is a problem, and in the last two, the missing period is a problem. "Nov. 2, 2011" is an acceptable form, according to the "months" section near the end of an AP Style Guide webpage. (That guide drops the periods in the case of dates in tables.)

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Or avoid the issue altogether and write dates in full in formal writing. – Barrie England Jan 2 '12 at 8:09
@jwpat7: Isn't there a difference between US and UK usage? It seems to me the use of the ordinal number is still quite strong in Britain, in private correspondence at least, I have seen it gradually disappear from the press. My 1992 edition of the Oxford Companion to the English Language still gives the use of the ordinal number as the UK convention, of course more recent editions might well tell something different. – Laure Jan 2 '12 at 9:30
Nov. 2, 2011 is acceptable in American English. I've seen it over and over again on Fox News channel. – lukas Mar 9 '12 at 19:45
@lukas, yes, it's acceptable; I mentioned an AP Style Guide webpage saying so, but it didn't occur to me to appeal to the authority of Fox News. – jwpat7 Mar 10 '12 at 18:12

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