TIPSY Today™ Blog with Rogena & Colleen | A Footprint of RMJ Editing & Manuscript Service, Colleen Snibson Editing, and Two Red Pens Editing
The comma is probably the most confusing punctuation mark as there are so many rules that go along with correct usage of the comma. Today, we are going to look at only one comma rule—using a comma with direct address.
Do you know what direct address means in grammar? It's when you address someone as I did at the beginning of this blog by starting it with Hello, Readers. I often receive emails addressed like this:
Hi Rogena. ❌
Hello Rogena. ❌
This is incorrect. It should be punctuated with a comma before my name.
Hi, Rogena. ✅
Hello, Rogena. ✅
Notice the comma? This comma is important. And necessary. It's also a pet peeve of mine, especially when used in a sentence.
A direct address is the name of the person (normally) who is being directly spoken to. It is always a proper noun. It does not have any grammatical relationship to any part of the sentence. It is set off by commas.
If I am speaking to my mom, the sentence would be punctuated something like this:
Mom, what are we having for dinner? ✅
I really want to go out to dinner, Mom. ✅
Note the comma after Mom in the first sentence and before in the second.
It's like the memes we have all seen floating around:
Let's eat Grandma. ❌
Let's eat, Grandma. ✅
"Grandma" is the direct address in the above sentence.
We're going to learn to cut and paste kids. ❌
We're going to learn to cut and paste, kids. ✅
"Kids" is the direct address in this sentence.
And this is why the memes all remind us that commas really can save lives. We aren't going to eat Grandma and we definitely aren't going to learn how to cut and paste children. Right?
When you send an email, always use a comma in your address. Hi, John. Hello, Sally. How are you, Esther?
It's really quite simple.
Direct address means that you are directly addressing someone or something. When you address a letter, you put a person's name on it. Whether the direct address is at the beginning, the end, or in the middle of the sentence, it needs the comma(s).
Commas. I love them.
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Rogena Mitchell-Jones | RMJ Manuscript Service LLC | www.rogenamitchell.com
Colleen Snibson | Colleen Snibson Editing | www.colleensnibsonediting.com
Two Red Pens Editing | www.tworedpens.com
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