Expressing dates in Spanish

Read and listen to these examples:

El 7 de febrero de 1986.
7th February 1986.

El 15 de julio de 1949.
15th July 1949.

El 23 de diciembre de 2001.
23rd December 2001.

To say the date in Spanish, you need to use this structure:

elnumberdemonth + deyear
Don't forget de! In Spanish it is compulsory.

Article El

Don't forget the definite article el before the date.

Note that dates are always masculine, so it's never la.

El 14 de mayo.
14th May.

Number

The main difference between dates in English and Spanish is the numbers:

  • English dates use ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th...)
  • Spanish dates use cardinal numbers (dos, tres, cuatro, etc.) so, not segundo (2nd), tercero (3rd), cuarto (4th), etc.
  • EXCEPTION For the first day of the month, you can use both cardinal (uno) and ordinal (primero) numbers. Both are correct.

El uno de octubre, el primero de octubre.
1st of April.

Month

In Spanish, months are never capitalised:

enero mayo septiembre
febrero junio octubre
marzo julio noviembre
abril  agosto diciembre

Year

In Spanish, years are always read as full numbers!

1789 (mil setecientos ochenta y nueve).
1789 (seventeen eighty-nine).

2018 (dos mil dieciocho).
2018 (twenty eighteen).

1920 (mil novecientos veinte).
1920 (nineteen twenty).

1972 (mil novecientos setenta y dos).
1972 (nineteen seventy-two).

You never say: diecinueve sesenta y cuatro (1964) but mil novecientos sesenta y cuatro.

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

El uno de octubre, el primero de octubre.
1st of April.


2018 (dos mil dieciocho).
2018 (twenty eighteen).


El 14 de mayo.
14th May.


1972 (mil novecientos setenta y dos).
1972 (nineteen seventy-two).


El 23 de diciembre de 2001.
23rd December 2001.


1920 (mil novecientos veinte).
1920 (nineteen twenty).


El 15 de julio de 1949.
15th July 1949.


1789 (mil setecientos ochenta y nueve).
1789 (seventeen eighty-nine).


El 7 de febrero de 1986.
7th February 1986.


Q&A

Carole

Kwiziq community member

23 July 2018

2 replies

El 15 de julio de 19 49. In writing is the year eg 1949 always expressed in figures or can it be words?

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

23 July 2018

23/07/18

Hi Carole

In Spanish, like in English, the year is generally written in numbers (1956, 2009, ...) but when you say it you need to literally say it as if it was a number, unlike in English which is expressed in "pairs".

So, in Spanish:

1975 ="mil / novecientos / setenta y cinco".

But in English:

1975 = "nineteen / seventy five"

Regards

Inma

Carole

Kwiziq community member

30 July 2018

30/07/18

Thank you, a perfect answer for me.

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