Posts Tagged ‘direct address’

I’m going to go a little Grammar nazi on you on this Saturday morning, but only a little, I promise.  It’s just a matter of one or two commas to correct something very often done incorrectly or, rather, not done at all.

If you address someone directly, the name needs to be separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma (or two, if the name is in the middle of the sentence.)

An example:

Joey, please pass the dessert…or, at the other end…Stop playing with your food, Alicia.

If the person’s name is in the middle of the phrase, you need an extra comma:

I think, Juanita, that it’s much too late to go out tonight.

If you use a term of endearment or another term that could have a name substituted for it, you need to do the same thing.

For example:

Sir, you are a cad!

You, sir, are a cad!

Are you cold, my dear?

Call 911, somebody.

However, if you simply use someone’s name in a sentence without directly addressing them, this rule doesn’t apply.  You would properly say, “Mom is going to the store to get Henry some medicine.”  But if you said, “Go to the story, Henry, and get Mom some medicine,” you need to bring out the commas.

I hope this clears things up a bit, my friends.  The next time you comment on a post and use the person’s name, you might say, for example:

Janet, that’s one of the most helpful posts I’ve ever read.


When I think of the perfect blogger, Janet, I think of you.


What a fabulous photo, Janet!


Have a wonderful weekend, dear reader!