Here is the time order that I found quite confusing in a sentence, following with the sample sentence that I saw from a piece of teaching material:

The school party is on June 8th at 8 o'clock in the evening.

However, I wonder if it can be rewritten as the following?

The school party is at 8 o'clock in the evening on June 8th

If not, may I know the rule of the order?

  • 1
    I wonder why you found it confusing? It seems common sense (in any language!) that readers need to know the date first (will I be free on that day?) and the time second. No grammatical rule, just practicality. Jan 7, 2023 at 8:45
  • Note that in your revised version it's possible to use a different preposition for the final element: The school party is at 8 o'clock in the evening of June 8th. That associates the object of the preposition (the date) with the preceding noun (evening) rather than being an adverbial element linking back to the main verb (is). Here's the relevant usage chart. Jan 7, 2023 at 13:27
  • Does this answer your question? The 'royal order of adverbs' (The article I quote looks at the rule of thumb for listing adverbs / adverbials of the same category (eg space, time) in order of increasing specificity. Or Is there any rule of order for time, date, place, building, etc? (Austin Dean's answer.) Jan 7, 2023 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


Both usages seem to be fairly common. If you search google for "at * PM on * " and "on * at * PM" You will get large number of hits for both (though former seems lot more popular than latter).

However, I think the order does have a significance. If you want to lay stress on the date , you put the date first. Otherwise, when the date or day is fairly well known (for instance a Sunday mass or an inaugural speech) the time is written first. Looking at some of the examples shown by google search might help. I don't know if a formal rule exists in this regard.

  • The ratio of usages, 69 : 72, is extremely near to unity as these things go (ie at first glance, equally commonly used). Of course, other pairings ('at 8 o'clock next Friday' '...', etc) may show different results. The availability of adding stress by choosing the order is a good point. Jan 7, 2023 at 16:51
  • Searches for "at * o'clock last Monday" and "last Monday at * o'clock" seem to give remarkably similar results. Jan 7, 2023 at 17:11

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