july fourth or 4th grammar

Grammar Matters: Happy Fourth or 4th of July?

Our first grammar debate, one space vs. two spaces after a period, ruffled some feathers. It also sparked interesting debates in our comments and Facebook. So, we’re doing it again by introducing Grammar Matters, a series of posts dedicated to grammar.

Having journalistic and public relations standards hammered into my brain, I always adhere to the AP Stylebook. The AP Stylebook is the style and usage guide used by journalists and the news industry. Because blogging and social media are other means for communicating news or ideas, it makes sense to follow the same rules.

For Independence Day, there are a few simple rules to follow when you should write out numbers and when you should use numerals. The whole point of having these rules is to make a reader’s job easier.

1. Spell out single-digit whole numbers. Use numerals for numbers greater than nine.

  • Did you see Sue’s yard? She has over 20 flags hanging.
  • Keith drank four bottles of water to stay hydrated.

2. Ages are always written out as numerals for people and animals, but not inanimate objects.

  • He turned 50 years old yesterday.
  • Their baby is 2 years old.

3. Spell out ordinal numbers under 10th. Over 10th, you can use numerals.

  • It was his third birthday.
  • The couple celebrated their second anniversary.

As for this Friday? The federal holiday is Fourth of July, July Fourth or even July 4, but it’s NOT 4th of July. If you feel like it, you can also call it Independence Day.

Grammar Matters explores various grammar rules in the English language. If you have a grammar question, let me me know at c.hofmann@globalhma.com or find me on Twitter at @leen_machine.

1 Comment

  1. Did you have a good 4th of July?
    I like that because its in the AP Stylebook its fact. No explanation as to why this is the rule or what difference it makes. The PP Stylebook rules says its ALWAYS 4th of July. So I always go with that.

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