The Correct Way to Write the Time and Date in English

There are several ways you can write the time in English, using both digits (numbers) and letters. Depending on the type of document you are writing, it is usually best to use only numbers as this makes it clearer for the reader. However, even when using numbers there are several differences, most of which relate to whether or not you use the 24 hour clock:

1. 15.00 is the same as 3 pm or three o’clock in the afternoon.
2. 12.00 is the same as 12 pm or midday.
3. 00.00 is the same as 12 am or midnight.

Remember, the use of the 24 hour clock is far more common in mainland Europe than in the UK.

There are also several rules for correctly writing the date in English, although these rules can change depending on whether you choose to use British or American English. Firstly, we shall look at the two general rules:

1. Always capitalize the names of the days – Monday, Tuesday, Friday etc.
2. Always capitalize the name of months – January, April, August, December

In American English the format of writing the date is Month, Day, Year, as in:

April 14, 2008

Notice that a comma separates the day from the year. In British English the format is Day, Month, Year, as in:

14 April 2008.

You notice that no comma is used here. When we write the day in full (Friday, Sunday etc) then in American English it is written as follows:

Friday, October 31, 1999

Whereas in British English, we write

Friday 31 October 1999.

Once again, no comma is used. Sometimes, when writing the date we use some abbreviations to denote ordinal numbers. We use ordinal number when we talk about the date or a fraction of something. An ordinal number is, for instance, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and so on. You will have noticed that when we say a date out loud we use ordinal numbers:

The fourth of July (July, 4 or 4 July)

Abbreviations of those ordinal numbers are as follow:

First – 1st, Second – 2nd, Third – 3rd, Fourth – 4th, Fifth – 5th, and Sixth – 6th(and so on), so we would write 4th(of) July.

It is not strictly necessary to use ordinal abbreviations when we write the date, but some people prefer to write:

6th September instead of 6 September. It is usually a question of style. Often, you will need to write the date only in numbers. In this case it is very important to remember whether you are using American or British systems. For example in American English you would write:

Month, Day, Year: 10/03/2001(3 October 2001).

In British English, the numerical date is always written as Day, Month, Year: 03/10/2001.

Regardless of whether you choose to use British or American English, the most important thing is to be clear and consistent. Dates and times are very important pieces of information, so make sure you write them correctly, whether in letters or numbers.

KJ Hutchings is the owner of KJ Language Services, providing proofreading, editing and writing services to businesses and students, in particular those who use English as a second language.

Posted in english, time | Leave a comment

How to Select an Electronic Time Clock – A Time Clock Comparison

So you want to implement an electronic time clock system? How do you choose which type? Let me lay this out for you clearly and concisely so you can do a proper comparison.

First of all, there are 4 types:

  1. Keypad entry
  2. Card Swipe / Bar Code Swipe
  3. Fingerprint
  4. Biometric

Keypad Entry

Keypad entry units are usually the most economical. The employee is assigned a code that he or she must key into the time clock. This code, or pin number, is usually the same number (other than social security number) that identifies the employee. We would typically use the ADP file number for this if they were using ADP payroll service. And the same scheme applies to whatever payroll system/service the client is using.

The advantage of the keypad entry is that no badge needs to be issued. You will save a lot of money on badges. Plus, badges can get lost. Another advantage is that you don’t need to purchase a badge reader, so it will be cheaper.

The disadvantage is that any employee can punch in for any other employee. A practice known as “buddy punching”. You can deter this (not prevent it) by placing a video camera by the unit (or one that looks like a video camera with a blinking red light).

Some keypad entry units have a verification feature. In other words, the employee keys in the id number and the employee name displays. This also ensures that the id keyed in is a valid number. You want to make sure your unit does this. The last thing you want when you are completing payroll is to chase down a bunch of invalid entries caused by employee’s keying in erroneous numbers.

Card Swipe / Bar Code Swipe

A card swipe unit has a badge reader and you clock in and out much like making a purchase at your local grocery store. There are two types: 1) magnetic card and 2) bar code. The magnetic cards come pre-numbered and essentially you assign a badge number to each employee in the time and attendance software. If an employee loses a badge, you just grab the next one available and assign it to the employee. The bar code badges work the same, except that you can also purchase a bar code badge machine and add the employee’s picture, home department, if lost or stolen info, etc.

When the employee swipes in at the unit, you want a unit that then displays the employee’s name. Otherwise, there’s nothing really to prevent employee’s from swiping in for each other. Believe it or not, most providers do not display the employee’s name, so be sure to ask.


Fingerprint units completely eliminate buddy punching by ensuring the employee who is clocking in, really is that employee. The employee essentially placing his or her finger on the time clock and the employee is clocked in. The only disadvantage of the fingerprint unit is that is does NOT work in an industrial environment. That is, an environment where there is excessive dirt or grease on the employee’s finger. This dirt or grease causes the fingerprint read to be distorted.


Biometric units also uniquely identify the employee by using hand recognition. They are the best solution when it comes to preventing buddy punching because they work in all environments, clean or dirty. The downside is that they are also the most expensive.

Summary of Time Clock Comparison

In summary, if you are on a budget, go with the keypad time clock, but make sure the time clock validates the employee pin number at the time clock and the employee name displays. If you are in a clean environment, the fingerprint time works great to eliminate buddy punching. In a warehouse environment, the biometric time clock works the best, but also has the highest price.

Tony Faulk is an timekeeping and payroll expert with over 20 years of experience and is the Vice President of Product Development for, a leading provider of fully integrated time clock (keypad, card swipe, fingerprint and biometric), time & attendance software and payroll solutions. Tony Faulk can be reached at 877-459-TIME.

Posted in electronic, time, timekeeping | Leave a comment

Five Time Management Tips for Reducing Stress

Many people experience increased stress due to having more tasks to accomplish than they can handle. Just the pressure of such a workload can increase stress. One way to lessen this high level of health jeopardizing stress is to take charge of your work load and your life to put things in perspective. Implementing the tips below can have the added benefit of actually getting more done!

1. Identify how your time is currently spent. Keep a journal for a few days or a week to see what type of tasks you do, how much time they take and to identify activities that take up too much time or ones that are non-productive.

2. Set goals and prioritize. Decide what is really important and what needs to be done NOW. Always ask yourself if what you are doing is getting you closer to your goal.

3. Keep a calendar handy and make a habit of using it. Write down your appointments and other important obligations. We are all guilty of overlooking or forgetting things because we didn’t write them down thinking there is no way we would forget.

4. Avoid distractions. Set yourself up for success by avoiding the activities you identified that were taking up too much time. It is OK to still do them, just be sure you monitor how much time you spend. You might start by scheduling it in so you know you will get a chance to watch your favorite show for example, and not end up wasting the entire evening.

5. Break tasks up into smaller steps. Start small and build yourself and your time management skills up in a positive way. Every step you accomplish is a reason for celebration, and by having parts of a larger task done ahead of time you will find the last minute rush to completion is much easier and less stressful.

And you can get a free mini course on 5 tips to a healthy lifestyle at, where Mary Ann MacKay shares her research promoting healthy living through nutrition, diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Posted in time | 1 Comment

Time Zone Mess – How to Be Always in Time

“Do you know what time it is?” “Sorry, I’m calling you from the States and it’s day time here.” Those are the classic words from our life, which have also become a major gag in the movies. That’s not very surprising because there are more then 240 countries in the world and each of them has it’s own time.

Unfortunately, it is often not enough to just memorize the time difference between you and the country of your friends, relatives or your business partners, who may be scattered all over the globe. Or you are simply planning a vacation trip and you have no idea what the local time is there. The thing is that the governments of different countries each have their own ways of deciding the offset from Greenwich Mean Time and they tend to change it.

The announcement made by Hugo Chavez – current president of Venezuela – in 2007 has started a great deal of discussions in the mass media world. Venezuela has created it’s own time zone by setting the clocks half an hour backwards, increasing the list of countries in which the time zones differ from Greenwich Mean Time by less then a whole number of hours.

In 2010, by the decree of the prime-minister of the Russian Federation, an optimization was made on the whole territory of Russia. The general number of time zones was cut down from eleven to nine. Two regions were united under one time zone, another two were put under Moscow time, and the time zone farthest from the capital was abolished.

Daylight saving also adds some confusion. Various countries have their daylight saving shifts on entirely different dates. For example, in 2010: Brazil was the first to enter the summer time on the 20th of February, the United Kingdom advanced their clocks on March 28th, in Mexico the daylight saving time started on 4th of April, while in Morocco it happened only on the 2nd of May. Even within a single country one can be easily confused. In the United States, Monterrey, they adjust their clocks on 4th of April, while the rest of the country is doing it on 14th of March. The back shifts are another cause to make you think twice.

One of the ways to always be on time without becoming an expert in time-keeping is to have a list on local time zones in the cities you need, but there’s a weak point. You will have to recalculate it every time according to your local time, so it’s not the best way. If you want to keep your list up to date, you can use one of the free online-services, which constantly refresh their information on time zones with all recent political decisions taken into account.

So, if you would like to call someone without getting that person on their feet in the middle of the night, you would just need to open the web-page with your list and check the needed city to find out it’s current local time. What could be easier than that?

Posted in local time, time, time zone | Comments Off