Writing and Saying Dates in Spanish – La fecha

¿Qué fecha es hoy? is a common way to ask for dates in Spanish. In this lesson, we will study the format for writing dates, and more importantly, how to use the vocabulary for months, days of the weeks and numbers to talk about dates in Spanish with other people. We have included some examples of conversations for you to practice listening, some useful tips to avoid common mistakes and interactive quizzes to practice this topic. Let’s start…

The format to write and ask for dates in Spanish

Writing dates  – Escribiendo fechas

In order to write dates in Spanish, the format [Day/Month/Year] will be used, which would be translated as [Día/Mes/Año]. Notice that unlike English, the day goes first in Spanish dates. It is important to know how to say the days of the week as well as the months of the year, so make sure to check those lessons if you have time. A date like [18/11/1988], can be easily rephrased as a sentence this way: “Dieciocho de noviembre de 1988″. As you can see, we will also need numbers.

The basic format to write dates in Spanish would be [Number + DE + MONTH + DE/DEL + YEAR]. After the year 2000, we will replace the preposition DE for DEL, like in the sentence: “Dieciocho de noviembre del 2013″.

How to say dates in Spanish - la fecha
La fecha en español

Asking for and saying dates – Preguntando y diciendo fechas

Some common ways to ask for dates in Spanish are: ¿Qué fecha es hoy? (what date is today?), ¿En qué fecha es…? (what date is…?) as in “¿En qué fecha es tu cumpleaños?”. This last question could be easily rephrased using the question ¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños? with the question word CUANDO. For the purpose of asking more politely, you may use the questions “¿Me puede decir la fecha por favor?” (Could you tell me the date please?) and “¿Usted sabe que fecha es hoy?” (Do you know what date is today?).

Now we know how to ask for a specific date, but how do we respond to any of these questions? In order to say dates in Spanish, we will use time expressions like “Hoy”(today) or “Mañana” (tomorrow), then add the verb SER in its form ES and finally the date, e.g. “Hoy es 20 de enero del 2016“. Listen to two examples of conversations with dates and check how the expressions and questions that we have covered so far could be used.

Example No. 1

  • Zack: Disculpa Irene ¿Qué fecha es hoy?
  • Irene: Hoy es 15 de marzo
  • Zack: Gracias. Soy bastante malo para las fechas
  • Irene: No te preocupes
Read English translation
Zack: Excuse me, Irene, what date is today?
Irene: Today is the 15th of March
Zack: Thanks. I am pretty bad to remember dates
Irene: Don’t worry

Example No. 2

  • Irene: ¿Tú sabes la fecha de la reunión Zack?
  • Zack: Si, la reunión es el 25 de mayo.
  • Irene: Vaya, yo pensé que era el 23.
  • Zack: Creo que ellos cambiaron la fecha un día de estos.
Read English translation
Irene: Do you know the date of the meeting?
Zack: Yes, the meeting is the 25th of May
Irene: Wow, I thought it was on the 23rd
Zack: I think they changed the date one of these days

Talking about past and future dates in Spanish

Past dates in Spanish – Fechas pasadas

When talking about past dates in Spanish, you will need to use SER in the past tense in its form FUE. It is also possible to use ERA (which is a form of SER too) but FUE is more appropriate. In addition, remember to include a time expression like “El lunes pasado…” or “La última reunión…” just like this: “El evento fue el quince de agosto”/ “El evento era el quince de agosto”.

Future dates in Spanish – Fechas futuras 

You can also use the verb SER as SERÁ to say future dates in Spanish, for example: “Mañana será 16 de Junio” and “El próximo viernes será  catorce de febrero”. There are also other ways to say dates, for example: “La fiesta fue planeada para el veinticinco de diciembre” (the party was planned for…), “La película estará disponible el 5 de junio” and so on. That being said, we still think that in most situations you can find a way to talk about dates using SER in three forms: ES, FUE and SERÁ.

Know that the definite article EL will be placed before a date, just the way the preposition ON is place in English for this purpose, for example: “La fiesta es EL 11 de octubre”. With this in mind, please listen to three more conversations with people talking about past and future dates in Spanish and see if you can discover any other interesting expression there.

Example No. 3

  • Irene: Hoy es mi aniversario de bodas.
  • Zack: ¿En serio? ¿En qué fecha te casaste?
  • Irene: Me casé el 8 de noviembre del 2010
  • Zack: ¡Felicidades entonces! Debe ser una fecha muy especial para ti
Read English translation
Irene: Today is my wedding anniversary
Zack: Really? What date did you get married?
Irene: I got married on November 8th 2010.
Zack: Congratulations then! It must be a very special date for you.

Example No. 4

  • Irene: ¿Qué fecha es mañana?
  • Zack: Mañana es 12 de junio Irene… Ha sido un buen mes ¿verdad?
  • Irene: Si, hemos avanzado bastante en la presentación. ¿Cuándo es el evento?
  • Zack: El evento será el primero de Julio.
Read English translation
Irene: What date is tomorrow?
Zack: Tomorrow is June 12th… It has been a good month, hasn’t it?
Irene: Yes, we have advanced a lot in the presentation, when is the event?
Zack: The event will be on July 1st

Example No. 5

  • Zack: ¿Te gusta la música de los 90?
  • Irene: Si, la música en 1998 era buena. La música es diferente en el 2013, pero también me gusta.
  • Zack: A mí me gusta la del año 2000
Read English translation
Zack: Do you like 90s music?
Irene: Yes, I do. The music of 1998 was good.
Music is different in 2013, but I like it too.
Zack: I like the one of 2000

Listening activity No. 1: Talking about dates in Spanish

Listen to a conversation between two friends talking about dates in Spanish in their workplace. Make sure to write down the information you consider important so you can solve the quiz about it. Press PLAY to start listening to the audio.

Key expressions in the conversation

1. No soy muy bueno para… means “I am not good at…”
2. Me parece buena idea means “It sounds like a good idea to me”
3. Lo tomaré en cuenta means “I will take it into account”

Read conversation script
Ariel: Disculpa Karen ¿Qué fecha es hoy?
Karen: Hoy es 14 de septiembre.
Ariel: Gracias. No soy muy bueno para recordar fechas. Por cierto, ¿Sabes cuándo es la presentación?
Karen: La presentación es al final de este mes. Es el 30 de septiembre. ¿Ya estás listo?
Ariel: No todavía. Yo voy a trabajar mucho en eso desde el 20 al 29 de septiembre.
Karen: Me parece buena idea. Yo puedo ayudarte un poco si quieres.
Ariel: Gracias Karen. Lo tomaré en cuenta. Tú siempre me ayudas mucho con las fechas… Te debo una.
Karen: No te preocupes

Listening Activity No. 2: What is the correct date?

We almost done with the lesson. Hopefully you have learned a lot so far. The last quiz below includes a few expressions and questions we covered in this lesson. Complete each conversation excerpt with the information provided in the recordings. Make sure to use the right format to write dates in Spanish and be careful with spelling. Click on PLAY to listen to the recordings. ¡Buena suerte!

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