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.

1 Answer 1


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, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 at 4:46
  • Great, your help is highly appreciated.
    – sanba06c
    Oct 19, 2017 at 4:52
  • No problem! If you believe so, you can upvote my answer. Good luck
    – Ringo
    Oct 19, 2017 at 4:53

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