Year dates in English

(Saying and writing English years)

Table of contents – year dates

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Pronunciation of the years
  2. Writing of the years
  3. Further explanations and exercises

How are the years pronounced in English?

The pronunciation of the years in English has only few rules. Up to and including 1999, the years are spoken as hundreds. For shortening, ‘hundred and’ may also be omitted. Compare these possibilities of pronouncing the dates:

  1. In English, year dates can be pronounced in the following ways:
    • For example, the year 1972:
      • ‘nineteen hundred and seventy-two’
        or:
      • ‘nineteen seventy-two’
    • Or the year 1854:
      • ‘eighteen hundred and fifty-four’
        or:
      • ‘eighteen fifty-four’
  2. From the year 2000 onwards, the year is spoken just like a regular basic number and not as hundreds anymore:
    • 2000‘two thousand’
    • 2005‘two thousand and five’
    • Information: In colloquial language, it is common to pronounce the years in groups of two:
      • 2003‘twenty oh three’
      • 2012‘twenty twelve’
      • 2023‘twenty twenty-three’

How are the year dates written in English?

One significant point when writing the year dates in English is: The year is always preceded by the preposition ‘in’. This feature is particularly important for English language learners, as this preposition may not be the rule in other languages. Compare:

  • The preposition ‘in’ comes before the year in English (if no month is mentioned before):
    • In 1995, I won the lottery.”
    • “I moved to Australia in 2003.”
      But:
    • “My sister got her first car in February 1998.”
  • Furthermore, year dates may be complemented with ‘before’ or ‘after Christ’. Example of how to do so:
    • before ChristBC or B.C. (Before Christ)
    • after ChristAD or A.D. (Anno Domini)
    • Example in a sentence:
      • “The tomb was discovered in 2147 BC.”

Further explanations related to the ‘English year dates’

The following explanations refer to the topic ‘Saying and writing the year in English’ and might help you too:

  • Weekdays and month names in English
  • Telling the time in English
  • Ordinal numbers in English grammar
  • Times of day and mealtimes in English
  • List of exercises about parts of speech