Given a numeric date range, such as shown below, which is the correct usage of ordinals? Should I use none, one, or two?

The event dates will be Dec 1-5
The event dates will be Dec 1-5th
The event dates will be Dec 1st-5th

Potentially Relevant:

  • This is going on a document that has single dates, which are represented with ordinals (e.g. Dec 7th)
  • The document has limited space, so using through is not an option. Furthermore, I'm not looking for alternatives, I just want to know which one is correct.
  • 1
    Just taking a stab, but i feel like I’ve seen it mostly in the first format. Furthermore, it’s a necessarily concise document and as such would benefit from that brevity. Not to mention, it seems to be a matter of taste whether to use the superscript at all. But, this is my opinion. I like it without! Anyway we’re in a world of LOL and LMK and soon enough TEOTWAWKI 😄
    – P Smith
    Jan 1, 2018 at 6:57
  • Follow the applicable style guide. However, "Dec 1-5" is ok; "Dec 1-5th" is not; "Dec 1st-5th" is ok, too. Be consistent. Good Luck.
    – Kris
    Jan 1, 2018 at 9:51
  • @Kris, what applicable style guide?
    – David
    Jan 1, 2018 at 18:22

2 Answers 2


According to "Grammar Girl"

When you're writing out a date like January 1, 2016 (in the American style), the day is written as a cardinal number. So you should never write January 1st, 2016. The weird thing though is when you're speaking, even though it is written as January 1, you say, “January first” (1). So when you are reading a date that is written January 1, 2016, you say “January first, two thousand sixteen.” That's probably why a lot of people get confused about how to write it.

According to which we should write dates as cardinal number and speak dates as ordinal numbers. This suggests that Dec 1-5 is the correct choice.


All of them are correct but the second one would be a better choice.

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to the site. What is your source for that all are correct. What is your source for why the second one is better? Things like that need to be explained for this to be a valid answer.
    – David
    Jan 1, 2018 at 8:44
  • You may need to wait patiently till you get the privilege to post comments. We cannot use Answers to post our comments.
    – Kris
    Jan 1, 2018 at 9:52

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