Can I use "We refer to the Insurer’s instructions at 1218hrs on 23rd July 2017"?

I'm not sure whether two prepositions at the same time are necessary or redundant.

Thanks in advance.


There are many ways to communicate date and time. In formal English, these are a couple of good ways to say what you're trying to say:

We refer to the insurer's instructions from/of July 23rd, 2017, at 12:18 p.m.

We refer to the insurer's instructions from/of the 23rd of July, 2017, at 12:18 p.m.

It seems like you might be using military time? Unless you're in the military or communicating with the military, it's probably better to use standard a.m./p.m. time.

I believe from is a a little better than of, but I think it's ultimately a matter of choice, and both are grammatical in formal usage.

If it's OK to be less formal, you can express time in other ways:

We refer to the insurer's instructions from 2017-July-23 12:18 PM

I would even argue that this is a more clear and readable way to present a date and time, and better than the formal usages above. Note that it is very common to use PM or P.M. instead of p.m.

One point to keep in mind: I believe it's better to spell out the month rather than use the number that represents the month. For example, January is usually better than 1 or 01. This is because different parts of the world order the parts of a date differently:

U.S. format: 01/02/2017 => January 2, 2017

European format: 01/02/2017 => February 1, 2017

You can easily avoid this confusion by spelling out the month or the abbreviation for it:



So to answer your question, if your statement must be very formal, then yes, I believe it's good to use two prepositions (from/of followed by at). But for most situations, it's fine or even preferable to use one preposition like so: from 2017-July-23 12:18 PM

Another note: You can of course put the time before the date, but only if you use both at and from/of. You should only put the time before the date if you're trying to emphasize the time for some reason. I think it's more common and sensible to put the date first, then the time.

  • Thanks for your detailed explanation which helps me broaden my horizons. Btw, can I use "23rd July 2017"? Just because we prefer the time order "dd/mm/yyyy". – sanba06c Oct 19 '17 at 4:23
  • If it needs to be formal/official, then say 23rd of July, 2017. If it's less formal, then 23rd July 2017 is probably fine, because it's clear and sensible for the reader. – Ringo Oct 19 '17 at 4:43
  • As you can see, there are a thousand ways to express a date/time. Just choose a way that works well for you, and remember to use that format consistently throughout the document. – Ringo Oct 19 '17 at 4:46
  • Great, your help is highly appreciated. – sanba06c Oct 19 '17 at 4:52
  • No problem! If you believe so, you can upvote my answer. Good luck – Ringo Oct 19 '17 at 4:53

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