Would you put a comma here:
"In common parlance[,] it's come to mean somebody who stonewalls."

What about now:
"And in common parlance[,] it's come to mean somebody who stonewalls."

The "and" makes me not want to put a comma because it comes before the prepositional phrase, making it no longer an introductory phrase. Right?

Would you use a comma if there were other words before it, like:
"And also I believe that in common parlance it's come to mean somebody who stonewalls."

Can anyone cite the rule for it in either Morson's or Chicago Manual of Style?

Thanks!

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I say less is more and I would not put a comma in there. There's no reason for the comma.

If the sentence was worded like this:
When you say In common parlance[,] do you mean mean somebody who stonewalls?

FOR THIS THERE'S A RULE. It used to be called a when clause or introductory clause? I forget the lingo.

But your sentence: In common parlance it's come to mean somebody who stonewalls.

I don't see it as an introductory clause.

No comma. With a comma, it's choppy and silly-looking to me. Less is more.
What about these:

Q And on November 18th[,] Fire sent a document saying the policy was canceled.
Q And on December 5th of 2005[,] Mark Blaha, the adjuster, sent a letter

Personally, I wouldn't put a comma in either of those. My proofreader did, and that, of course, makes me question everything I know. Or think I know. Or thought I knew.
And on November 18th[,] Fire sent a document saying the policy was canceled.

I would not put a comma there either. When I tried proofers in the past, I was disgusted by all the time it took me to look at each suggested correction, tons of them commas, the vast majority of which I rejected. Now I have a proofreader that gets it and doesn't waste my time looking at tons of silly suggestions,

Q And on December 5th of 2005[,] Mark Blaha, the adjuster, sent a letter

I would not use a comma here either, particulary since you have "the adjuster" set off in commas right after it.
Marla,

I would put commas after all of your examples, especially the ones after the dates. Them's the rules, plain and simple.

Janice
Thanks, guys, for your opinions. I know this topic (especially commas) can send us all reeling, reaching for the rule books, and pulling our hair out. I know we all have different preferences and styles, and even a lot of punctuation books (including the Chicago Manual of Style) leave things up to interpretation.

But I'm looking for rules to lean on. So, Janice, if you know where and in what rule book I can find the rule about the comma after a date, let me know. I'd really appciate it.

Thanks, guys!
Marla,

After a quick review of Morson's, I see it in Rule 50: In writing dates, use a comma to separate every item after the day.

Example: I saw the doctor on June 17, 1993, and on January 5, 1994.

If the day of the month is omitted, the court reporter may omit the commas or use two commas.

Example: I saw the doctor in June 1996 and January 1997. OR I saw the doctor in June, 1996, and January, 1997.

AFA your prepositional phrase question and whether to put a comma, here is what I found:

Rule 60: Use a comma to set off a long introductory prepositional phrase (four words or more)

Caution A: Some prepositional phrases are short and general and are set off at the beginning of the sentence because they are contrasting or restating or illustrating or affirming.

Examples: above all, after all, all in all, as a matter of fact, as a result, .....by all means, by and large, by contrast, by the way, for example, for that matter...in addition, in any case, in effect, ...in other words, of course, on the contrary, on the whole, ...to this end

I don't know if your "in common parlance" would fall into that category or not.

Caution B: Some prepositional phrases are short and specific and are not set off at the beginning of the sentence:

Examples: In June we took all the documents to the accountant.
During the summer the accountant never got in touch with us.
At that time we became very anxious and concerned.

Hope this helps, Marla, and doesn't just confuse the issue more ;)

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