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MLA 9 Style Guide: Date

Updated for the 2021 9th edition

What It Is

MLA works cited entry core elements template with Date field highlightedThe Publication Date tells when the source was published or posted.

It might include any of these things.

  • year
  • month and day
  • season, such as fall or spring
  • time stamp
  • a range of dates or years

Where to Find It

Finding the publication depends on the format of your source. 

  • Web articles = look near the title or author
    • Web pages sometimes do not have dates or only a copyright date
  • Library databases (search tools) = look in the description at the top of the source
    • It doesn't matter if you are using a journal, newspaper, ebook, or video because the library tools will always place the date near the top of the entry
  • Journals
    • Print journals = look on the title page
    • ejournals = look near the title or download the PDF
  • Books
    • Print books = look on the back of the title page
    • eBooks = look at the main entry

How to Style It

Dates

MLA uses day-month-year format. Provide the most specific date you can find.

5 May 2022
18 Sep. 2021
29 Mar.-11 Apr. 2023

Month Abbreviations

  1. Abbreviate month names using three (3) letters followed by a period.
    1. Exceptions are May, June, and July which are not abbreviated and do not need a period.
  • January = Jan.
  • February = Feb.
  • March = Mar.
  • April = Apr.
  • May = May
  • June = June
  • July = July
  • August = Aug.
  • September = Sep.
  • October = Oct.
  • November = Nov.
  • December = Dec.

No Date

When no date is provided on the source, this element should be skipped.

Seasons

Spell out the name of a season without capitalizing it.

  • spring
  • summer
  • fall
  • winter

Examples

These examples show where the date element fits inside the bigger works cited entry:

Author. "Title of Source." Title of Container, version, number, Publisher, date, location. Second Container, location.
Greenblatt, Stephen. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, the Major Authors. 10th ed., vol. 1, Norton, 2018.
Goldberg, Shari L., and Mawn, Barbara E. “Predictors of Food Insecurity among Older Adults in the United States.” Public Health Nursing, vol. 32, no. 5, Sep.-Oct. 2015, pp. 397-407. Wiley Online Library, https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.proxy01.nwacc.edu/doi/10.1111/phn.12173. Accessed 10 Aug. 2021. 
“Starved: Our Food Insecurity Crisis.” YouTube, uploaded by WQED Pittsburgh, 5 Nov. 2020, youtu.be/IcZAiawGziM. Accessed 23 Aug. 2021. 
"Stress in Childhood." MedlinePlus, updated by Neil K. Kaneshiro, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 27 May 2020, medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002059.htm.

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