Dates and commas

  • Style guides differ on how to use commas with a month-day-year date (the American style) in the middle of a sentence, but the standard practice in U.S. publications is to place a comma after the day and another after the year—for example:


    The vote on March 7, 2010, began with a barrage of blasts in Baghdad and other cities and ended before nightfall. [New York Times]

    Iraq held elections on March 7, 2010, and agreed on a coalition on Nov. 11. [Wall Street Journal]

    In the month-year date format, no comma is needed—for example:

    Starting in February 2012, Geisinger Health System will not hire employees who test positive for nicotine. [Fox 43]

    He was fired in September 2009 after six straight defeats in the new season. [USA Today]

    British English


    In the British-style day-month-year format, no commas are used—for example:

    Between Monday 31 January and Sunday 6 February 2011 star gazers will be asked to count the number of stars they can see within the constellation of Orion. [The Guardian]

    The same is true of the month-year format—for example:

    Pre-tax profit for the full year ending September 2010 was around £500,000 and is forecast to triple in the current financial year. [Financial Times]


    1. But the examples (in the American style) are prepositional phrases and it makes more sense to use a comma anyway! What about “I attended the April 1, 2014, event.” Does it require a comma after the year?

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