Punctuation Bite: Use Commas in Direct Address

Use commas to separate words in direct address.

The cartoon humorously illustrates the importance of properly punctuating a sentence that involves direct address—that is, when writing directly to someone. The Standard-English convention is to place a comma after the introductory word or phrase.

Need some examples, friend? Here you go, gentle reader. (Um, notice the two examples there?)

Here are a few more:

  • “Hello, John!”
  • “Thanks, Maria.”
  • “How are you, Pete?”
  • “Way to go, Andrea!”
  • “Give me a break, buster!”
  • “You’re confusing me, Dean.”

Don’t leave out those poor, underemployed commas. Let them serve their intended purpose.

And let’s not forget these:

  • “Happy birthday, Tori!”
  • “Merry Christmas, Lou!”
  • “¡Feliz Navidad, Luis!”
  • “Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!”

It’s almost time for lunch. Let’s eat, Grandma!

Author: Dean Christensen

Educator, copyeditor, writer, baseball bug, word lover, book hound, guitar picker, classical music aficionado, classic rock 'n' roll and movie buff, sinner, saint, former this, used-to-be that, and future who-knows-what. Every day is an adventure in learning how to make the world a better place--grammatically, anyway.

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