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The basic answer is yes; the date can be in any case since the case is governed by the verb or expression around it. In the case of haben, the verb requires an accusative object, so it must be Wir haben den dritten Oktober. For sein, the verb requires two nominatives, so we need to use nominative: Heute ist der dritte Oktober. And of course, ...


For me as a native German speaker, I would say "Heute ist der dritte." as my first option. (See that I left the month part out since it is obvious most of the time that we know which month we have). This would probably the most common answer in spoken German language since pretty much every spoken language tries to abbreviate as much as possible. If ...


In German courses in school students are often required to write the date in the following form (most likely because it is the most verbose form) : Heute haben wir Montag, den dritten Oktober zweitausendsechs


Both Wir haben (heute) den dritten Oktober. and Es ist der dritte Oktober. / Heute ist der dritte Oktober. are common. There is no semantic difference between the two phrases.

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