I had never heard the use of cardinal numbers in dates when speaking until I moved to New Zealand. It seems particularly prevalent in TV and radio advertising, but doesn't seem to follow either British or American "standards". As a Commonwealth country, dates are usually written in the British order, but I often hear them spoken thus:

24 October 2010 as twenty-four October two-thousand and ten

or without a year:

1 November as one November

Not using ordinals in dates seems "American" to me, but I guess Americans would prefer:

October 24 2010 as October twenty-four, two-thousand-ten

Is the first way unique to New Zealand or is it used in America too?

  • This was the style of American travel agents, back when there were travel agents. I found it conspicuous, although not unpleasant. Jan 24 '13 at 21:33
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    I am an American, and that sounds weird to me. I would say "October the twenty-first, twenty twelve" or similar, with "the" optional. I would never say "October twenty-one" under any circumstances, although I'd probably write "October 21, 2012" instead of "October 21st, 2012" or "October the 21st, 2012". I would find hearing "October twenty-one, twenty twelve" quite jarring, and "twenty-one October twenty-twelve" jarring and sounding like a quaint Britishism.
    – Patrick87
    Jan 24 '13 at 22:02
  • @Kyudos: The mods have wiped earlier comments (as distracting, I suppose), but my closevote stands. It may (feasibly) be true Americans are more likely to drop the ordinal than Brits, and I'm certainly prepared to believe the usage is increasing worldwide (akin to nine-fifty instead of ten to ten, spurred on by digital displays). Maybe you just happened to move to NZ (which is affected by US pronunciation trends more/quicker than UK) at a tipping point, so you "over-perceive" the usage. Whatever anyone else says, I don't think it's either uncommon, or particularly "regionalised". Jan 25 '13 at 0:04
  • ...btw - I just spent 5 minutes listening to different online NZ radio stations, but I only managed to find one date being spoken. As it happens, that one used the ordinal, but I draw no conclusions from a sample size of one (except that I don't have the time or dedication to find more examples! :) Jan 25 '13 at 0:06
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    So the choice is between New Zealand and America? What about Canada, Australia, India, South Africa, Belize, Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, and the rest?
    – Robusto
    Jan 25 '13 at 1:08

The Australian style is thus: 29 January, 2013. Day-month-year when filling out forms. It's probably a British style carried over to NZ and OZ (Australia). Different style manuals can vary on how to write dates, though. Some might prefer 29th of January, 2013.

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