Question

One for my American friends (because this has bugged me for an eternity):

Why do your dates go by month, then date and finally year? 

Doesn’t it make more sense to go by date, month and year, what with the day being a fraction of the month, which is then a fraction of the year? See, it’s common sense. Your way just jars.

You’ve messed up spellings (whilst we’re on the subject, exactly what issue do you have with the ‘u’ in ‘colour’?) and rejected other words entirely. It’s your country, it’s your prerogative to mess with the language all you want. 

You have a different date for Mother’s Day. To be honest, there I’m just jealous as you get to eat your chocolates without Lent-based guilt and the weather is more optimistic. Seeing a TM is usually dreadful at organising Mother’s Day perhaps I should adopt yours too to give him a chance for a do-over.

But month, date, year? You’ve taken it too far, just to do things your way.

Although…

Why then, do we put the hour before the minutes when writing time? If we’re ranking from smallest portion of time to the biggest for the dates, shouldn’t the time follow the same system?

And we’re not blameless for messing with time in the UK either. Because why – WHY – do we shift forward to British Summer Time in the summer so that Greenwich isn’t then on Greenwich mean Time? 

I’m too lazy to have proper OCD, but things like this literally keep me awake at night. If someone could let me know – and therefore let me sleep at night – I’d be eternally grateful.

And if there is no logical reason for your crazy date randomness then could it please be arranged for you to tidy it up?

Thank you. Xx

PS really I’m just annoyed that our dates aren’t working out as beautifully symmetrically as yours this week. One form of OCD-lite conflicting with another. Gah!

  

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24 thoughts on “Question”

    1. It is cool isn’t it? I love a symmetrical date or one that runs numerically. I was gutted that Boo was born on 10th August 2007, or 10/08/07, not 9th August – 09/08/07. Out by mere hours!

  1. I can answer the “u” part — late 18th to mid 19th century Americans (people usually credit Ben Franklin) tried to simplify learning to read and write by spelling phonetically. Some suggestions took, some didn’t. Hence “phonetically” isn’t fonetically spelled.

    I have no idea about the history of the dating system or the rest of the stuff.

  2. This drives me mad too, it just doesn’t make sense to have the month before the date!!! And the American way of spelling some words is, well quite frankly, it infuriates me!
    But then who are we to judge with our weird English language spelling?! I can think of many words that look nothing like they sound lol 🙂

    1. English place names are the most confounding. Wymondham, pronounced Windham, Ingoldisthorpe is Ingolsthorpe and Happisburgh should be pronounced Haysborough! It’s insider knowledge though, so we know how to spot the intruder/foreign tourist. 😉

      1. Ah – as for place names…. We had some friends coming to visit for the first time and told them to turn off at the sign for Wroxham…. they got lost and their excuse was we didn’t tell them it was ‘Wroxham with a W’!!

  3. Excellent questions! My only explanation for the date thing (and I have no idea if this is true or not) is that, when you say it out loud, you say “May 12, 2015,” not “12 May, 2015.” So it’s written as we say it.

    I read so much more British literature than I do American literature (there are literally only a handful of American authors I can stand to read) that it’s hard for me NOT to use British spellings. All my life I’ve been certain that “judgement” was correct, but I’ve been told over and over again that I’m supposed to spell it “judgment,” which makes absoloutely no sense to me. I can’t bring myself to write “gray” – must use “grey.” But that’s as far as I take it. My sister and her husband and kids, on the other hand, use entirely British spelling. Which in my view, when you’re living here, is simply affected and obnoxious – but affected and obnoxious is basically them, in a nutshell. Luckily they’re moving to Ireland this summer, so they won’t come off as such pains in the arse. (See what I did there?)

    1. Oh, holy cow – I used “literally” entirely incorrectly above. I cannot actually fit any number of authors in my hand. My apologies.

      1. Oooh, pertinent question: above each of the comments, including yours above, my screen shows the date in this format: May 13, 2015. Not that that means it’s “correct,” but I wonder how it shows up on your screen.
        Durhrrhrhrriasassidjxjxjdjdj.
        EeiskskeisisisisksksksslalakaaakKakkskdjdjdjdhddhhdhdhddydudududududdudududhdjdjsdududududdjdjahauushshdhdhddjdjdjdkkdsjajiakajsjdhdgdsgshaiaaiaiaaasaawwsasagfgffrjrjrjrrjejejeneqjddgggfjfjfjfifjffjfjfhfududjdjfjfjfufifidididiiaaadfjdjdidjdjdjdjddidididididdidididdidixixixixixixiddidididididididididdididdidisidisisiaaaaahsrgggfkffkfkfkfkskssjaasjsjdjssjsjkssdnsnsnsnammqamdfgggmgmfmfnfjdkakakshdshdhdhdhhdjajaakalamsmamamsmsxmkk. 1192922838;7;7;7:9:9292929-922929202202@3@:””;”:”:0293747474647477373737272777

  4. Um, in Australia we would say the 12th of May! But then, we reversed the scoring in cricket so who am I to judge?! When my daughter was in grade 1 and trying to get some exception to the rule in spelling, she once said to me, “That silly man who invented English!”

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