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The Grammar Guru

COMMAS AND DATES

Cave Boy decided to get married in September 0001. The fact that there were no available cave girls didn't bother him. He just asked his mother, "How about I get hooked up with someone?"

Cave Woman said, "Well, we have to go around and tell everybody and clean out the cave for the party. That'll take some time. Besides, which girl will you get hitched to?"

Cave Boy shrugged. "What's the difference? It's just for the presents. Everybody knows that."

Cave Woman, being a possessive mother, said, "Why not wait? There's no rush."

"OK," said Cave Boy.

Time passed, and Cave Boy still didn't have a clue which cave girl he wanted until, one day, he saw one collecting sea shells.

"Let me help," said Cave Boy, scooping the shells into a pile. "Say, how about you and I get hitched? We could divide the presents and then go our own ways."

"Okay," said the girl, and they decided to get married on Jan. 3, 0002. That gave them plenty of time to make arrangements, fight, break up, cancel the hitching and get back together again. The wedding actually did take place in March 0002, and so another couple divided some presents and went their own ways.

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Remember: Use commas with a date that includes the month, day and year, as in May 1, 2000, and put a comma after the year if the sentence continues; don't use commas with just the month and year, as in May 2000.