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Rule: The following examples apply when using dates: Pop Quiz: Correct or Incorrect? The last outbreak of smallpox occurred in the late seventy’s. The last outbreak of smallpox occurred in the late seventies.
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If you’re writing to an international recipient, consider spelling out the month or following the International Standard.
In terms of formality, you can show respect on a formal document by writing out the entire date, but feel free to keep the date on an informal letter short and sweet.
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.
The instance in which it is OK to use an ordinal number is when you are writing , because you are placing the day in a series: of all the days in January, this day is the first.
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That's the general rule; it's quite common to hear people use the in America, although from the number of e-mail messages I get complaining about it, I'd say a lot of Americans have been taught that it's wrong.
Since New Year's gets people thinking about the date, I'll answer a few date-related questions.