Is it permitted to use B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini) when referring to dates or is it preferred to use B.C.E. (before common era) and C.E. (common era) instead?

My apologies if this is listed in the History Stack Exchange guidelines. I tried searching for any mention of it and couldn't find anything.

2 Answers 2


Use whichever you prefer. As long as a casual reader will be able to understand, it's all good.

  • 1
    Agreeing here. I have noticed in the past that people who prefer the Christianized versions do so much more publicly, but its been a long time since the last time I remember someone actually complaining about it.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Nov 26, 2015 at 16:26
  • 1
    @T.E.D. - I'm curious as to whether people (en masse) actually are aware that the former pair labels have Christian origins? I wouldn't be surprised if vast majority aren't.
    – DVK
    Feb 6, 2016 at 18:43

If Stack Exchange makes a stupid rule about pedantic stuff, feel free to break it.

  • 4
    "Stack Exchange" actually makes very few rules. The curators of the various SE sites (you and me and everyone else) make "rules" as we go. Just because you think some are stupid and pedantic doesn't mean others do, and if you truly believe that, then call us on it. Post in meta and let us discuss it. giving advice to simply 'break the "rules"' is a surefire way to get someone ostracized even worse than some may now feel they are.
    – CGCampbell
    Mar 4, 2016 at 13:57

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