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I have read about this rule: "When the date appears in the middle of a sentence, commas should appear both before and after the year. However, I have met cases like "1905, issue"; "1938, and"; "1958, but" and other situations where the necessity of a comma is not so evident.

I have a list of examples here. Where exactly do I have to insert a comma after the year and where I can omit it?

  • The visit took place on September 20, 1882(,) according to his claim.

  • Another point of interest in the same November 15, 1908(,) article is a small paragraph about what he knew at the moment January 1, 1905(,) but was not allowed to divulge.

  • He has serious doubts regarding the credibility of the March 22, 1988(,) eyewitness account.

  • I received from him a rare copy of the January 1, 1972(,) issue of that periodical.

  • The problem is that the credibility of his March 31, 1976(,) answer is also quite low.

  • Coming back to the September 15, 1946(,) article, he says that at about 2 PM, on August 29, 1944(,) he reached the old familiar village situated between two hills.

  • All tests were done between December 17, 1903(,) and October 5, 1905, before the first officially witnessed flights.

  • He sent them a letter on February 16, 1904(,) expressing his wish to witness some of their next experiments.

  • The inventor answered on February 23, 1904(,) suggesting he might have such an opportunity.

  • The visit took place after July 26, 1904(,) but before August 26, 1904(,) or August 28, 1904(,) and the results are unknown.

  • It is known that the day of November 28, 1935(,) found him writing a letter to one of his friends.

  • The text was updated mentioning the day of October 2, 2006(,) as the last hot day of that year.

  • The article was submitted to him on December 24, 1922(,) for a final approval.

  • A letter of some importance is that of October 21, 1905(,) which contains direct evidence he had the habit to take for granted what other people told him.

UPDATE

I have simplified my initial question and reduced it only to a few cases where the comma after the year is in no way obvious:

  • This is the November 15, 1908(,) article.

  • This is what he knew at the moment January 1, 1905(,) but was not allowed to divulge.

  • All tests were done between December 17, 1903(,) and October 5, 1905.

  • The visit took place after July 26, 1904(,) but before August 26, 1904(,) or August 28, 1904(,) and the results are unknown.

  • It is known that the day of November 28, 1935(,) found him sleeping.

  • The text was updated mentioning the day of October 2, 2006(,) as the last hot day of that year.

For these situations marked in yellow, where do I have to put a comma after the year and where there is no need of it?

  • I don't think the presence of a year makes any difference. In your example sentences, try removing the phrase with the date and see how you would punctuate it then. For example, "The inventor answered on February 23, 1904, suggesting..." should get punctuated exactly the same way as "The inventor answered, suggesting..." – stangdon Jan 21 '17 at 15:37
  • I asked the question because app.grammarly.com , a grammar checker you can install in Chrome or MS Word 2007 and above, tells me to add a comma after each date (year), no matter what follows after it. In a text, I have more that 1000 dates and I do not want to modify them unless I am 100% sure all of them require a comma at the end if they are in the middle of a sentence. – Robert Werner Jan 22 '17 at 13:35
  • Don't trust grammar checkers. They are very unreliable. – stangdon Jan 22 '17 at 14:56
  • I have simplified a bit my initial question. See the UPDATE. – Robert Werner Jan 25 '17 at 2:32
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There is no single "right" answer to this question; it is a matter of stylistic preference. If you are writing a work for publication, whether to use a comma after the year will typically be dictated by the preferences of the editor(s)/publisher.

You can consult various published manuals of style for different opinions (for example: The Associated Press Stylebook, the Chicago Manual of style, the MLA Handbook).

  • Unfortunately, I have to buy those books. – Robert Werner Jan 25 '17 at 2:39
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For some of these (in particular, the first and fifth examples in yellow) it clearly looks wrong to me to have the commas present. However, stylistic dilemmas are often a clue that you should rephrase the sentence. For instance, it would be better to say "The article of November 15, 1908." When you are using a noun phrase as a modifier like that, it should be quite short. Similarly, I can't make myself happy with either of these:

It is known that the day of November 28, 1935 found him sleeping.

It is known that the day of November 28, 1935, found him sleeping.

In the first one, it sounds almost as if it was the year 1935 that found him sleeping. And, in the second one, "found him sleeping" just seems detached from the rest of the sentence.

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