How do you spell the following date:

December 6 (AmE)

6 December (BrE)

Do you spell this date as 'December six' or 'December the sixth' in American English?

And in British English, do you spell it as 'Six December' or 'The sixth of December'?

  • We don't usually spell it at all. In BrE it is 6th December, sometimes 6 December. Mar 21, 2020 at 12:12
  • 3
    I don't think the 6 December (AmE) / December 6 (BrE) thing is a rigid rule or even particularly established. I am British and I use either format fairly randomly (taking care to be consistent within a piece of writing). I think the OP means pronounce where he/she has written 'spell'. I would read aloud '6 December' as 'the sixth of December' and 'December 6' as 'December the sixth'. Mar 21, 2020 at 12:52
  • Above: "6 December (AmE) / December 6 (BrE)" I accidentally switched them around from the OP's question, which, in a way, supports the assertion in my comment. Mar 21, 2020 at 16:52

2 Answers 2


When written in words there is less difference between the US and UK than you seem to believe.

In the UK, both "sixth of December" and "December sixth" are correct and acceptable. There may be a tendency to use the first form more often, but the second is quite common too. It is also common in a mixed form: "6th of December" or "December 6th". The word "of" can be omitted, especially when the date is not part of a paragraph. And the "th" can also be omitted in writing (but not in speech)

In the US, the form "December 6" or "December 6th" (both spoken "sixth") are preferred, with "6th of December" seen as a Britishism, but completely understood. In speech, and writing to emulate speech, "the" can be inserted "December the sixth". This is likewise true in the UK.

It is common in both countries to write the month as an abbreviation: 6th Dec. or Dec 6th. British use would favour day-month order, but this isn't strictly applied.

It is only in numeric dates that there is a difference, with 6/12 meaning December 6th in Britain and June twelfth in the USA.

  • Do you spell 6/12 and June 12th the same way? Mar 27, 2020 at 15:28
  • 1
    in numeric dates that there is a difference, with 6/12 meaning December 6th in Britain and June twelfth in the USA.
    – James K
    Mar 27, 2020 at 16:22

Spelling out the cardinal numbers in a date is rarely done. On a formal invitation, the number is often spelled out:

"You are cordially invited...on the sixth day of December two thousand twenty..."


"You are cordially invited...on December the sixth, two thousand twenty..."

However, on a casual invitation, the date will include cardinal numbers as they are written in everyday correspondence:

"...on December 6, 2020..." or "...on 6 December 2020..."

In other forms of written or printed matter, the casual style is used for purposes of readability as well as conservation of print space.

  • Many British people write e.g. 21st March 2020 and my Microsoft Word offers to superscript the ordinal parts (st, nd, th, etc) Mar 21, 2020 at 12:54

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