Year before subject

The company’s 2021 report, the 2012 Olympics, the 2017 Conference, the 1986 Displaced Persons Act… The year comes first if there’s no of or for or whatever in between.

Writers from the Netherlands tend to leave an unqualified year at the end, as they would in Dutch.

  • As an alternative to putting the year first, you can add whatever small word would actually be said (usually of, for or in)
  • Alternatively, where appropriate for the context, you can put the year in brackets

Not that spoken forms are always identical to the written forms (think of a date such as “30 March 1945”, for instance, or a recipe saying “6 oz. flour”). But those are special cases…

Prevalence: high. Common in scientific writing, business and financial writing and historical texts. But turns up all over the place.
Frequency: high. Liable to occur numerous times in the same text.
Native: sometimes. Particularly when someone’s translating in a hurry or not thinking about exactly what they’d say (forgetting that they’d put an “of” or other small word in when speaking).

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

4 thoughts on “Year before subject

  1. This is a more general Dutch thing, in fact, isn’t it, shoving words on the end of things in ways that need if nothing else, some punctuation (but more likely rearranging) in English? “Project component Buildings”, “Tower module Generator”, …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I suppose it’s an issue of mindset plus things that are inbuilt from you native language. A bit like the issue of noun stacks (q.v.) – except that they can get the noun stack correct and *still* leave the year at the end.

      Liked by 1 person

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