The MONTH function in Google Sheets **is useful to return the value of the month from any given unit of time, in numeric format.**

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Although it is a simple date function, it can come handy if you are working with dates, but only care about the months. The `MONTH`

function helps you remove the excess parts of those dates.

Let’s take an example.

Say you have a list of students with their birthdays and want to know who has a birthday this month. You will need to extract the month from the birthday.

**So how do we do that?**

Simple. The `MONTH`

function just needs the date, and it will automatically return the value of the month in numeric format.

Let’s take a look at the anatomy of the `MONTH`

function, to help you understand how to use it in Google Sheets.

## The Anatomy of the MONTH Function

The syntax (the way we write) the `MONTH`

function is especially simple, and it is as follows:

=MONTH(date)

Let’s break this down to help you understand the syntax of the `MONTH`

function and what each of these terms means:

`=`

the equal sign is how we begin any function in Google Sheets.`MONTH()`

this is our function.`date`

is the unit of time from which to extract the month.

### ⚠️ A few notes you should know when writing your own MONTH function in Google Sheets:

- The
`MONTH`

function cannot read all human-readable dates. As the input value, you will have to use either a reference to a cell containing a date, a function which returns a date object such as`NOW`

,`TODAY`

or`DATE`

, or a date serial number of the type returned by the N function. - Be careful when using words in your dates, since the
`MONTH`

function might return the error**(#VALUE!)**. This happens if the date entered is not recognised as a number but as a text.

## A Real Example of Using the MONTH Function

Let’s take a look at different date values and how will the `MONTH`

function work with them.

The first two dates, in cells **A2** and **A3**, are quite simple. The first one is written using slashes, while the second one is written using dashes. As we can see in column **B**, the `MONTH`

function returned the value of the month in numeric format. However, in the next row, the `MONTH`

function returned the error **(#VALUE!)** because the input value (cell **A4**) is not recognised as a date by our function.

In the next two rows, we used the same date as in the cell **A2**, we had just added time (cells **A5** and **A6**). The `MONTH`

function is still able to return the value of the month.

Now, let’s take a look at the next four rows, and what happens if use letters to write the name of the month (cells **A7, A8, A9, A10**). Two of them are recognised as dates (cell **A7** and **A9**). Even though there is no year in the cell **A9**, the `MONTH`

function returned the value of the month. However, if we write only the month (cell **A10**), with no year and date, the `MONTH`

function will return the error** (#VALUE!)**. The same goes if we write the day as **’21st’** (cell **A8**) instead of **’21’**.

Date in the cell** A11** is entered with the `NOW`

function, while the date in the cell **A12** is entered with the `TODAY`

function. Both inputs are recognised as dates by the `MONTH`

function. Note that these two values will change, and once you make a copy of the example spreadsheet, they will look different than in the picture above.

### The ‘zero’ date

But what about the cell** A13**? This one is intriguing since there is no actual date but the `MONTH`

function did return the value of the month. How is that possible? Simple. When there is no date but only time, the `MONTH`

function will use the **‘zero’ date**, which is **12/30/1899**. The next row is similar. If the cell is blank (cell **A14**), the `MONTH`

function will use the **‘zero’ date**, as well.

If we input a random number into a cell (cell **A15**) and use the `MONTH`

function, the** ‘zero’ date** will be incremented by that number **(12/30/1899+1=12/31/1899)**. Even though we are not able to see that, if we input only a decimal with no whole numbers, the **‘zero’ date** will stay the same, only hours, minutes and seconds will be incremented.

To get to the present date, you should enter **44000** (cell **A17**). The `MONTH`

function will return** ‘6’** since the whole date (the **‘zero’ date** incremented by **44000**) is **06/18/2020**.

## How to Use the MONTH Function in Google Sheets

Let’s start writing our own `MONTH`

function in Google Sheets, so you can take a look at how it works and what should you pay attention to.

- First, click on a cell where you will write the
`MONTH`

function, to make it active. For this guide, I will use the cell**C2**.

- Type the equals sign
**‘=’**we use to begin any function, and start typing the name of the function, which is**‘MONTH’**. As you start typing, the auto-suggested box with the names of the functions that start with the same letters will pop-up. You can just continue typing or you can select the`MONTH`

function from the list.

- Enter the opening round bracket
**‘(‘**and input the date the`MONTH`

function will return the value of the month from. Since we have our date in column**B**, we will use the cell reference instead of typing the date into the`MONTH`

formula. Enter the**B2**and close the function with a closing round bracket**‘)’**or by pressing the**Enter**key on your keyboard.

- If you did everything right, the
`MONTH`

function will return**‘8’**. Now repeat these steps for all other students.

That’s it! You did it! Now you know who has a birthday in June and you have learned how to use the `MONTH`

function in Google Sheets. You can make a copy of the spreadsheet using the link below and try it for yourself:

You can also use the `MONTH`

function together with the **other Google Sheets formulas** to create even more effective formulas that will save you time and help with your data 🙂