Suppose I have a headline to translate:

ZZZ sales up 20% in the first three quarters of 2014

Is there a generic and shorter way to indicate the same? I know of Q3 2014, but that would mean "in the third quarter" only, not "in the first nine months of the year".

4 Answers 4


I would prefer your original "first three quarters of 2014" as it is unambiguous. However, these alternatives may be acceptable:

ZZZ sales up 20% in Q1-Q3 2014

ZZZ sales up 20% in 2014, quarters 1-3


What's wrong with "in the first nine months of 2014" (like you say in your question)? That would work.

Also, you could use "through September of 2014" if you wanted to avoid quarter for some reason.

However, the word quarter is often used in financial circles (in phrases like third quarter earnings or second quarter sales, so it might be best to leave it as quarters in English.

  • 2
    Although it is picking a nit, first 3 quarters does not necessarily translate to first nine months. Some companies have non-equal quarters (particularly retail ones), and "quarter" tends to default to "fiscal quarter" while "month" defaults to "calendar month" in most cases.
    – Joe
    Dec 4, 2014 at 18:30

"ZZZ Sales up YTD" (year-to-date) is a common way of handling that scenario. The assumption is that the piece is being published in Q4, and the trend seen over the first three quarters has not reversed. Reasonable assumption, since a headline trumpeting an increase would be very misleading if there had been a sudden slump.


There is a slight difference between these two phrases:

ZZZ 2014 YTD sales are up through Q3


ZZZ sales are up in the first three quarters of 2014

The difference is that in the first, the total sales for the first three quarters is compared to the previous year's first three quarters in total. The second is unclear, but suggests that you may be comparing each quarter by quarter and have an increase in each of them separately (Q1 2014 vs Q1 2013, Q2 2014 vs Q2 2013, and Q3 2014 vs Q3 2013). Include YTD as well as the specific end point (through Q3) to be the most clear if that's what you mean.

Also, if you mean Fiscal Year not Calendar Year, it is slightly more clear to specify that:

ZZZ FY 2014 sales are up through Q3

Finally, if you want a more nice 'reading' sentence, I would put it like this:

ZZZ sales are up for the fiscal year 2014 through the third quarter.


Through the third quarter of fiscal year 2014, ZZZ sales are up.

In both cases "Through" makes it clear that you mean the entire period and not each period separately.

If you specifically mean quarter by quarter, on the other hand, then say

ZZZ sales are up for each of the first three quarters of 2014

or something similar to that.

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