Q. I’m not sure when to use a comma following a date at the beginning of a sentence. Can you help? For example, “In the 1960s, McManus declared victory . . .” or “In 1967, McManus selected Jones as the victor . . .” A fellow editor suggests striking all of the commas that follow the dates.
A. Your editor friend’s suggestion is reasonable, and Chicago recommends much the same approach (see CMOS 6.31). But it’s also reasonable to disagree in certain cases. Wherever a comma might be helpful for clarity (or for emphasis), add one: for example, “By 1967, 357 residents had returned to the complex.” (That comma keeps the numerals from appearing to run together.) In general, a flexible approach will serve the reader better than a rigid one.