Is it fine to write

during the second half of 4th century B.C.

or is it preferable to write

during the second half of the 4th century B.C.

  • I much prefer the second one. However Americans have a tendency to drop the definite article with dates, and they may find it acceptable.
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 8:49
  • @WS2 I don't think it's a matter of opinion or personal style but an omission on part of certain authors for whatever reason. The definite article is grammatically required.
    – Kris
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 9:10
  • @Kris But Americans do say things like "It's happening on July fourteen". In Britain it is "...on the fourteenth of July", or if we are already in July "...on the fourteenth".
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 14:18
  • @WS2 The first is not acceptable to me as an American (but not a historian). Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


This question was already answered here.

the case being: ordinal numbers as adjectives, as with your inquiry.

Using "the" before ordinal numbers

you may also find your answer in this exercise, the answers are pretty well detailed.


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