And another thing about commas ...



A missing comma after "Inc." or a year is a dead giveaway that a document wasn't professionally copy edited. I call this mistake commas without partners. And if you don't want to fall into this trap, here are a few additional points to keep in mind.

* You don't need to put commas around Inc., but if you put one before it, you should put one after it as well. RIGHT: The job at Widgets, Inc., didn't offer good benefits. RIGHT: The job at Widgets Inc. didn't offer good benefits. WRONG: The job at Widgets, Inc. didn't offer good benefits.

* Complete dates use commas around the year — meaning a comma before and after. RIGHT: May 8, 1996, was the day she arrived in town.

* When you're talking about just a month and a year without a specific date, no comma. RIGHT: August 2004 was an unusual time for me.

* Same applies to seasons. No comma when combing it with a year. And by the way, seasons are lowercase. RIGHT: In spring 2021 the town will host its centennial celebration.

* Jr. and Sr. work the same way as Inc. No commas needed, but if you use one before you have to use one after. RIGHT: Morton Downey Jr. had a talk show. RIGHT: Morton Downey, Jr., had a talk show. WRONG: Morton Downey, Jr. had a talk show.

In every case, it should go without saying that if the comma would come at the end of the sentence, you omit it and let the period mark the end. We worked at Widgets, Inc. We watched Morton Downey, Jr. He was born April 3, 1998.

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