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MLA Citation Style 9th Edition: Publication Date

Publication Date (Works Cited)

Publication date is the eighth core element. Whether the year, month and year, or complete date is cited depends on the information available, the type of source, and the use of the source. The element includes

  • date of composition for unpublished works (such as letters, email, memo, etc.),
  • date of revision if it is more relevant (such as updated/revision date of a social media post),
  • label "forthcoming",
  • date a source was viewed or heard firsthand (such as a presentation/performance/exhibit attended).
  • This element begins with a number (year or date) or a capital letter for the name of the month.
  • Full dates can be given in the day-month-year style only in the works cited list (example: 28 Jan 2021). You may use the month day year style (example: Jan 28, 2021) also in the body of the writing, but be consistent (MLA 2.138).
  • Use abbreviations for months with names longer than four letters: 
    • Jan.
    • Feb.
    • Mar.
    • Apr.
    • Aug.
    • Sept.
    • Oct.
    • Nov.
    • Dec.
  • If a season is given instead of a month, include the season in lower case (MLA 5.79):
    • spring 2020
  • If there are multiple dates available, give the date that is most relevant to your use of the source (MLA 5.68)
  • Give the date as shown or use what is most relevant to your use of the source. If the month, day, and year are given, use all three. If only the year is given, that is sufficient.
  • For online content, give the date the material was posted online, unless it was originally made available through another medium which is more relevant to your use of the source.(MLA 5.73)
  • If the publication date is obtained from other sources, put the information in square brackets, for example [1989] (MLA 5.122) If unsure of the accuracy of the information, add a question mark [1989?] (MLA 5.83).
  • This element ends with a comma, unless it is the final element in an entry.


DiYanni, Robert, editor. Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 6th ed., McGraw Hill, 2007.

Republished work:

Citation description:
Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title. Year of original publication. Current publisher, Year of republication.

Dickens, Charles. Tale of Two Cities. 1859. Bantam Books, 1981.

Journal, magazine, or newspaper article:

Dickman, Kylie. "Apocalypse in the Garden State." Rolling Stone, no. 1260, 5 May 2016, pp. 36-9.

Magazine article from a Web site:

Garber, Megan. "The Trump Campaign Just Became Literature." The Atlantic, 28 June 2016,

Television series episode:

"Something Nice Back Home." Lost, directed by Stephen Williams, performance by Matthew Fox, season 4, episode 10, Bad Robot, 2008.


"Something Nice Back Home." Lost, directed by Stephen Williams, performance by Matthew Fox, season 4, episode 10, American Broadcasting, 1 May 2008.

Online video:

"The H Bomb: Making up for Lost Time: Lost." YouTube, uploaded by ABC's Lost, 24 Nov. 2009,


Frank, Ann. Letter to Christiane van Maarsen. 28 Mar. 1942.


Part of  the information above is adapted from IRSC Libraries.