1

It has been strongly suggested to me today that the following phrase .... 'Sunday the 24th of May' is incorrect and it should be 'Sunday the 24th May'.

Both are very understandable so it probably doesn't matter but I'd like to get people's opinion on this.

Thanks

  • Remember, remember, the fifth of November. – Tushar Raj May 11 '15 at 8:00
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It has been strongly suggested to me today that the following phrase .... 'Sunday the 24th of May' is incorrect and it should be 'Sunday the 24th May

The suggestion is wrong, when the day precedes the month the preposition 'of' is not only correct, but necessary:

'Sunday, the twenty-fourth of May' is the correct enunciation

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Both ways can potentially be equally grammatical. You just have to work with it.

To see this, break the phrase up with commas where you would naturally pause. We'll start with the version including of:

  1. Sunday, the 24th of May, is...

Doing this to the version without of renders something a little different:

  1. Sunday the 24th, May, is...

Now that we have these, let's look at their meanings.

Number one's appositive, the 24th of May, correctly renames the preceding subject, Sunday; Sunday is the 24th of May.

Number two's appositive also correctly renames the preceding subject, but here we have a mismatch of sorts—a day of the week is being paired with a day of the month. This is slightly less logical than number one which pairs a day of the month with a month.

Therefore including of is ideal.

  • Thanks Adam. This makes sense to me. Number two's appositive is the 24th but the without the month which could mean anything (the month only comes after the apostrophe)... Tough question I know – Richie May 11 '15 at 10:01
  • @Richie Number two's appositive is actually May. An appositive is a "break" in a sentence to provide another name for what was just said. So stopping to rename Sunday the 24th as just May is pointless and illogical compared to number one. – Adam May 11 '15 at 16:18

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