Expressing dates in Spanish

Read and listen to these examples:

7 de febrero de 1986.
7th February 1986.

15 de julio de 1949.
15th July 1949.

23 de diciembre de 2001.
23rd December 2001.

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

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

Article El

When the date is in a sentence that is telling you when something takes place you need the article "el" before the number.

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

Mi cumpleaños es el 14 de mayo.
My birthday is the 14th of 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.

Uno de octubre. Primero de octubre.
1st of October.

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.
Have a look at Spanish numbers from 1 to 50

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

15 de julio de 1949.
15th July 1949.


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


Uno de octubre. Primero de octubre.
1st of October.


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


23 de diciembre de 2001.
23rd December 2001.


Mi cumpleaños es el 14 de mayo.
My birthday is the 14th of May.


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


7 de febrero de 1986.
7th February 1986.


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


Q&A

Joseph

Kwiziq community member

18 January 2019

1 reply

I work in Ventura County California. Does this Spanish course teach the same as around here?

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

18 January 2019

18/01/19

Hola Joseph

I would imagine that in California, Spanish is probably taught by Latin American teachers more than Spanish teachers, so some expressions you may hear in California are slightly different to Spanish expressions from Spain. As you may know, Kwiziq is focused on Peninsular Spanish at the moment but will be also offering Latin American Spanish based lessons soon. 

Nevertheless, personally, I don't think this should as a barrier to make yourself understood in a Latin American atmosphere.

Un saludo 

Inma

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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