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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Dates and Time

The following rules for dates and times apply in running text. In promotional design as well as in tables, forms or graphs where space is extremely tight, short forms and figures may be used.

Formatting dates

Specific dates in running text:

Saturday, Sept. 19, 1998

For an all-numerical date format, use year-month-day, as recommended by the Government of Canada, the Standards Council of Canada and ISO 8601. This format is intended particularly for electronic formats that sort by date; all-numerical date formats should not be used in running text.


Abbreviating months

Abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when standing alone or with year alone.

December 2009
Convocation is on Oct. 16
August is a hot month 

Academic year

Indicate the academic year according to this format:


Centuries and decades

When writing about centuries, spell out the first nine centuries as words, and use digits for 10 and above.

the fifth century; the 19th century

Decades may be spelled out (as long as the century is clear) or expressed in numerals.

the nineties, the mid-1990s, the ’90s

When writing the names of decades in numerals, do not use an apostrophe before the plural “s.” An apostrophe precedes the shortened numerical form of the decade. See Plurals vs. Possessives: Plurals for letters, abbreviations and numbers.

Holy days and holidays

Use the word “holidays” to refer to statutory holidays and non-religious holidays. Use the term “holy days” to refer to dates marked by religious observances.


In TRU Style, hours are usually written numerically, with no zeros for times on the hour. The abbreviations a.m. and p.m. are in lower case with periods (see Abbreviations, Acronyms and Initialisms: Lower case). The periods may be left out for promotional materials such as posters not using running text.

Class ends at 5:30 p.m.
Convocation begins at 10 a.m. and ends at noon.
John teaches the eight-thirty lab.

Use noon and midnight rather than the (incorrect) forms 12 p.m. or 12 a.m., or 12 noon (the 12 is redundant).

Where necessary, time zones are given in parentheses.

9 a.m. (PST)


When writing dates without the year, do not use the ordinal form.

Feb. 15 (not Feb. 15th)

Ranges of dates

When writing about periods of time over years, write the numbers out using an en dash (a dash slightly longer than a hyphen) not a slash (except the academic year).

1985–1990 or 1985–87 (not ’85–’90)
2000–2001 (not 2000–’01 or 2000/2001) 

A range of times is written using the words “from” and “to” in text but with an en dash in tables.

The reception is scheduled from 8 to 11 p.m.
Reception, 8–11 p.m.

See also Punctuation and spelling: Dashes and hyphens.

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