Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Setting off in commas states (after cities) and years (after dates)

Not sure why, but many college students have trouble setting off states (after cities) and years (after dates) in commas , as in -- Boston, Massachusetts, is the cradle of liberty. And, Tracy applied for the job on April 13, 1993, and accepted it on Monday, May 24, 1993.

This falls in a note under the sacred of Harbrace section 12d, which states:

Commas set off nonrestrictive and other parenthetical elements as well as constrasted elements, items in dates, and so on.

Nonrestrictive clauses or phrases give nonessential information about a noun or pronoun. They can be omitted without changing the meaning. Restrictive clauses or phrases are essential to the clear identification of the word or words they refer to. They limit (rather than describe) those words by making them refer to a specific thing or person or to a particular group.

Geographical Names, Items in Dates and Addresses
This subnote contains the examples above. Note that commas are omitted when the day of the month is not given or when the day of the month precedes rather than follows the month (European style), as in -- Tracy applied for the job in April 1993 and accepted in on Monday, 24 May 1993.

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