Using MLA Format

mla essay date format

Document Sources

Works cited quick guide.

Learn how to use the MLA format template.

Digital Citation Tool

Build citations with our interactive template.

In-Text Citations

Get help with in-text citations.

Endnotes and Footnotes

Read our guide about using notes in MLA style.

mla essay date format

Set Up Your Paper

Setting up a research paper.

Get our guidelines for setting up academic research papers.

Formatting Captions

Learn how to format captions.

Sample Papers

Read sample papers written in MLA style.

Annotated Bibliographies

Learn how to set up an annotated bibliography.

mla essay date format

Get Writing and Teaching Tips

Ask the mla.

Browse answers and ask MLA editors questions.

Writing Tips

Improve your writing with these suggestions.

Teaching Resources and Advice

Get teaching advice, lesson plans, and activities.

Test your knowledge with these fun quizzes.

Recent questions from Ask the MLA

How should i style academic degrees.

Spell out or abbreviate academic degrees in your prose: The requirements for the associate of arts degree have been updated on the department website. The… Read More

How do I refer to other parts of a work I’m writing or editing?

You may refer to another part of an essay by adding a parenthetical cross-reference in prose. (see “Findings,” below) A page number can be provided… Read More

Do I need to cite computer-aided design (CAD) software that I used to create a drawing or model?

If you use computer-aided design, or CAD, software to create a two-dimensional drawing, a three-dimensional model, or another type of visual output to be included… Read More

How do I cite a note in an e-book?

To cite a note in a work that does not have page numbers, indicate the chapter or other division where the note occurs, if applicable,… Read More

How do I indicate that material in a source I’m quoting has been redacted?

If a source you are quoting from includes names, words, or even entire passages that have been redacted—for legal reasons or to avoid offensive language,… Read More

How can I distinguish a born-digital photograph from an analog photograph in a works-cited-list entry?

You may distinguish a born-digital photograph from an analog photograph in a works-cited-list entry by giving the format of the photograph at the end of the entry. Read More

  • Proofreading Tips

A Quick Guide to Dates and Times in MLA Style

  • Feb 28, 2021
  • Academic Editing
  • Referencing and Citations

Share this article:

Among many other things, the MLA Handbook (8th edition) has advice on writing dates and times. But what do you need to know about dates and times to proofread academic writing?

In this post, we’ll explain the basics of dates and times in MLA style.

Dates in the Main Text

If an author uses a date in the main text of a document, MLA style suggests writing them out in full using either of the following formats:

  • Day-Month-Year (e.g. 12 April 2021)
  • Month-Day-Year (e.g. April 12, 2021)

The latter is most common in American English, while the former is used in other English-speaking countries. But MLA style offers a choice as long as one style is used consistently.

If your client does use the Month-Day-Year format mid-sentence, the MLA Handbook recommends using a comma after the year as well as before it:

July 18, 1848, is an important date in the history of cricket.

As a proofreader, then, you may need to keep an eye on how dates are punctuated.

Dates in an MLA Works Cited List

You client may also need to include dates for some sources in their works cited list (i.e. the reference list at the end of a document). The rules for dates here are a little different, though.

Most notably, dates in an MLA works cited list should be written in the Day-Month-Year format to minimise comma usage. This applies even if your client has used the Month-Day-Year format in the main text of their work. Nor does it matter which dialect your client is using.

MLA style also permits abbreviating months with more than four letters in the works cited list:

This can help keep entries in the works cited list clear and concise. From a proofreading perspective, you should also check that month abbreviations are used consistently.

Times in MLA Style

MLA style has less to say on times than dates, but it does have a few key principles:

  • Use either a twelve-hour or twenty-four-hour clock consistently.
  • When using a twelve-hour clock, include ‘a.m.’ or ‘p.m.’ for clarity. Make sure to leave a space between the time and ‘a.m.’ or ‘p.m.’ when these abbreviations are used.
  • Include time zone information when provided.

These rules apply both to times mentioned in the body of your client’s work and to times included in works cited list entries (e.g. the time of posting for a comment on a blog post).

Becoming A Proofreader

For more advice on proofreading, academic and otherwise, check out the full Becoming A Proofreader course. Sign up for a free trial today to find out more.

Related posts:

mla essay date format

Start your journey

Kickstart a flexible new career, time for a change.

Sign up for a Knowadays free trial – it’s your first step towards a new career.

Join the Conversation

mla essay date format

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. By continuing, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More

mla essay date format

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / How to Format the Publication Date in MLA 9

How to Format the Publication Date in MLA 9

Cite in MLA automatically using EasyBib’s citation generator.

Formatting the Publication Date in MLA 9

The publication date refers to the date that the source was made available. The formatting and placement of the date within the citation, as well as the amount of information included, varies based on the type of source being cited. When formatting sources with publication dates, keep the following in mind:

  • When there is more than one publication date, use the one that is most recent and/or most relevant to your research.
  • Include the date as it is shown on the source — for instance, use the season/year for a journal article or just the year for a book.
  • Online versions of articles sometimes display two dates: 1) the date the article was posted online and 2) the date that the printed version was published. If you used the online version, only include that date in your citation.
  • The MLA 9 Handbook recommends locating the publication date of books directly from the source rather than relying on online catalogs or book retailers, as their information may be incorrect.
  • For many online sources, you may also need to include the date that you accessed the source if the source has no publication date or the source is expected to change.
  • If you are including the publication month, months with names longer than four letters should be abbreviated to the first three letters.
  • Publication years are not included in the citations in prose (in-text citations) in MLA 9.

Book Publication Dates in MLA 9:

When citing a book in MLA 9, it is only necessary to include the publication year. This can be found on the book’s copyright page. If several years are listed, only include the most recent one. Additionally, if the copyright page includes both the month and year the book was published, you only need to include the year in your citation. When citing the e-book version of a book, you should use the publication year of the e-book version specifically, rather than the publication year of the original book.

Morgenstern, Erin. The Starless Sea. Doubleday, 2019 .

Journal Article Publication Dates in MLA 9:

Journal articles will often provide either a publication season (i.e., fall or spring) and year, or a publication day, month, and year (or sometimes both). If both types of dates are included, you should include the one that is most specific in your citation (which will usually be the day and/or month and year). The publication date for a journal article can usually be found on the title page of the journal, in the header or footer of the article, on the article’s cover page, or at the top of the webpage.

Butarbutar, Ranta, et al. “Analyzing of Puzzle Local Culture-Based in Teaching English for Young Learners.” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science , vol. 343, no. 1, Nov. 2019 , https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/343/1/012208.

Online Article Publication Dates in MLA 9:

Most online articles on news sites or other online publications will provide a full publication day, month, and year. You should include as much date information as is available.

Richtel, Matt. “Texting and Driving? Watch Out for the Textalyzer.” The New York Times, 27 Apr. 2016 , www.nytimes.com/2016/04/28/science/driving-texting-safety-textalyzer.html?smid=pl-share.

Website Publication Dates in MLA 9:

A general web page will often only have a publication year, which is usually found at the bottom of the webpage. However, if the month and/or day are also provided, you should include those as well. Webpages will also sometimes provide the date the page was last updated. In that case, you should provide the most recent date in your citation. Webpages may also provide no publication date, in which case you should instead provide the date that you accessed the webpage at the end of the citation. You should also provide the date you accessed the webpage (in addition to its publication date) if the information on the webpage is expected to change over time (for example, a page with statistics that are continually updated).

COVID Data Tracker . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 July 2022 , covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home. Accessed 20 July 2022 .

YouTube Video Publication Dates in MLA 9:

When citing a YouTube video, you should use the date that the video was uploaded as the publication date. This date should include the day, month, and year that the video was uploaded, and is usually found beneath the video.

“‘Ew!’ With Jennifer Lopez.” YouTube , uploaded by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, 1 7 Feb. 2016 , www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX1bQ1sGiIA.

Social Media Publication Dates in MLA 9:

When citing a social media post, the date the content was posted should be used as the publication date. This is usually found directly underneath or above the posted content. Since social media posts are sometimes edited or removed after being posted, you may want to include an access date as well (though this is optional).

National Park Service. Photo of a Western Osprey. Instagram , 20 June 2022 , www.instagram.com/p/CfDCb4vDHcE/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=. Accessed 20 July 2022 .

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

MLA Citation Examples

MLA Formatting

Writing Tools

Citation Generators

Other Citation Styles

Plagiarism Checker

Upload a paper to check for plagiarism against billions of sources and get advanced writing suggestions for clarity and style.

Get Started

  • Formatting Guides

MLA Format Date Guide: 9th Edition

MLA date format

Table of contents

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:  

  • day and month

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 essay date format

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 essay date format

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!

mla essay date format

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.  

emma_flores_1_9d18c31413.jpg

You may also like

emma_flores_1_9d18c31413.jpg

How to Write the Date in MLA Format

Have you been asked to write a paper in MLA format, and are you scrambling to find out how you should format dates in MLA? Students and others who have not worked with a style manual before may find this challenging, as can those who frequently work with different style manuals such as APA and simply need to check what MLA has to say about formatting dates.

This guide is here to lend a helping hand! Watch out, though — despite the fact that writing a date seems simple at first glance, there is a surprisingly large amount of information to get through.

What Is MLA?

The Modern Language Association of America is an influential professional association that exists to uphold and increase standards in studying and learning within the fields of language and literature. Its influential style manual — widely referred to as the MLA format or MLA style — has a long history. MLA format is widely used within the humanities, and has even been adopted within high schools.

The MLA Handbook , currently in its ninth edition (and published in the year 2021) is available for sale on the MLA website . If you would like to learn to learn to format your papers in MLA and cite in MLA, the MLA Handbook is available as a paperback for only $22, with electronic versions of the handbook being even cheaper.

Do you not have a copy of the MLA Handbook yet, and are you in a hurry? No problem. We’ll show you exactly how to write the date in MLA format!

How to Write the Date in MLA Format in the Body of an Essay

Writing Full Dates in MLA

Are you planning to write an entire date in the body of your essay? The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook specifies that it is acceptable to choose either a day-month-year format, or a month-day-year format. Writers have to, however, choose one or the other and remain consistent — switching between formats is not a valid choice.

That means that both of the following examples are consistent with MLA style:

  • 3 March 2022
  • March 3, 2022

Do not use ordinals — “March 3 rd ” or “the 3 rd of March” are not consistent with MLA format.

You will note that no commas are used in the day-month-year format in MLA style, while a comma is placed after the day when choosing a month-day-year format. We would encourage you to choose a month-day-year format for the simple reason that you may, occasionally, wish to place the date at the beginning of a sentence. Since MLA does not leave room for formats such as “On the third of March…”, you avoid the challenge involved in ensuring that your sentences never begin with dates. After all, sentences that start with “Three” and “3” are equally awkward in this context.

Referring to Decades in MLA

Are you only referring to a decade? MLA style allows you to write the decade out in letters, or to use numbers. For example:

  • The sixties (do not capitalize the decade!)

Once again, choose one of the two and stick with it. Do not use an apostrophe before the “s”, and do not drop the century by using an apostrophe in front of of it (as in “the ‘60s”), either.

Referring to Centuries in MLA Style

This one is easy — write the entire thing out, and do not capitalize anything unless it appears at the beginning of a sentence:

  • The eighteenth century
  • The twenty-first century

How to Write Date Ranges in MLA Style

You will sometimes have to refer not to a single date, decade, or century, but to an entire range. What is the correct way to do so in MLA format? That depends on the nature of the range.

A range that spans across different centuries should include both full years, separated by a hyphen and no spaces. For instance, if you wanted to refer to the entire Victorian Era, you would say “1837-1901” in MLA format.

If you referring to a date range within the same century, you should drop the first two digits in the second year. If you were talking about the Second World War, for example, you can say “1940-45” in MLA format.

Is a date range still unfolding? You may talk about the COVID-19 pandemic (2019- ) in MLA format, listing the first year, placing a hyphen, and leaving a space to indicate that your range remains in progress.

How to Write a Date in MLA Format When You Don’t Know the Date

Maybe you’re talking about fossilized remains or archaeological findings. Maybe you are referring to a book with no known publication date. Sometimes, you just have to make do. In MLA format, you can refer to the “early nineteenth century”.

How to Write the Date in Your Works Cited Page in MLA Style

We have already covered a lot of ground — but wait, you’re not done yet. MLA style heavily relies on Works Cited pages, and always requires you to include a publication date for the sources you cite, as well. Brevity is important in the Works Cited page, so you will have to use a different format.

The level of detail you should include depends on the nature of the work you are citing in MLA format, so let’s examine that first.

Only include the year of publication if you are citing:

  • An entire book
  • A book chapter
  • A TV show episode
  • A song or an entire album

In MLA, the publication year is placed right at the end — after the author, creator, or artist, after the title, and after the publisher or distributor.

Here is an example:

Ariely, Dan. Predictably Irrational : the Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. New York :Harper Perennial, 2010.

Include the month and the year if you are citing a journal article or, if the journal in question uses that format, include the season and the year instead.

For example:

Kinney, David A. “From” headbangers” to” hippies”: delineating adolescents’ active attempts to form an alternative peer culture.” New directions for child and adolescent development 84 (1999) : 21-35.

Include the full date — the month, day, and year — when citing sources such as:

  • Web pages and similar online materials, such as videos and podcasts
  • Newspaper articles
  • Artistic performances

In this case, all months that contain five letters or more are abbreviated to conserve space, using their first three letters:

  • January becomes Jan.
  • February becomes Feb.
  • March becomes Mar.
  • April becomes Apr.
  • May is not abbreviated, since it only contains three letters. The same holds true for June and July, as they only have four letters each.
  • August is abbreviated to Aug.
  • September is abbreviated to Sep.
  • October is abbreviated to Oct.
  • November becomes Nov.
  • December becomes Dec.

Note that MLA style always uses a month-day-year format for citations located within the Works Cited page.

If you have reason to believe that any content you have accessed online is reasonably likely to be subject to change, you may include the exact time at which you accessed the source , as well. In MLA, the most common uses of this would be forum posts, and social media posts, such as comments left within the comments section of a newspaper or YouTube video.

To name an example, that would look something like this:

www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/animals-and-us/202203/can-bereaved-pet-owners-suffer-prolonged-grief-disorder. Accessed 3 Mar. 2022.

Citing Sources with an Unknown Date

To include sources with an unknown or approximated date in your Works Cited page in MLA format, you have to take a slightly different approach.

Where a date has been estimated, but not confirmed, use a question mark to denote this — “1844?”. If there is no date at all, then use the abbreviation “n.d.” (no date) to indicate this.

Additional Tips for Writing Dates in MLA Format

Are you still with us? We warned you that this guide on writing dates in MLA format would be unusually beefy, and if you are having trouble parsing this text, wait until you get your hands on the actual MLA Handbook!

While learning to write dates in the body of your text is fairly straightforward, citing sources in MLA style might perpetually remain confusing because different types of sources are cited differently and each provide a different level of detail. You’d be forgiven for forgetting what to do on a regular basis!

Thankfully, there is a shortcut. Simply head over to Google and search “MLA citation generator” or “cite this in MLA”, and an abundance of tools will come to your rescue.

Cite This and Cite This for Me are just two examples. These tools are not foolproof, and you will have to check that the format is correct manually, but they can absolutely save you some valuable time.

Why Is Proper Formatting Important?

If you have been instructed to use MLA throughout your work as a student, it is important to do so simply because you will lose points if you slip up. Academics add credibility to their work by showing complete mastering over a style manual, meanwhile.

More broadly speaking, the MLA format ensures consistency, which in turn makes research papers easier to read, easier to fact-check, and easier to interpret. Just like MLA’s mission statement indicates, MLA style strengths learning and teaching alike.

Related posts:

  • Someone Walked Over My Grave – Meaning and Origin
  • Go Pound Sand – Meaning, Usage and Origin
  • How To Write A Movie Title In An Essay
  • The Year of Our Lord – Meaning, Origin and Usage
  • How to Write a Letter to an Inmate
  • How to Write a Letter to the President of the United States

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Generate accurate MLA citations for free

  • Knowledge Base
  • How to format your MLA Works Cited page

MLA Works Cited | 2021 Guidelines & Free Template

Published on June 7, 2021 by Shona McCombes . Revised on June 16, 2022.

In MLA style , the list of Works Cited (also known as a reference list or bibliography) appears at the end of your paper. It gives full details of every source that you cited in an MLA in-text citation .

Like the rest of an MLA format paper, the Works Cited should be left-aligned and double-spaced with 1-inch margins.

Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

Table of contents, formatting the works cited page, examples of works cited entries, authors and titles in the works cited list, ordering the list of works cited, frequently asked questions about the works cited.

The Works Cited appears at the end of your paper. The layout is similar to the rest of an MLA format paper :

  • Title the page Works Cited, centered and in plain text (no italics, bold, or underline).
  • Alphabetize the entries by the author’s last name.
  • Use left alignment and double line spacing (no extra space between entries).
  • Use a hanging indent on entries that run over onto additional lines.
  • Include a header with your last name and the page number in the top right corner.

Creating a hanging indent

If an entry is more than one line long, each line after the first must be indented 0.5 inches. This is called a hanging indent, and it helps the reader see where one entry ends and the next begins.

In Microsoft Word, you can create a hanging indent on all entries at once.

  • Highlight the whole list and right click to open the Paragraph options.
  • Under Indentation  > Special , choose Hanging from the drop-down menu.
  • Set the indent to 0.5 inches or 1.27cm.

If you’re using Google Docs, the steps are slightly different.

  • Highlight the whole list and click on Format > Align and indent > Indentation options .
  • Under Special indent , choose Hanging from the dropdown menu.

You can also use our free template to create your Works Cited page in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

Download Word template Copy Google Docs template

Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services

Discover proofreading & editing

MLA provides nine core elements that you can use to build a reference for any source. Mouse over the example below to see how they work.

Author. “Title of the Source.” Title of the Container , Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location.

You only include the elements that are relevant to the type of source you’re citing.

Use the interactive tool to see different versions of an MLA Works Cited entry.

Examples for common source types

The main elements of a book citation are the author, title (italicized), publisher, and year.

  • Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye . Vintage International, 2007.

If there are other contributors (such as editors or translators), or if you consulted a particular volume or edition of a book, these elements should also be included in the citation.

Book chapter

If a book is a collection of chapters by different authors, you should cite the author and title of the specific work. The container gives details of the book, and the location is the page range on which the chapter appears.

  • Andrews, Kehinde. “The Challenge for Black Studies in the Neoliberal University.”   Decolonising the University , edited by Gurminder K. Bhambra et al., Pluto Press, 2018, pp. 149–144.

This format also applies to works collected in anthologies (such as poems , plays , or stories ).

Journal article

Journals usually have volume and issue numbers, but no publisher is required. If you accessed the article through a database, this is included as a second container. The DOI provides a stable link to the article.

  • Salenius, Sirpa. “Marginalized Identities and Spaces: James Baldwin’s Harlem, New York.” Journal of Black Studies , vol. 48, no. 8, Jul. 2016, pp. 883–902. Sage Journals , https://doi.org/10.1177/0021934716658862.

If there is no DOI, look for a stable URL or permalink instead. Omit the “https://” prefix if using a URL or permalink, but always include it with a DOI.

For websites (including online newspapers and magazines), you usually don’t have to include a publisher. The URL is included, with the “https://” prefix removed. If a web page has no publication date , add an access date instead.

  • Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “The Case for Reparations.” The Atlantic , Jun. 2014, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/.

If a web page has no publication date, add an access date instead.

More MLA citation examples

We also have examples for a wide range of other source types.

Play | Poem | Short story |  Movie | YouTube video | Newspaper | Interview | Lecture | PowerPoint Image | Song | Podcast | TV show | PDF | TED Talk | Bible | Shakespeare | Constitution

There are a few important formatting rules when writing author names and titles in your Works Cited entries.

Author names

Author names are inverted in the Works Cited list. However, when a second author is listed, their name is not inverted. When a source has three or more authors, only the first author is listed, followed by “ et al. ” (Latin for “and others”). A corporate author may sometimes be listed instead of an individual.

  • Smith, John.
  • Smith, John, and David Jones.
  • Smith, John, et al.

When no author is listed for a source, the Works Cited entry instead begins with the source title. The in-text citation should always match the first element of the Works Cited entry, so in these cases, it begins with the title (shortened if necessary) instead of the author’s last name.

Oxford Classical Dictionary . 4th ed., Oxford UP, 2012.

( Oxford Classical Dictionary )

Source and container titles

The titles of sources and containers are always written in title case (all major words capitalized).

Sources that are part of a larger work (e.g. a chapter in a book, an article in a periodical, a page on a website) are enclosed in quotation marks. The titles of self-contained sources (e.g. a book, a movie, a periodical, a website) are instead italicized. A title in the container position is always italicized.

If a source has no title, provide a description of the source instead. Only the first word of this description is capitalized, and no italics or quotation marks are used.

  • Kafka, Franz. “The Metamorphosis.”   The Metamorphosis and Other Stories , . . .
  • Eliot, George.  Middlemarch . . . .
  • Mackintosh, Charles Rennie. Chair of stained oak . . . .

Arrange the entries in your Works Cited list alphabetically by the author’s last name. See here for information on formatting annotations in an MLA annotated bibliography.

Multiple sources by the same author(s)

If your Works Cited list includes more than one work by a particular author, arrange these sources alphabetically by title. In place of the author element, write three em dashes for each source listed after the first.

The same applies to works by the same group of authors; replace the author element with three em dashes for subsequent sources.

Note, however, that two sources by “Smith, John, et al.” aren’t necessarily by the exact same authors; the authors represented by “et al.” could be different. Only use the three em dashes if the group of authors is exactly the same in each case; otherwise, repeat the author name and “et al.”

One author in combination with different coauthors

Sometimes, multiple entries will start with the same author, but in combination with different coauthors. Works by the author alone should come first, then works by two authors, and finally works by three or more authors (i.e., entries containing “et al.”).

Within this, sources with two authors are alphabetized by the second author’s last name , while sources using “et al.” are instead alphabetized by the title of the source.

Sources with no author

If there is no author, alphabetize the source based on the title of the work. Ignore articles ( the, a , and an ) for the purposes of alphabetization. If a title begins with a number, alphabetize it as you would if the number was spelled out.

What can proofreading do for your paper?

Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words, and awkward phrasing.

mla essay date format

See editing example

The MLA Works Cited lists every source that you cited in your paper. Each entry contains the author , title , and publication details of the source.

According to MLA format guidelines, the Works Cited page(s) should look like this:

  • Running head containing your surname and the page number.
  • The title, Works Cited, centered and in plain text.
  • List of sources alphabetized by the author’s surname.
  • Left-aligned.
  • Double-spaced.
  • 1-inch margins.
  • Hanging indent applied to all entries.

To apply a hanging indent to your reference list or Works Cited list in Word or Google Docs, follow the steps below.

Microsoft Word:

  • Under Indentation > Special , choose Hanging from the dropdown menu.

Google Docs:

  • Highlight the whole list and click on Format >  Align and indent >  Indentation options .
  • Under  Special indent , choose Hanging from the dropdown menu.

When the hanging indent is applied, for each reference, every line except the first is indented. This helps the reader see where one entry ends and the next begins.

A standard MLA Works Cited entry  is structured as follows:

Only include information that is available for and relevant to your source.

If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.

Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns , verbs, adjectives , adverbs , and some conjunctions ) are capitalized.

This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .

The fastest and most accurate way to create MLA citations is by using Scribbr’s MLA Citation Generator .

Search by book title, page URL, or journal DOI to automatically generate flawless citations, or cite manually using the simple citation forms.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2022, June 16). MLA Works Cited | 2021 Guidelines & Free Template. Scribbr. Retrieved August 30, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/works-cited/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, a complete guide to mla in-text citations, how to cite a book in mla, how to cite a website in mla, what is your plagiarism score.

  • EXPLORE Coupons Tech Help Pro Random Article About Us Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • This Or That Game New
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • H&M Coupons
  • Hotwire Promo Codes
  • StubHub Discount Codes
  • Ashley Furniture Coupons
  • Blue Nile Promo Codes
  • NordVPN Coupons
  • Samsung Promo Codes
  • Chewy Promo Codes
  • Ulta Coupons
  • Vistaprint Promo Codes
  • Shutterfly Promo Codes
  • DoorDash Promo Codes
  • Office Depot Coupons
  • adidas Promo Codes
  • Home Depot Coupons
  • DSW Coupons
  • Bed Bath and Beyond Coupons
  • Lowe's Coupons
  • Surfshark Coupons
  • Nordstrom Coupons
  • Walmart Promo Codes
  • Dick's Sporting Goods Coupons
  • Fanatics Coupons
  • Edible Arrangements Coupons
  • eBay Coupons
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Education and Communications
  • College University and Postgraduate
  • Academic Writing
  • MLA Style Manual

How to Write a Paper for School in MLA Format

Last Updated: April 7, 2023

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 14 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 200,211 times. Learn more...

MLA Format is commonly required of middle school, high school and college students. It is a very professional way to format a paper, and, even if not required, is a nice, scholarly touch. MLA Format can easily be used in many word processing systems, but this article covers what specific labels and tabs can be used in Microsoft Works (most versions are the same as far as MLA formatting is concerned).

Image titled Write a Paper for School in MLA Format Step 1

  • If you are in middle school, you are probably somewhat new to MLA format, but you should be able to figure this out by clicking on such tabs as "view," "format," "layout," or simply the ruler at the top of the document, if you have that feature enabled.

Image titled Write a Paper for School in MLA Format Step 3

  • On older versions of Microsoft Word, you may not have to change the font or size, as Times New Roman 12-point is often the default for 2003 or older.
  • On newer versions, the defaults are different. In 2005, the default size is 11. On 2007, the default is Calibri 11. Always check the settings.

Image titled Write a Paper for School in MLA Format Step 4

  • The header should be justified to the far right. Type your last name and then add page numbers to the header. You may now escape from your header.
  • It is no longer necessary to put page numbers on the bottom, where they often interfere with text.

Image titled Write a Paper for School in MLA Format Step 6

  • Your full name (first and last, don't use nicknames)
  • Your teacher's name
  • Your subject and class, and possibly also grade, as needed (period 1, the name of the class with your class color if the teacher color codes their classes, etc.)
  • The date is most commonly written in the day, month, year format.
  • English, Blue
  • 11 November 2011

Image titled Write a Paper for School in MLA Format Step 7

  • Novels, movies, television shows, plays or other major works should be italicized with the first letter capitalized.
  • Poems, short stories, episodes of television shows, periodicals or other lesser works should be in "quotations" with the first letter capitalized.

Image titled Write a Paper for School in MLA Format Step 9

  • Introduce it. Say something like, "As the author admits..." to literally introduce another person's words into your writing.
  • Then document it. The author's last name and page number should be in parentheses, without punctuation between the two.
  • Finally, analyze it. Why is it important to your point? How does it prove what you want to say? What information can you draw from it?

Image titled Write a Paper for School in MLA Format Step 10

Community Q&A

Community Answer

You Might Also Like

Write a Research Paper

  • ↑ https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wm-englishcomposition1/chapter/text-mla-document-formatting/
  • ↑ https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/writing-a-bibliography-mla-format
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_general_format.html
  • ↑ https://irsc.libguides.com/mla/paperformatting

About This Article

  • Send fan mail to authors

Did this article help you?

mla essay date format

Featured Articles

Prepare for Chemotherapy

Trending Articles

How to Delete the Cache in YouTube: Desktop & Mobile App

Watch Articles

Make Crispy Cookies

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

Don’t miss out! Sign up for

wikiHow’s newsletter

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

MLA Sample Paper

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

Media File: MLA Sample Paper

This resource is enhanced by an Acrobat PDF file. Download the free Acrobat Reader

This resource contains a sample MLA paper that adheres to the 2016 updates. To download the MLA sample paper, click this link .

IMAGES

  1. Mr. JB's Literature Class: Proper MLA Format

    mla essay date format

  2. 🎉 Mla date. MLA Format Citation Generator & Guide. 2019-02-18

    mla essay date format

  3. 😍 Mla date. How to Spell out Dates in MLA. 2019-01-31

    mla essay date format

  4. How To Write The Date In Mla Format

    mla essay date format

  5. 😀 Mla format dates in text. How to Cite a Source With Multiple

    mla essay date format

  6. How do I set up a paper with MLA formatting?

    mla essay date format

VIDEO

  1. 6 + MLA format🤡 #shorts

  2. Mastering the MLA Works Cited Page

  3. MLA GENERAL FORMAT

  4. ਹਲਕਾ ਖੇਮਕਰਨ ਤੋਂ ਸਾਬਕਾ ਵਿਧਾਇਕ ਵਿਰਸਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਵਲਟੋਹਾ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਪ੍ਰੈਸ ਕਾਨਫਰੰਸ ਸ਼ੁਰੂ

  5. MLA In Text Citation Format in 3 Minutes

  6. Mastering MLA: Citing Lectures and Presentations with Ease

COMMENTS

  1. MLA Date Format

    MLA Date Format | Dates in the Works Cited & Main Text Published on July 7, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on November 15, 2021. In MLA Works Cited entries, publication dates are presented in day-month-year order. If the name of the month has five or more letters, abbreviate it to the first three.

  2. General Format

    General Guidelines Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper. Double-space the text of your paper and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are each distinct from one another.

  3. MLA Format

    MLA format for academic papers and essays MLA Format | Complete Guidelines & Free Template Published on December 11, 2019 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on June 16, 2022 by Jack Caulfield. The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for creating MLA citations and formatting academic papers.

  4. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location. Each element should be followed by the corresponding punctuation mark shown above. Earlier editions of the handbook included the place of publication and required different punctuation (such as journal editions in parentheses and colons after issue numbers) depending on the type of source.

  5. What date should I give in the header of my paper ...

    What date should I give in the header of my paper—the date I started the paper, the date I finished it, or the due date? Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.

  6. How are dates formatted in MLA style?

    How are dates formatted in MLA style? In your MLA Works Cited list, dates are always written in day-month-year order, with the month abbreviated if it's five or more letters long, e.g. 5 Mar. 2018. In the main text, 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. MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here

    Formatting the Header in MLA. To create a header for your first page, follow these steps: Begin one inch from the top of the first page and flush with the left margin. Type your name, your instructor's name, the course name and number, and the date on separate lines, using double spaces between each.

  8. Creating an MLA Header

    Revised on August 2, 2021. The first page of your MLA format paper starts with a four-line left-aligned header containing: Your full name Your instructor's name The course name and number The date of submission After the header, the title of the paper is centred on a new line, in title case.

  9. Student's Guide to MLA Style (2021)

    Publication date. When available, always include the publication year. If you also know the month, day, or even time of publication, you can include this if it helps the reader to locate the source. ... MLA format for academic papers and essays Apply MLA format to your title page, header, and Works Cited page with our 3-minute video, template ...

  10. MLA 9th Edition Changes

    MLA Formatting and Style Guide MLA 9th Edition Changes MLA 9th Edition Changes MLA Ninth Edition: What's New and Different Note: This page reflects the latest version of the MLA Handbook (i.e., MLA 9), which released in April 2021. The equivalent resource for the older MLA 8 can be found here.

  11. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    The Basics General guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay Works Cited Page Resources on writing an MLA style works cited page, including citation formats Cite your source automatically in MLA Cite Using citation machines responsibly Powered by Basic Format

  12. PDF Formatting a Research Paper

    Text Formatting. Heading and Title. Running Head with Page Numbers. Placement of the List of Works Cited. Tables and Illustrations. Paper and Printing. Corrections and Insertions on Printouts. Binding a Printed Paper. Electronic Submission. fig. 1

  13. MLA Paper Format: Simple Guidelines to Follow

    To write a paper in MLA format, you need a running header with your last name and page number, 1-inch margins on all sides, indents when starting a new paragraph, and a readable font. You'll also cite your sources in-text and on your works cited page using MLA format citations.

  14. MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

    Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads. Oxford UP, 1967. In-text citations for print sources with known author For print sources like books, magazines, scholarly journal articles, and newspapers, provide a signal word or phrase (usually the author's last name) and a page number.

  15. Using MLA Format

    Get started with MLA style. Learn how to document sources, set up your paper, and improve your teaching and writing. Document Sources Works Cited Quick Guide Learn how to use the MLA format template. Digital Citation Tool Build citations with our interactive template. In-Text Citations Get help with in-text citations. Endnotes and Footnotes Read our …

  16. A Quick Guide to Dates and Times in MLA Style

    MLA style has less to say on times than dates, but it does have a few key principles: Use either a twelve-hour or twenty-four-hour clock consistently. When using a twelve-hour clock, include 'a.m.' or 'p.m.' for clarity. Make sure to leave a space between the time and 'a.m.' or 'p.m.' when these abbreviations are used.

  17. How to Format the Publication Date in MLA 9

    Book Publication Dates in MLA 9: When citing a book in MLA 9, it is only necessary to include the publication year. This can be found on the book's copyright page. If several years are listed, only include the most recent one. Additionally, if the copyright page includes both the month and year the book was published, you only need to include ...

  18. MLA Date 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.

  19. How to Write the Date in MLA Format

    How to Write the Date in MLA Format in the Body of an Essay Writing Full Dates in MLA Are you planning to write an entire date in the body of your essay? The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook specifies that it is acceptable to choose either a day-month-year format, or a month-day-year format.

  20. MLA Works Cited

    Like the rest of an MLA format paper, the Works Cited should be left-aligned and double-spaced with 1-inch margins. You can use the free Scribbr Citation Generator to create and manage your Works Cited list. Choose your source type and enter the URL, DOI or title to get started. Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

  21. How to Write a Paper for School in MLA Format: 10 Steps

    1. Open a new blank document. 2. Set the margins to one inch. If you are in middle school, you are probably somewhat new to MLA format, but you should be able to figure this out by clicking on such tabs as "view," "format," "layout," or simply the ruler at the top of the document, if you have that feature enabled. 3.

  22. Free MLA Citation Generator [Updated for 2023]

    Generate MLA format citations and create your works cited page accurately with our free MLA citation generator. Now fully compatible with MLA 8th and 9th Edition. ... The citations on a Works Cited page show the external sources that were used to write the main body of the academic paper, either directly as references and quotes, or indirectly ...

  23. MLA Sample Paper

    MLA General Format MLA Formatting and Style Guide; MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics; MLA Formatting Lists MLA Formatting Quotations; MLA Endnotes and Footnotes; MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format; MLA Works Cited Page: Books; MLA Works Cited Page: Periodicals; MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications) MLA Works Cited: Other Common ...