Knowing how to write the date in Spanish, and even more importantly, knowing how to say it can prove quite useful, especially when you get to travel to a Spanish speaking country.
For instance, our birthdate is requested in all kinds of forms – from airport immigration slips to gym enrollment or visa application documents.
Preparing your resume in Spanish will also require you to provide several different dates related to your work experience and education.
Even everyday conversations are filled with dates of various professional and personal plans, commitments, and obligations.
Examples of how to write dates in Spanish:
- 3 de febrero de 1998
- 1 de septiembre del 2018
- el quince de mayo de mil ochocientos veinte
- el cinco de junio de del dos mil doce
- Nací el ocho de marzo de mil novecientos noventa y tres.
How to write and say dates in Spanish – 7 essential rules
Just by looking at the examples above, you might spot a few differences between the way dates are written and said in these two languages.
- The most important is that in Spanish, you always put the day before the month, which for some of you (especially US citizens) might look a little strange.
So, when you see a date written like this: 07.02.2015 on a document in Spanish, it doesn’t mean July 2nd, it means February the 7th.
- Names of the months in Spanish are not capitalized. The same rule applies to days of the week, nationalities, and languages.
On the plus side, almost all names of months look very similar in both languages. Thanks to cognates like these, learning Spanish is relatively easy for an English speaker.
- To indicate what day of a month it is, we use a cardinal number in Spanish, not an ordinal one. This rule means that, literally, we don’t say the fourth, the seventh, the twenty-first, etc., but simply four, seven, twenty-one, etc.
The only exception to this rule is the first day of each month. In this case, we use the ordinal form of uno, which is primero.
🇪🇸 cuarto de agosto – “cuatro” is a cardinal number)
🇬🇧 August the fourth
🇪🇸 primero de mayo – primero is an ordinal number
🇬🇧 May the first
- Years in Spanish are always said just like cardinal numbers. Which means you’ll have to practice your thousands and your hundreds.
- The date in Spanish starts with the article el, an equivalent of the English the. Its masculine form has to do with the fact that we are talking about a day – día, which has masculine gender in Spanish.
- The Spanish preposition de, which is equivalent to the English of, can be replaced by del (de + el) for years after 2000.
That means you are supposed to say de 1894, de 1769, de 1987, but for years starting from 2000, the Real Academia Española (RAE) allows the use of del. It is more common among native speakers than de.
- When you talk about an event that happened ON a specific date, don’t bother looking for a Spanish equivalent of this preposition. Dates in Spanish usually don’t use it.
So, “on October 5th” will just get translated as: “el cinco de octubre.”
However, in letters and official documents (contracts, deeds, etc.), when the date is provided together with the location, the Spanish preposition a is sometimes used instead of the article el.
🇪🇸 Madrid, a 8 de agosto de 2020
🇬🇧 Madrid, on August 8, 2020
🇪🇸 En Buenos Aires, a 13 de junio de 2019, las partes acuerdan lo siguiente.
🇬🇧 In Buenos Aires, on June 13, 2019, the parties agree as follows.
Dates in Spanish and how to use them effectively
As long as you remember those seven rules, you are all set to start using dates, both in writing and in a conversation.
Of course, it is always a good idea to review all you know about numbers and months in Spanish. You won’t be able to use dates fluently if these two other vocabulary groups are rusty.
What are some common questions to ask about dates?
The mini dialogs below should give you a few useful ideas:
A: ¿Qué fecha es hoy?
B: Es el veintiseis de septiembre del dos mil veinte.
A: What’s the date today?
B: It’s September 26th, 2020
A: ¿Cuál es tu fecha de nacimiento?
B: El siete de junio de mil novecientos ochenta y dos.
A: What’s your birthdate?
B: June seventh, 1982.
A: ¿Qué día te casaste?
B: Me casé el 11 de enero del dos mil seis.
A: What day did you get married?
B: I got married on January 11th, 2006.
A: ¿Cuál es la fecha más cercana para pedir hora con el doctor Gimenez?
B: No tiene nada disponible hasta el lunes 4 de mayo.
A: What’s the earliest date to get an appointment with doctor Gimenez?
B: There is nothing available until Monday, May 4th.
A: ¿Cuándo terminó la Segunda Guerra Mundial?
B: El 8 de mayo de 1945.
A: When did WWII end?
B: On May 8th, 1945.
A: ¿Cuánto tiempo viviste en Argentina?
B: Casi 2 años. Desde el 1 de octubre de 2012 al 15 de septiembre del 2014.
A: How long did you live in Argentina?
B: Almost two years. From October 1st, 2012 until September 15th, 2014.
A: ¿En qué fechas estará en México, señor?
B: Entre el 5 y el 10 de diciembre.
A: Between what dates will you stay in Mexico, sir?
B: Between December, the 5th and the 10th.
A: ¿Dónde estaba usted el pasado 4 de septiembre en la noche?
B: En la casa. Mi marido puede confirmarlo.
A: Where were you last September 4th at night?
B: Home. My husband can confirm it.
A: ¿Para qué día está agendada la reunión del directorio?
B: Para el 2 de noviembre, a las 4.
A: When is the board meeting scheduled for?
B: For November, the 2nd, and 4 PM.
As you can see in the last example, dates often – especially for scheduled events – require you also to tell the time in Spanish.