(The post office prefers no punctuation on envelopes to be mailed.)
,When writing narratives and referring to a city with its state/province and/or country, insert a comma after the city and another after the state/province, and spell out the state/province.
If the country is added, a comma follows the state/province.
If including the zip code, do not use a comma before the zip code.
- >He moved to Omaha, Nebraska, after living in Boise. He was born in Utah.
- (City = “Omaha,” comma, state = “Nebraska,” comma. Only city, “Boise,” no comma. Only state, “Utah,” no comma)
- The letter addressed to Washington, DC 20004, was missent to Washington, Arkansas 81862, a week before the hurricane.
- (City = “Washington,” comma, state = “DC,” no comma before zip code, comma)
- Kalama, Washington, has a population of 2,344.
- (City = Kalama, comma, state = “Washington,” comma. Number over 999)
- The letter addressed to 15 Nelson Street, London, England, arrived in two days from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
- (Address = “15 Nelson Street,” comma, city = “London,” comma, country = “England,” comma. City = “Melbourne,” comma, state = “Victoria,” comma, country = “Australia.”
- Is there really a town named Podunk in Minnesota?
- (city and state not together, so no comma)
When writing out a date with the month, the day, and the year, put a comma after the day to distinguish between the two numbers, day and year. Unless at the end of a sentence, another comma follows the year.
No comma is needed if using the day first, then the month, then the year or simply the month and year.
- USA: July 4, 1976 – Month day (comma) year (comma or period if end of sentence)
- The rest of the world: 4 July 1976 – Day month year (no commas)
- April 2018 – Month year (no commas)
- April 3 – Day month (no year, no commas)
- On Independence Day, July 4, 1976, we celebrated 200 years of the birth of this nation.
- (month day, comma, year, comma + the rest of the sentence)
- Her letter arrived August 20, 2018, even though it was postmarked January 12, 2015.
- (month day, comma, year, comma + the rest of the sentence + month day, comma, year, period to mark end of sentence)
- All registered Thoroughbred horses share the same birthday, January 1 of the year of their birth.
- (month and day. No year so no comma.)
- Each year Mexico celebrates the victory over Napoleon’s forces on 5 May 1862.
- (day month year, no commas)
- The monthly amount of rainfall in April 2018 totaled less than an inch.
- (month year, no commas)
Abbreviations for dates
- AD is positive (AD 1500 = +1500, our side of year 0).
- BC is negative (1500 BC = -1500, before year 0).
- BCE or B.C.E. (Before Common Era) is also negative (1500 BCE = -1500).
- CE or C.E. (Common Era) is positive, on our side of history (1500 CE = +1500).
- AD or A.D. Anno Domini (after the year 0) is often abbreviated as AD or A.D. Anno Domini means “In the year of our Lord,” so it precedes the date (in the year of our Lord 2018.)
- BC or B.C. can be considered “Before Christ,” so the year comes first. (1518 BC = 1518 [years] before Christ.
The other abbreviations referring to time follow the year.
Numbers (United States)
- 2.085 ⇓
- 615,784.921 ⇓
(Fortunately, very few numbers have this many decimal places. Unfortunately, there is no commonly-accepted method of organizing them.)
Numbers spelled out
Numbers at the beginning of a sentence should be spelled out, regardless of their size.
- The tree sheltered three bison.
- Three bison stood under the tree.
- The tree sheltered 3,482 ants.
- Three thousand, four hundred eighty-two ants hid under the tree.
- The tree sheltered three bison and three thousand, four hundred eighty-two ants.
- (This is a little clumsy.)
- The tree sheltered 3 bison and 3,482 ants.
- (Much better.)