MLA heading question

According to the MLA manual (p. 117), the correct way for the date to appear in a heading is as follows: 30 December 2011. In Scrivener, it’s appearing as <$Fulldate>. Is there a preset code I can insert into the title page so a heading appears in the “30 December 2011” format? If not, how can I create one in the “day month year” format?


Have you looked at the ‘Placeholder Tags list’ in the Help menu? There are various date placeholders there.

I think you probably need <$longdate> (which is your system ‘long’ date setting from System Preferences), but there are other options, depending on whether you want the current date, the creation date, modification date and so on.



My mistake – $longdate is what currently appears in the MLA title; however, $longdate is in this format: December 30, 2011. I did look in the manual at “Table 23.5: Useful Header and Footer Tokens.”


Right - I take it you’re in the US, with your strange backwards dating systems :wink:

The system long date for me (in the UK) is 30 December 2011, so that’s what I see in the header for $longdate.

Could you try going to System Preferences > Language & Text > Formats and select the Customize button in the Dates section. You should be able to change the long format there (you can drag the tags to a different position and delete elements such as the comma). Does that make a difference?



Hi David,

I am. :smiley:

It’s interesting that Apple changed the meaning of $longdate in Britain. Is that the standard way you specify a date?

It does. It solved my problem. Thanks.



According to the Oxford Book of Style, 30 December 2011 is the only British English way of writing out the date in full. (I’ve just checked, as I didn’t know for sure…)

Glad it helped.


In most of Europe the standard way of formatting the date is day, month, year, whether it be short or long format. I well remember thirty years ago in Italy having an American colleague who had occasional difficulties remembering this, especially when presented with something like 5/6/84 (5 June, to a European). I believe (some?) Nordic countries use year, month, day, but I don’t know if this is standard practice or only occasional. No doubt a quick look on Wikipedia would give chapter and verse. I would guess that the Oxford Book of Style would concede that the date in long format would have to be turned to December 30 at the beginning of a sentence, unless one used “Thirtieth” to avoid the numeral.


The book’s upstairs and I’m not, but I can’t remember it mentioning the beginning of sentence case. I’ll check later. I suspect you’re right and a workaround is required. It does sanction December 30th (i.e. not 30) when no year is required.

Apparently the International Standards Organisation is pushing YYYY-MM-DD as the standard and the nordic countries have indeed adopted (or possibly, the other way round).


A very old — in both senses — friend of mine told me of a newphew of hers, English, who went to America to teach in a high school, somewhere in Arizona I think. At an appropriate point in the year he mentioned “the 14th of February” to a class … they had no idea what he was talking about until he reworded it.

As an Englishman living in China — where the majority of my foreign colleagues are American — I soon learned to use YYYY/MM/DD as the Chinese do. I have all my system dates set English fashion except for the all numbers system. And that also makes sense in computing for sorting purposes.

I have a Chinese friend who gave her son the English name Benedict — which she didn’t want originally as /ben/ in Chinese means “stupid” — as soon as I explained that it meant “blessed”. Why? Because he was born on 02/02/02, and no-one can misunderstand his birthdate!

So, on 2012/01/01, Happy New Year to anyone who reads this.


Mark – many thanks for the good wishes, and, as always, for the information. I wish you all the very best this first day of the month of January in the year of our Lord two thousand and twelve :smiley:


I’ve added it to the list to add <$day> and <$month> tags so that you could use “<$day> <$month> <$year>” instead of <$longdate> to work around this.

Thanks and all the best,

Thanks, Keith.