So a partner in my law firm says that you have to put a comma after the year in a month/day/year date configuration because the year is extraneous and you would not have a comma after the date if you used a month/day date configuration. I think (but have no authority and not that much time to look) that putting a comma in is odd in some contexts.
Which of the below is correct? Is it possible that both are correct? (Please ignore whether you like the sentence otherwise or not. Don’t try to fix it so the construction is different- I need to know this globally.)
A revenue shortfall of 23% resulted in the May 6, 2010, lay-off of Mr. Jones.
A revenue shortfall of 23% resulted in the May 6, 2010 lay-off of Mr. Jones.
Partner says #1 is correct and #2 is incorrect because if you did not include the 2010, you would have no comma after May 6:
A revenue shortfall of 23% resulted in the May 6 lay-off of Mr. Jones.
Yes. It’s a style choice, not a case of rigid right or wrong. FWIW, the Chicago Manual recommends the comma after the year in this construction. (However, if you’re using month/year, no commas: “. . . the May 2010 layoff. . . .”)
Hmm, I don’t know. I know you are not he, because for one thing he has no kids, but I suppose it is possible we work at the same firm. Which would be funny. Where are you? State? City? Sorry, no time to search out this info…
Notice I’m winning, though…thanks **Mean Old Lady **and asimovian…
Sorry!In my defense, may I state that the partner is indirectly paying me to care about the comma, and I must have enough billable hours so that he will keep doing so, while you, Asimovian and MeanOldLady, are paying me a whole lotta nuthin’ and are furthermore keeping me from meeting my hours requirement while I respond, so you should be happy I even bolded your names?
Yes and no. Yes, there are house style guides for some things, but not for this thing. Yes, there are definitely style guides for legal writing, and many things required and prohibited, but some style guides conflict, and some vary from state to state, court to court, etc. Furthermore, if there is an optional/stylistic choice to make, different partners will like different styles.
There are all manner of writing-style, working-style, speaking-style, dress-style (ok, I exaggerate), and personality-style differences to learn when working for different partners in a law firm (much the same as when working for different supervisors in other business environments). So, yeah, I do that all the time. But, as you say,* fortunately* your serial comma preference is the same as your style guide’s. Mine too – it’s one big serial comma party where I work. Unfortunately, I have to put a skanky, slutty, tarted-up, whorish, gold-digging comma after the date NO MATTER WHAT in every thing I produce for this partner, and it kills me. I hate it. I hate extra commas, that go where they shouldn’t go. (Heh.) So I like all these folks popping in to hurl epithets and cast withering glances at the extra comma so I can report back.
Of course, I will confess that the style guide you referred to prefers the comma. And now that I spent all this time writing this, I could have checked three style/reference guides. Oh well, this was more fun.
I say, tell your partner to write his or her own damn briefs and leave you out of it if there is going to be this idiotic insistence on poor grammar and punctuation choices. What’s the worst that can happen? You show 'em who’s boss!