How to Write Dates in Spanish Right

How to Write Dates in Spanish Right

Content dates in spanish

Dates in Spanish: Writing Rules and Examples

Different languages represent different cultural environments. Often they have their conventions for measurements or indicating time and date that cannot be found in other languages. So there can be various ways to indicate the same things. It’s interesting to learn how to say dates in Spanish because there are many differences compared to English. Although some of them are subtle, still it’s necessary to take them into account to ensure accuracy and eliminate ambiguity that could result from language interference.


Spanish vs English Dates: The Basics

Most common way to write a date in English would be May 16, 2020. So that universal formula would be [month] [day] [comma] [year]. However, in Spanish, it would be written in the same way as it is pronounced while in English the numeral would be written as cardinal, while pronounced as ordinal. Same date in Spanish would be 16 de mayo de 2020. Thus, formula for it would be [day] [de] [month] [de] [year]. Biggest difference would be in the order of month and date as well as usage of preposition de. As explained by best translation services in this construction de means “of”. Here lies one of the differences: although in English “of” is used for saying days of month, it is not pronounced in context of year. It should be also taken into account that in Spanish names of months are not capitalized.


Days of the Week in Spanish

Some names of days of week in Spanish have common grounds with English. For example, Monday – lunes also means “moon’s day”. One of the peculiar features of days of the week in the date in Spanish is that they are not capitalized. Unless at the beginning of a sentence, they are always written in small letters. Here is a list of names of days of weeks with translation:


  • Monday — lunes
  • Tuesday — martes
  • Wednesday — miércoles
  • Thursday — jueves
  • Friday — viernes
  • Saturday — sábado
  • Sunday — domingo

Adding Days of the Week to the Date

Adding the name of the day of the week in language of Spain is easy. One adds the preposition el and puts the name of the week in front of the day – Un concierto tendrá lugar el sábado 5 de abril – The concern will take place on Sunday, 5th April.


How to Write Months of the Year

This is one of the easiest yet important parts of this topic. It isn’t possible to learn how to write a date in Spanish without knowing months. Hopefully, they are not much different from English ones, with the only difference that they are not capitalized:


  • January — enero
  • February — febrero 
  • March — marzo
  • April — abril
  • May — mayo
  • June — junio
  • July — julio
  • August — augusto
  • September — septiembre
  • October — octubre
  • November — noviembre
  • December — diciembre

How to Write the Date in Spanish Easily

Number Version

Apart from the standard written version such as April 7, 2021, which can be found in many types of writing, there is also a short number version, as commonly used in documents, Excel files, receipts, or on electronic devices. Surprisingly, but it is not written the same way in different languages and can even be indicated another way round in official identity documents. Standard English number version of the date would be 12/03/2018 for December 3, 2018. However, common continental European format for it would be different and it might cause ambiguity for those who do not know how to write dates in Spanish number version correctly. Trick here is that unlike in English, day of month should come first in it. For professionals working in translation services New York or London, it’s critical to take it into account. In Spanish 12/03/2018 would mean March 12, 2018. Thus, the formula for it would be [day]/ [month]/ [year]. To indicate December 3, 2018, in Spanish number format one would write 03/12/2018.


Formal Version

Although number version can often be seen in documents, it is also possible to avoid it in papers. It is because there is a formal way to write the date in Spanish language. It’s structure [day] [de] [month] [de] [year] reviewed earlier above. The date December 3, 2018, in Spanish would be 3 de diciembre de 2018.
It is important to know it for language professionals in marketing translation services for example when working on advertisements about some temporary discounts, promo or sales to clearly articulate to customers the time when it will be effective.


Saying Spanish Dates

Among crucial differences in usage of numerals in dates between English and Spanish is that in the latter ordinal numerals are not written or spoken when referring to day of the month. It is one of the most important peculiarities to take into account when learning how to say date in Spanish language. For example, let’s take the date June 7, 2015. In speech it would be “the seventh of June, 2015”.  “Seventh” is translated as séptimo. But instead of using ordinal numeral form, one would need to go with the cardinal. So “seven” in Spanish is siete. Thus, correct way to pronounce this date would be siete de junio de 2015.
However, there is an exception to this rule, but it only applies to the first day of the month. It’s indicated both in text and is spoken with the help of an ordinal numeral. To learn how do you write the date in Spanish with the first day of the month, it is necessary to remember that it uses the numeral primero, which means “the first”. In text, it is either indicated with 1 and symbol ◦ for example 1◦ de mayo. Also, some best Spanish translation websites also mention the form 1ero – 1ero de mayo noting that it’s a little less common variant. Both variants would be spoken as primero de mayo.


Years in Spanish

In English the common way to say years other than those between 2000 and 2009 would be to divide them in the middle and pronounce them as a pair of two-digit numbers. 2020 is pronounced as “twenty-twenty”. However, learning how to say years in Spanish is a little easier. All years are pronounced together as a cardinal numeral. 2020 in Spanish would be pronounced as dos mil veinte which means “two thousand forty.”


Vocabulary Related to Dates in Spanish

Here some of the important words that can also be used with dates:


  • date — la fecha    ¿Qué fecha es hoy?
  • year — el año    La película se estrenará el próximo año.
  • week — la semana     Te visitaré en 2 semanas.
  • month — el mes    Hay cuatro semanas en un mes.
  • yesterday — ayer    Ayer fue el dos de junio.
  • today — hoy    Hoy estamos a diecisiete de diciembre.
  • tomorrow — mañana    Mañana es el siete de abril.

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Learn Language of Spain Easily

There are peculiarities in writing and pronouncing Spanish dates in comparison to English. Still, there are also many similar features such as names of weeks or months. Dates make a great importance in people’s lives, so it is crucial to take into account differences in number versions to ensure remembering someone’s birthday, flight, concert, or meeting date in order not to get lost in calendar and in translation.

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