How Do I Say Or Write Dates in Spanish?

dates in Spanish

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Today, we are talking about dates in Spanish – no, not dating, but instead knowing how to express the day/month/year in written or verbal form.

(For vocab on dates of the romantic kind, read here)

The difference between writing and saying dates in Spanish vs in English is mostly subtle.

In most cases, it will depend on whether you are expressing a date in an informal or formal context – the latter being something like a legal document.

Let’s begin by stating two differences between days of the week/months in Spanish vs English.

  1. Days of the week and months in Spanish are only capitalized when placed at the start of a sentence.
  2. Days of the week and months in Spanish are always masculine and single

For example:

  • Monday, February 3 – Lunes 3 de febrero
  • The test will be on Friday – El examen será el viernes
  • Sundays are my favorite day of the week  – Los domingos son mis días favoritos de la semana.
  • My parents will visit me on Saturday – Mis padres me visitarán el sábado.

(You can find a separate post on days, months and seasons vocab here)

Now, back to dates in Spanish

In Spanish, you do not say or write dates in their ordinal form (2nd, 15th, 21st etc).

The only exception to this rule is for the first day (primero) of each month, as shown below:

  • The 1st of January – El primero de enero
  • The 1st of November – El primero de noviembre

For any other date, you use cardinal numbers (2,15, 21).

(the only other exception is some legal/formal documents that tend to have dates written in their ordinal form)

The formula for expressing other date sis simple: cardinal number + de + month

The major difference here is that in Spanish, the month always comes after the day, whereas in English, the month can go before or after the day.

For example:

  •  The supermarket will be open on the 2nd of January  – El supermercado estará abierto el dos de enero
  • Franco was born on June 15th – Franco nació el quince de junio
  • I’ll be arriving on July 4th – Llegaré el cuatro de julio
  • The wedding will be on Monday, March 16th – Lunes, dieciséis de marzo será la boda

How to express the year in Spanish?

Just like in English, there are two ways to express certain years, depending on how specific you want to be.

For example, 1970 (specific) vs the 70s (not-specific).

  • 1970 – Mil novecientos setenta
  • Studio 54 was the most famous nightclub of the 70’s  – Estudio 54 era la discoteca más famosa de los setenta

Let’s see more general examples:

  • 1900 – Mil novecientos
  • I was born in 1984 – Yo nací en mil novecientos ochenta y cuatro

With certain periods (i.e. 1900 to 1999) you can say the complete year or just the two last cardinal numbers of the year.

Just like in English, referencing the 2000’s always require you to state the full year:

  • 2000 – Dos mil
  • That song is from 2002 – Esa canción es del año dos mil dos
  • I’m going to travel in Europe in 2021 – Voy a viajar por Europa en el dos mil veintiuno

Here is a final reminder of how you could say specific years in Spanish.

Year Spanish
1900 Mil novecientos
1910 Mil novecientos diez
1950 Mil novecientos cincuenta
1980 Mil novecientos ochenta
1990 Mil novecientos noventa
2000 Dos mil
2010 Dos mil diez
2020 Dos mil veinte

Finally, how do you write or say entire dates in Spanish

And to finish, you can see how entire dates are written and said in Spanish.

When stating the entire date, the year usually comes after the month and day, just like in English.

In the written form, you can choose to use de or del before the year, with the latter being a bit more formal

Format Shorthand Written Form Verbal Form
DD/MM/YY 05/02/2020 05 de febrero del 2020 El cinco de febrero del dos mil veinte 
DD-MM-YY 06-02-1980 06 de febrero de 1980  El seis de febrero de mil novecientos ochenta 
Weekday, DD/MM/YY Lunes, 10/02/2020  Lunes, 10 de febrero del 2020  El lunes diez de febrero del dos mil veinte 
YY – MM – DD 1990, Octubre 15 Mil novecientos noventa, octubre quince 
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