I've met the following phrase:

Something happened on February 12-25, 2010.

It means that some event started on February 12th and ended on February 25th. Actually the text was about the Olympic Games. Is it correct to use the preposition on here? And how should it be pronounced in oral speach? Thank you in advance.

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    Dates are reported in English as being in large units like century, decade, era, epoch, period, etc, and also parts of a day -- morning, afternoon, evening; on individual days; and at individual times, plus at night. The event occurred in the twentieth century, specifically at 03:43 Greenwich, in the early morning on August tenth, in 1952. Feb 26, 2015 at 21:59
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    @JohnLawler Oh that event. Yes, it was over the weekend, during the night, between sunset and sunrise. Events circa 1950 often were. Feb 26, 2015 at 22:34
  • Oh, there are dozens more, too. But these are the default cases, like in the book, on the page, at the bottom. Feb 26, 2015 at 22:36
  • For something that spans a period between specific dates or times, we usually use from and to: from February 12 to 25, 2010.
    – Barmar
    Feb 27, 2015 at 17:26
  • Thanks for your answers. Dates and prepositions with them are a very interesting topic in the English language. But how to pronounce 'from February 12 to 25, 2010'. I think, 'from the twelfth to twenty-fifth of February in two thousand and ten'?
    – BGU04
    Feb 28, 2015 at 22:51

1 Answer 1


If you were speaking about the undifferentiated, unsubdivided month of February, you would certainly be well advised (as John Lawler observes in a comment above) to use in:

Something happened in February 2010.

Likewise, if you were speaking somewhat vaguely about the second half of February or the last two weeks of February, in (or during) would still be the best choice:

Something happened in [or during] the second half of February 2010.

But adding specific dates changes the situation significantly. Idiomatically, we don't say that something happened in February 22, 2010; we say that something happened on February 22, 2010. Similarly, we don't say that someone's birthday falls in Halloween, but on Halloween.

The fact that we're dealing in the example sentence with a stretch of 14 days would logically suggest that the "in" form (which is suitable for "the last two weeks of February") would also work here; but idiomatically it doesn't. Instead the specific, single-day endpoints of the specified period change the preposition that a native English speaker is likely to use. For example:

Something happened during the period from February 12 to February 25, 2010.

(for maximum clarity) or:

Something happened from February 12 to 25, 2010.

(for brevity, as Barmer says in a comment above) or:

Something happened on February 12–25, 2010.

(if the words are being telescoped for maximum compression in a news story).

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