In one of the IELTS lis­ten­ing tests, there is a fill-out-the-blank ques­tion read­ing:

The mu­seum is not open on ___.

My an­swer was “25th De­cem­ber”. How­ever, the of­fi­cial an­swer is “25 De­cem­ber”. Is my an­swer also cor­rect? Why did they not in­clude th there in their an­swer?

On the other hand, in an­other such ques­tion like:

Date: ___.

Here now the of­fi­cial for­mat is like “10th De­cem­ber” with a th. Why did they now include the th in this answer but omitted it in the earlier answer?

Which date for­mat should I use in what cir­cum­stances, and why?

How is it to be pro­nounced in words?


1 Answer 1


I'm an IELTS tutor. IELTS generally follows BrE where the date is mentioned first, then the month, and lastly the year. In addition, IELTS is very strict in Listening and Reading section where you are not supposed to add even a preposition or article if it's not asked or required.

Well, coming to your question, you are writing the answer. The confusion occurs in dates because you write and speak it differently!

In writing, generally, we use a cardinal number. That said, it is -

25 December

But when someone asks you 'What date is it?', you may answer with an ordinal number:

25th December

Additional reading: https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/writing-dates

  • 1
    Isn't December 25th also appropriate?
    – suse
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 2:37
  • That is appropriate, but then, it makes it NAmE @suse
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 2:38
  • 2
    Read: the twenty-fifth of December.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 2:45
  • Hi Maulik V, Thanks for your answer. I found some IELTS listening answer written as 13th February (C4-T1-S1), but the question is like Date: ___. Is it relating to the position? I mean if there is only one blank without in sentence, we should answer in Ordinal numbers.
    – user332314
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 2:50
  • 1
    Hey, as far as writing dates in IELTS are concerned, don't worry! Almost all forms are okay, but to be safe, write a number and then a month check here
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 3:09

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