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Commas in direct addresses

The absence of commas in greeting expressions (or other direct addresses) has become so common, so that I started to think that it is correct for English language (unlike in Russian). I have googled the topic and quickly realized it is not true: there must be a comma in direct addresses, except the cases when we use an adjective before a name of a title, for example 'Dear John'.

Incorrect: Hello man

                   Hi Joe
                  Good morning Alice

Correct: Hello, man
                Hi, Joe
                Good morning, Alice

The mistake is being made, even by English natives, so often, that I have decided to start this topic. Any thoughts or comments? 

Mar 21, 2018 9:34 AM
Comments · 6
I wouldn't put a comma in Hi Joe... because it's informal, and said without a pause. I do not consider it to be incorrect. Longer greetings, especially more formal ones, I would use a comma, and there would possibly be a slight pause at the comma.

March 21, 2018

English is a descriptive language. If something becomes so widespread, it becomes acceptable. So while you're technically right, dropping the comma has become so widespread that it has become okay. People won't even notice if you drop it. I actually notice when someone uses the comma, not when someone doesn't.

Here's what the Chicago Manual of Style has to say on the topic:
So here’s the official Chicago ruling: Use a comma before direct address and choose appropriate punctuation after it. In e-mail greetings, do as you please.


Here's what Grammar Girl has to say:
The problem is that almost nobody knows that greetings should be punctuated this way, so it looks weird when you do it right. In fact, it's extremely rare to see an e-mail salutation that uses a comma after the hi. I'm always torn about whether to use the comma. It is correct, but it seems a bit pedantic given the widespread use of the incorrect alternative – especially when you are replying to someone who has already done it the wrong way. Use your own judgment. I usually put it in, but you'll be in good company if you leave it out.

Dear Squiggly, (correct)

Hi, Squiggly. (correct)

Hi Squiggly, (widespread to the point of becoming acceptable)


March 22, 2018
This trend concerns men called Jack.
March 22, 2018
Another word about the use of commas, when I took English at a University (I’m a native US native speaker by the way) the professor said when in doubt, leave commas out. Why?  Because even if you leave one out where one should be in a sentence,  your brain automatically fills in for the absence of a comma anyway. However, using too many commas, like in „Hi, Jane“ actually interfers with the flow of a sentence and the thought process. I’ve found this to be a good rule of practice. You can get into a lot of trouble using too many commas or using them incorrectly. By contrast, you cause almost no loss of clarity in a sentence in many cases just leaving them out. „If I hadn’t heard him say that with my own ears I would have never believed it.“ Any problems understanding that? How about, „If I hadn’t, heard him, say that, with my own ears, I would have, never believed it.“ The last sentence is a mess, isn’t it? Much harder to read. Right?  That’s the difference. 
March 22, 2018
To use a common after the „Hi“ in an expression like „Hi Susan“ seems totally incorrect to me, in spite of what some nonsense written in a grammar book might say. I’m afraid you’ve got it backwards. The way native speakers speak and write IS correct.  Grammar books are supposed to reflect how native speakers speak and write, not dictate to them like some law book how they are supposed to speak and write. I couldn’t care less what a grammar book says. If it says THAT, it’s wrong and the person who wrote it doesn’t know what he’s or she is talking about. 
March 22, 2018
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English, French, German, Kazakh, Russian
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