If I want to express the date: 1/1/17 can I say "on January first"?

For example:

I'm going to meet him on January first.

I know that I can say also: "the first of January", but my question is about the style that I showed.

  • "On January first" is colloquial, but it is mostly used in AmE. (You may need to edit your question.) – Mick Nov 29 '16 at 18:04
  • You're right, my mistake. Corrected. – Judicious Allure Nov 29 '16 at 18:16

Month names do not take the definite article except when you're concerned to distinguish a particular month from other months of the same name (e.g., the January when we had such warm weather--was that 1980 or 82?).

A day-of-month designator expressed as an ordinal number (first, second, third, &c) may take the definite article if it follows the month name, and must take the definite article if it is the head of the date expression:


on January the first
on January first
on the first of January are all acceptable, but

on the January first
on the January the first
on first of January
on the first of the January
on first of the January are all unacceptable.

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  • Way to cover all the combinations! – John Feltz Nov 29 '16 at 18:15
  • I think a few of the "unacceptable" examples are valid in referring to particular Januaries or January the firsts, just it is rare that this will be needed. Here's an attempt at an example. "On the January first when the monsoon struck, I forget the year, we ..." – Nat Nov 29 '16 at 21:52

Each of the following is acceptable, however, if you are in Britain, January first is not acceptable (although Americani(z)sation has taken its toll).

on January the first;
on the first of January;
on January first

So, your example sentence is correct:

I'm going to meet him on January first.

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  • Then what is acceptable in Britain? – Judicious Allure Nov 29 '16 at 18:42
  • My other two examples, first of January or January the first. – BladorthinTheGrey Nov 29 '16 at 18:54

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