[DWJ] Date notation

Charles Butler charlescbutler at btinternet.com
Sun Jul 2 15:17:12 EDT 2006

minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:
  >Oh. I suppose if it goes hour/minute/second, logically it ought to go
year/month/day, but somehow in England it got reversed to be
day/month/year, which I suppose does have the advantage of being a
sequence rather than not being one. How did the month get to the front,
I wonder but not very seriously.
  I've always assumed it followed the way people speak. In the US (as far as I can see) it's more common to say 'August 15th', whereas in Britain it's traditionally been more common to say 'the 15th of August', for example.
  Mind you, the divide isn't absolute: I've heard the 'August 15th' form in Britain, anyway; and George M Cohan didn't claim to be 'born on July 4th' all those years ago - though perhaps he just needed a rhyme for 'die.' (*Are* there any rhymes for 'fourth'? 'From my Yankeeness I will not morph' doesn't really cut it.) 
  When did this form of writing the date start, by the way? I've seen it in early 20th century letters, and I think it goes back at least to the second half of the nineteenth. Any ideas where it came from, or when?

Website: www.charlesbutler.co.uk

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