Formatting Guides

MLA Format Date Guide: 9th Edition

MLA date format
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If you're writing a publication about language, literature or other humanitarian fields, you'll probably have to use date in MLA format.

In the MLA style, the date format follows a specific pattern. For instance, in MLA date format, the day is written before the month using the day-month-year pattern. It does not include ordinal indicators (e.g., 1st, 2nd) for the day.  

At first sight, it may seem that there is nothing complex in its design. However, you should know certain details that can cause errors. Our article will help you understand how to format dates in MLA format and avoid typical mistakes! Alternatively, you can visit StudyCrumb to hire an essay writer online who will do all the job for you.

How to Write the Date in MLA Format: Crucial Details

How you write the date in MLA format depends on where you include it. It can be in the beginning, middle, or the end of any sentence. Sometimes, you may separate it from the text.

Dates can contain:  

  • year
  • day and month
  • timestamp
  • time range
  • season.

According to the new MLA Handbook edition, writing dates is not that difficult. Just don't cut them short and be consistent.  

  • First, choose a style.


  • In reference list use only day-month-year style.


  • Decades can be written in both letters and numbers.


  • Centuries must be spelled out in full words.


  • Access day (for online works) is indicated if you believe that online work will be changed or removed.


  • For time ranges later than 1000 CE, write both years unless the first two digits are identical. And to indicate ranges that are still ongoing, add a hyphen followed by a space.


  • If your source gives you only an approximate occasion, then write this data using full words.


  • If your source says that year is not determined, write it with a question mark.


  • Capitalize the first letter of month or day of week as shown in the sample below.


  • Pay attention that dates in your text should not be ordinal.


Be attentive to every kind of citation as there are a lot of nuances. Need MLA format citation? Choose an appropriate blog in our library and follow its guide. 

Date in MLA Format: Text vs. Reference

If you use the American “month-year” date for MLA format, the year should be written using 4 digits. No commas are needed if you decide to indicate only month and year. Month should go first at the beginning of your sentence. That’s why, try to rewrite it in a way that your day does not open your sentence. For example:

MLA Dates Format Example

There are slight differences between this reference and your text. Reduce month to three-four letters. Instead of text, just use a four-digit year number.

MLA Dates Format Example

Dates in MLA Format: Punctuation

When writing an MLA format date, you should use punctuation. But if you have no clue where to put commas, dashes or apostrophes, here is an easy hint from us!

Dates in MLA Format Punctuation Example

Make sure your paper is formatted according to the latest requirements. Don’t forget to create an MLA heading and include section headings to make your text organized.  

Bottom Line

Above, we tried to describe as many details and all current nuances about MLA date format. Hopefully, this guide was of great help! Should you have questions, contact our coursework writing service at StudyCrumb.


Don't forget that you can always order any type of work in any reference style from our online academic writers. Just let us know the details and we will match you with an academic expert who will handle any type of assignment.  

Article posted on:May 5, 2022
Article updated on:Jan 24, 2024


Leave your comment here:
6/24/2022 11:08 AM

I'm currently working on my research paper about literature and I should use date in MLA format. I wanted to ask Is there a comma in the date MLA? Thanks for your answer ahead.
6/24/2022 12:33 PM
Hi Valerie,

Actually, it depends on what date style you use in your paper.
If you use the month-day-year style, use a comma to set off the day. For example: The session started on September 4, 2018. She visited us on Saturday, November 3, at 2:00 p.m. We traveled around the world from May 3, 1965, to July 30, 1975.

Hope it helps!
7/6/2022 4:43 PM
Hi there! Can you please tell me how you write the date in a MLA heading?
7/6/2022 5:10 PM
Hi Jake,

Thanks for the interesting question! While in your reference list in MLA dates are always written in day-month-year order, in the main text and heading you're free to use either day-month-year or month-day-year order, as long as you use one or the other consistently.
7/6/2022 5:16 PM
Thank you for the answer!