1. JordansUKGirl
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    JordansUKGirl New Member

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    It's a date

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by JordansUKGirl, Feb 3, 2013.

    PLEASE HELP ME
    I am new to this site and I have scrolled through a few pages on this forum and can't find an answer to my question. So here goes:
    I am writing a biography and whilst it does not have a lot of dates in it - there are a few. So I was wondering what is the rule when writing dates in books. Should I write

    December tenth, nineteen ninety three
    or
    December 10th, 1993

    I have been doing it the first way, but as I am almost 10,000 words in - i thought I better check.

    I must be honest I mainly have to write the year and not the full date and when writing something like 1990/91 it just looks wrong in longhand.

    Oh dear!! I hope that you can make sense of my ramblings, I promise that my book is going to be a little more coherent :redface:

    Any help you can offer will be very greatly received. thank you for your time xx
    PLEASE HELP - THIS PROJECT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO ME AND I WANT TO GET IT RIGHT
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    where will these dates be written?... as headings?... in narrative?... in dialog?
     
  3. JordansUKGirl
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    JordansUKGirl New Member

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    they will be written in the narrative and very occassionaly in the dialog. Would love to know the answer please if you know as I am stumped :eek:
     
  4. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    I think in the dialogue you should write "December tenth, nineteen ninety three" and not December 10, 1993 or so. I am not 100% sure though, it has been a few years since i read about this stuff last :D
     
  5. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's in dialogue it's simple: you write what the person says, which means spelling it out.

    If it's in narration, I reckon you have a choice to make. If the narrator has a strong presence -- it feels as if there is an identifiable person telling the story -- then the narration is pretty much another level of dialogue, and dialogue rules apply. If the narration is more abstract then I would reckon you have the choice of writing the dates in the way that is going to be easiest for the reader, which might well be numerals and abbreviated month names. And if you're describing something written down then you describe it as written (but if somebody -- including the narrator -- is reading out what's written down then you are back with dialogue rules).
     
  6. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    My guess is that it is in the form of a diary or a recount, so dialogue rules should apply. It might be best if you could give us an extract or an example of your work so that we can tell for sure.
     
  7. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's a diary format then I'd go for what the diarist would have written, which is likely to be a short-form date.
     
  8. JordansUKGirl
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    JordansUKGirl New Member

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    Thank you all so much Xatron - good thought but it's not in the form of a diary I am afraid. It's a biography so I am the narrator with lots of quotes from the person I am writing about. I will post an excerpt soon to see if that helps solve the situation
    Once again thank you all. Much more help than my hubby who said: I don't know, go read a book!!!
     

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