Honestly? I would advise not bothering with wordpress and trying out Drupal. It's preferred by most good web developers, and allows you very precise control over those types of things with the minimal amount of php knowledge possible. In addition, it has a very large community, and lots of documentation and support.
I don't know about wordpress (it might be similar), but in drupal it would be easy to insert a simple print php statement in your node template (html) to print the date, somewhere along the lines of...
<?php print ($date) ?>
...because they already have most of the common variables PHP coded out for you in the back end.
If you are using neither, and you are just trying to straight up print the date using PHP, you can play around with this code...
// Prints something like January 24, 2005
echo date("F j, Y");
// Outputs something like Monday, February 17th, 2005
echo date("l, F jS, Y");
// Outputs date in format of 10/24/2005 for October 24th 2005