Do people outside of the USA use two-part date abbreviations for the current year? For instance, representing the last day of May, you might see someone enter 5/31 into a date field.

Do international users do something similar? In a country that ordinarily uses dd/MM/yyyy would they use 31/5 or some such?

  • no real evidence for this, but my impression is that while it can happen, it is less common than in the USA – jk. Jun 2 '12 at 9:32
  • Extremely confusing format. I've seen ppl who though 9/11 attacks occurred on 9th of November... – vartec Jun 4 '12 at 13:36

Yes, there are different ways of entering a data in a short format. The CLDR chart on Md notations illustrates the variation. Many languages use d/M notation, but d.M, M-d, and other notations are used, too. The notations used in CLDR are explained in the LDML specification; “Md” stands for month and date notation consisting of shortest possible numeric notation for month, M, and day, d, with language-dependent punctuation and order.

The M/d vs. d/M case is particularly problematic, because both notations are used in English, as well as in other languages.

Data consisting of two numbers separated by a slash should be accepted on input only if you can be sure to know which of the two different notations M/d and d/M is meant. When can you be sure of such things? Just giving people instructions doesn’t guarantee anything. Calendar widgets for input have their problems, but at least they avoid the confusion between 4/7 and 7/4.

  • I've actually encountered where the load-balanced machines running with different cultures. The date would actually evaluate differently depending on which server happened to take the request (unless you used an ISO standard date). – Brian Jun 4 '12 at 21:59

There is a good map here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_format_by_country that shows only really the States uses (and Belize!) Middle-Endian MM/DD/YYYY date format, most use Little-Endian DD/MM/YYYY and some use Big Endian (mostly Asian) YYYY-MM-DD. Philipines uses both Little and Middle due to American influence, as does Saudi Arabia - must get very confusing there!


The simple answer is yes. It is extremely annoying trying to sort information with a mix of dates formats

Consider using ISO 8601 date formats when printing dates and times. When inputting free form dates clearly indicate the convention you are expecting. Depending on convention 1/12/2012 could be early or late in the year.


From my experience, I can testify that this is common practice at least in Germany (31. 5. or 31. 05.) and the Netherlands (31-5, 31-05). Additionally, both countries regularly use 05/12 (sometimes 05/'12) to mean "May 2012".

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