Grammar Basics – Commas with Dates

Before I start this blog entry, I want to say something about consistency. While it is important in many things in your life, consistency in your writing goes a long way. Regardless if you aren’t sure about how to punctuate something, make sure you punctuate it the same throughout the piece you’re working on at the time. Sure – you’ll still be wrong, but the work doesn’t look nearly as sloppy.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest let’s talk comma usage when you’re using dates in your writing.

When you’re writing the month-day-year style, commas must be used to set off the year—this is traditional.

{October 29, 1958}

Further, when you are stating the day of the week, it is also separated from the month and day by a comma.

{Tuesday, November 3}

Conversely, commas are usually unnecessary between the name for the day and the ordinal in references where the month is not expressed. Commas are also unnecessary where month and year only are given, or where a named day (such as a holiday) is provided with a year.

{Christmas Day 2020}

When you are using a date as an adjective, as when the date is describing a noun, the rules are different.

In this case, when using the month-year or month-day date, there is no hyphen or comma needed:

{October 31 festivities}               {December 2014 financial statement}

However, if a full month-day-year date is used as the description, a comma is sometimes considered necessary both before and after the year:

{the November 8, 2016, elections}

This particular construction is awkward and not used very often. Usually, you would see it this way:

{commencement ceremonies on May 27, 2016}.

A few more examples:

The play took place on December 2, 2003, at the Heritage High School Auditorium in Vancouver, Washington.

Her hearing was scheduled for Friday, June 3, 2018.

Monday, July 4, was a holiday; Tuesday the fifth was not.

Next time, we will look at comma usage with addresses.  I hope you’re having a good week and getting lots of writing done,

Until then,

~Mustang Patty~


Published by Mustang Patty

I am finally a full-time author, who writes legal thrillers, how-to- books, short stories, flash fiction, a tiny bit of poetry, and Blog posts. My published works include 'Guilty until Proven Innocent,' 'Innocent for the Moment,' and 'Moment by Moment.' This is a trilogy called the Jill Adair Series. Additionally, I've written a collection of short stories about my dogs, Howie and Bernie - with a 2nd Collection coming in late 2021. I'm also coordinating an Anthology of Short Stories called, '2021 Indie Authors Short Story Anthology.' This book will be available on on August 1st of 2021. (The 2020 Indie Authors Short Story Anthology is currently available on - the collection includes 30 stories, written by 18 different Authors from three continents.) I am married to my wonderful hubby of over 37 years, and I have two grown children, named Heather and Gregory. I've been blessed with two beautiful grandbabies, Heather Rose and Logan Ernest.

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