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Boring question - date conventions

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Matt Black, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black Well-Known Member
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    Having a slack day at the office...!

    Question: why do Americans write the date as Month-day-year? We Brits tend to have the convention of Day-month-year eg: today is 23/09/05 not 09-23-05. Our system seems slightly more logical than yours as a day is smaller than a month which in turn is smaller than a year so there's an obvious progression in our convention. Similarly, we would tend to say that today is "23rd September" or "The twenty-third of September", although "September 23rd" is no unheard of.

    Anyone know how and why these differences between us arose?

    (Not sure whether here or the History Forum is the best place to post this as it is a trivia question albeit with an historical element to it - doubtless a friendly mod will decide)

    [ETA - if 9/11 had happened over here we would call it 11/9 or more likely 11th September; fortunately (?!) our own terrorist atrocities happened on 7/7 so there can be no confusion!]
     
  2. padredurand

    padredurand Well-Known Member
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    Maybe for the same reasons we drive on the other side of the road, our cars have hoods and trunks not bonnets and boots and our race tracks -be it horses or cars- run counter-clockwise.

    There are probably thousands of things we do or say differently from our dear cousins across the pond.
     
  3. Matt Black

    Matt Black Well-Known Member
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    Supplementary question: why do Americans say "9/11" but also say "The Fourth of July" rather than "July 4(th)"?
     
  4. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace Well-Known Member
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    'Cause that's the way it's always been done!!!! ;) [​IMG] [​IMG] :D
     
  5. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace Well-Known Member
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    In addition the following illustrates the logical(?) history of many parameters that we now essentially have no idea of the origin.


    Interesting, but scary at the same time!!! :(
     
  6. Jim1999

    Jim1999 <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

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    The fourth of July fits better in song and poetry........We tend to write month-day-year in Canada as well. It is bank policy and I suppose we tend to follow the bank on this one.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  7. Gib

    Gib Active Member

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    I don't care how they put it. Just make sure I get paid every other Friday.
     
  8. Alcott

    Alcott Well-Known Member
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    I presume we write 09/23/05 because it follows how we would say it: "September (9) 23rd, 2005."

    Why not ask something more important, such as why we boil our tea to make it hot, ice it to make it cold, add sugar to make it sweet and lemon to make it sour?
     
  9. blackbird

    blackbird Administrator
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    July 3, 1776!!!!!

    Hey, just a joke there, ole Chap!!! A few of us preacher boys toured the UK last year---while at Gatewick--we were presenting our passports---and the Customs agent was there

    "You from the United States??"

    "Sure am!!"

    "Well, then!!! Welcome home, Chap!!!"
     
  10. Johnv

    Johnv New Member

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    I think you're on to something there. The Declaration of Independence reads "July 4th, 1776", and it was written by mostly by persons of English (and a few German) gentility. I suppose that has a lot to do with why we use the date convention that we do.
     
  11. padredurand

    padredurand Well-Known Member
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    Way too much information about time notation standards &lt;&lt;&lt;--link here
     
  12. Carolina Baptist

    Carolina Baptist Active Member

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    I just looked at my discharge from the Coast Guard. The date is listed as 87 MAR 25. That's year/month/day

    The date the form was accepted for use by millitary is 1 JUL 79. That's day/month/year.

    We can't seem to be consistent one the same form. :rolleyes:
     
  13. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K) Well-Known Member

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    I like the YYYY-M-D format the best as it is so computer compatible.

    Posted.

    200509240533GMT [​IMG]

    Matt's issue does cause a lot of confusion for travellers, or for those who do business on both signs of the Pond.
     
  14. Magnetic Poles

    Magnetic Poles New Member

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    Reminds me of the joke asking if there is a Fourth of July in England. The answer? Of course there is, it is just not Independence Day.

    Wasn't it Sir Winston Churchill who said the US and Britain were two countries separated by a common language?

    And what about that thing with the 26th letter of the alphabet. Zee, Zed, Izzard?
     
  15. fromtheright

    fromtheright <img src =/2844.JPG>

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    Question: why do Americans write the date as Month-day-year?

    I don't know but I know the US military in all its wisdom, tends to use day/month/year, as in 4 OCT 05, with the exception of, in the case of the Navy, performance evals that are year/month/day (e.g., 05MAY23). Go figure.


    Matt Black,

    Supplementary question: why do Americans say "9/11" but also say "The Fourth of July" rather than "July 4(th)"?

    I couldn't resist because it bothers me, that Americans refer to it as the Fourth of July rather than Independence Day.
     
  16. BobRyan

    BobRyan Active Member

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    More efficient for sorting if they used year month day.

    But I suppose that saying the same year "a lot" got them to the shorter form of month/day. It sorts within the year - but not across years.


    Just a guess.
     
  17. Matt Black

    Matt Black Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for all your answers. But no-one has yet got to the root of when, how and why we diverged in our notation....
     
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