Example: October 24 ... is this said "October twenty-four" or "October twenty-fourth"?

I assumed that the use of cardinal numbers applied to both speech and writing. This post seems to say that October 24 should be written with the cardinal number but spoken with the ordinal.

  • Or October the twenty-fourth.
    – Sam
    Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 15:46

3 Answers 3


It is

October twenty-fourth

because it's an ordinal number. It's the same as 24th October


This will vary by location, especially between the US and Commonwealth countries. In Commonwealth English the date would appear before the month as an ordinal number 24th October, and pronounced as such, because this is a short form of saying "the 24th day in the month of October". Even when I see "October 24" I tend to say "(the) twenty-fourth of October".

In the US however the convention is different; whereas in Britain days of the month are counted ("the first day, the second day," and so on) days there seem to be labelled ("day one, day two, ...") so the long form of October 24 might be "Day 24 in the month of October" or "Month of October, day 24". As such the cardinal number makes some logical sense. However, as the Grammar Girl article (and several others) point out, the convention is still to use an ordinal number ("October twenty-fourth").

However a mixture of both is appearing across the world. Certainly in the UK there are people who use the cardinal number (much to my own annoyance) and as genesis has pointed out in his answer, "October twenty-fourth" is also an acceptable pronunciation. So although the two paragraphs above give some clue as to what might be logically or traditionally correct, current form is to go with whatever you're most comfortable with as the terms are fast becoming interchangeable.

  • In the US, people would generally read it "October twenty-fourth" as well, although if you said "October twenty-four", nobody would remark upon it. Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 14:56
  • Labeling the days seems very unusual to me unless you were writing/reading from a log of some kind. "Day 23: still no sign of rescue. Think I might eat Jones."
    – Sam
    Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 15:44
  • Does this answer the question? Whichever way it is written on whatever side of the ocean is the -pronunciation- different from the writing?
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 16:28
  • Have you any evidence for the reasons you give for the different usages?
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 16:57
  • 1
    @Waggers: self-evident it may be, but that doesn't necessarily make it true. Introspectively, when I see "Tue 25 Oct" at the top of my screen, and say "October the 25th", I am not thinking of its ordinal position, but just translating one label to another. My introspection may not be accurate, but I submit that it is no less reliable as an explanation than your "self-evident".
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 9:42

In the UK, it would more commonly be read as "October the twenty-fourth". We also say "The twenty-fourth of October", which I gather Americans usually don't.

  • "The twenty-fourth of October" would be perfectly unremarkable in the US.
    – Sam
    Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 15:50

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