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Q. We’ve been debating this one for quite some time. Should a comma follow a date that begins a sentence? (In 2009, . . .) I feel strongly that this is a proper place to put a comma, but others disagree. Is there a correct or incorrect way to use a comma in this situation?
A. No. You can even do it one way in one paragraph and another way in another paragraph, depending on what you’re eating at the time. It’s unlikely that they would all be the same anyway, because sometimes syntax will dictate a comma for other reasons. (In 1944, about the time of year Pa oiled his coon gun and the beagles started jittering, Deylon Reevy went missing.) It’s less distracting if you do it the same way in instances near each other, though, if syntax allows.