How do you write the date?

In today’s economy, both time and money are in short supply, so I can understand why we shorten words like your/you’re to ur and create acronyms like LOL (laugh out loud) rather than use a long line of text to let someone know what we said was intended to be humorous. I get it. It makes sense. Less is more. 

If this is true, then why is there an increasing trend to use an ordinal number (one with a suffix like th, nd, rd, st) when writing the date? More and more, I see the date written March 1st, 2012 instead of March 1, 2012. Not only is the former example grammatically incorrect, it adds two extra and unnecessary characters. With more dated equipment (no pun intended), you have to highlight and add the superscript to the font in order for the ordinal suffix to be raised. So much for economy of time. In fact, it’s actually easier to write it in the correct format. 

I can’t buy the excuse, “You read it March first so you should use an ordinal number.” It has been understood for at least a hundred years, that you read it first but write 1. (You don’t read ur as err.) Yet this method of writing the date keeps popping up so much that I continually check the Internet to see if the rule has changed.  (FYI –from the sources I’ve checked, not yet.) 

What is really scary is where you see it written like this – websites, brochures, posters, and even program bulletins at local schools. This begs the question, “What are they teaching the kids?” 

I know, in the scheme of life, the way you write the date holds little importance, and I should not lose sleep over it.  Really I don’t, though as a former English teacher, it does irritate me, and I’d love to understand the logic behind it. It just seems to me, there are easier ways to look stupid.  If you need a list, I can look back over my life and offer a few suggestions.

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