between the 20th and 25th of December [Date range]

Dendee

Senior Member
Australia - English
Good afternoon, I need to express a date range, it's for an advertisement so not a formal affair. My difficulty is the amount of conflicting opinions on how dates should be written. I'm not sure if the sentence should be:

Take advantage of the offers between the 20th and 25th of December!
OR
Take advantage of the offers between 20 and 25 December! (no ordinals and "the" and "of" omitted)

Which is preferred? Or, should it be written in another way completely?

I'd mention that it's directed to a mainly British audience.
 
  • Jimbob_Disco

    Senior Member
    British English
    Good afternoon, I need to express a date range, it's for an advertisement so not a formal affair. My difficulty is the amount of conflicting opinions on how dates should be written. I'm not sure if the sentence should be:

    Take advantage of the offers between the 20th and 25th of December!
    OR
    Take advantage of the offers between 20 and 25 December! (no ordinals and "the" and "of" omitted)

    Which is preferred? Or, should it be written in another way completely?

    I'd mention that it's directed to a mainly British audience.
    Personally, I would say ‘between 20th and 25th December’ or even just ‘20th - 25th December’.

    In BE, I don’t think you should ever use an article with the date, but always use the ordinal form, but I believe that it’s different in AE, so worth bearing in mind!
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Take advantage of the offers 20-25 December!
    Take advantage of the offers. 20 to 25 December!
    Take advantage of the offers. 20 - 25 December only!

    It looks really odd to me to see 'between' with a date range in an advertisement. Ordinals also tend to get in the way, unless it is a single date or they are a small superscript. Don't use 'the' with dates in normal writing. It is spoken, but rarely written, especially not in advertisements.

    I'm sure there are rules for dashes and spaces when writing date ranges, but I have no idea what they are. I usually go with what I think looks best.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In publishing, the convention is to join two numbers with an en-dash, unspaced: 20–25 December.

    But in emails, texts, tweets, etc, anything goes. Most people just use a hyphen (only one keystroke!).
     

    Dendee

    Senior Member
    Australia - English
    Thanks for the wonderful answers, I'd like to ask Lingobingo, what would you use before 20–25 December? "From" or "between" ? Or none of these?
     

    Jimbob_Disco

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks for the wonderful answers, I'd like to ask Lingobingo, what would you use before 20–25 December? "From" or "between" ? Or none of these?
    I know I’m not lingobingo, so sorry to butt in!

    I would use either ‘from’, or just nothing!
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'd like to ask Lingobingo, what would you use before 20–25 December? "From" or "between" ? Or none of these?
    Neither of them. If it's BE usage, you have 3 distinct choices:

    20–25 December
    From 20 to 25 December
    Between 20 and 25 December

    That's assuming, of course, that you don't want to use a definite article.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree, though I'm OK with ordinals: 20th–25th December etc.
    Yes, of course that's another option. Not often used these days, though.
    Mine, too. It can be argued that the offers are only available on 21, 22, 23 and 24 December.
    I agree. "Between … and" is best avoided for that very reason. But anyone who does use it needs to be aware that it must be written that way (see Julian's warning in #9).
     

    nh01

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    It depends what you mean. Will you be abroad on all those dates? If so, then the preferred prepositions are from X to/through Y.
    Thank you. So if I simply say "I will attend a meeting between 20-25 December ", does "between" work here? Thanks.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Thank you. So if I simply say "I will attend a meeting between 20-25 December ", does "between" work here? Thanks.
    Between is not a good idea. That could mean that the meeting is one day long and happens some time in that interval. From carries the meaning of the duration from 20 to 25.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There’s no strict rule, and it’s certainly not always 100% clear what’s meant. Quite often, the message being conveyed is simply that you won’t be available on certain dates. So if someone says, for example, that they’ll be away between the 4th and the 10th, or they’re away 4–10 September, the natural assumption would be that they’re leaving on the 4th and returning on the 10th.

    I’m sure this kind of ambiguity can’t be restricted to English?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    If I choose this one and write a sentence like "I will be abroad between 20-25 December", how should I read it? Should I read it directly "twenty-twenty five December?" Thanks.
    "...between the twentieth and the twenty-fifth of December."

    People don't always say a date range in the format it is written, and someone may well read this out loud as "...from the twentieth to the twenty fifth of December", the two things meaning the same thing (there can be no ambiguity here, where trips abroad are usually for several days).
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Do you mean that it may not be necessary to say even "between" here?
    Andygc is correct. If you use "between" you need "and". The dash represents "to", which requires nothing else, and if you were to write "from" (which fits with "to"), then you also need to write "to" and not use a dash.

    However, people are often careless in writing date ranges. This is not to say that you should do this yourself, but asking how an incorrectly-written date range should be pronounced is a legitimate question.
     
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