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Salutations and Commas -- I don't agree - What is your opinion?


an act, phrase, or gesture that serves as a greeting / a word or phrase serving as the greeting in a letter or speech

An email opening consists of a greeting and a name.
It can set a formal, informal, or friendly tone. 

It seems there are three choices; using a colon, a comma, and even an exclamation mark:
-  Dear Mr. Smith:
-  Good morning, Bob.
-  Hi Bob!

The following grammar sites agree on the convention of inserting a comma between the greeting and the person’s name, for example:

-  Hi, Bob.
-  Hello, Bob.
-  Good morning, Bob.


In formal business emails – use a colon.

-  Dear Mr/Mr. Smith:

In a less formal email – use a comma rather than a colon



Use a comma between the greeting and the person’s name.

-  Hello, Rene.
-  Congratulations, Michael!

Never use a comma after the greeting Dear: Dear, Claudio:



In formal business emails – use a colon.

-  Dear Mr. Smith:
-  Dear Professor Jones:

When the salutation in your email starts with Hello or Hi, you should put a comma before the name of the person you’re addressing. It is also an accepted practice to put a comma after the name of the person you’re addressing.

-  Hi, Michael,

Some informal salutations use a period at the end.

-  Hi, Michael.
-  Hello, John. 


Commas can be used after informal salutations that include an adjective such as “Dear.”

The trick is that you have to decide if your message is formal or informal.

The level of formality in business letters and emails will depend on your work environment and your personal relationship with the recipient.

Letters and emails to family and friends are almost always informal:

-  Dear Mom and Dad,


It appears we have 3 choices.

Formal:     use Dear and a colon
Example:  Dear Ms. Watson:

Informal:   use a comma between the greeting and the name and a comma or a period at the end
Example:   Hello, Kathy,   or  Hi, Kathy.

Informal:    An excited greeting could end with an exclamation point.
Example:   Hi, Brad!



My opinion/preferences

Opinion  –  I do not like the comma between the greeting and the person’s name, e.g. Hello, Bob
Reason  –  When spoken, there is no pause between “Hello and Bob”

Opinion  –  I do not like the period at the end of the phrase, e.g., Hello, Bob.
Reason  –  The phrase is not a clause nor a sentence, so it doesn’t need a period.


What is your opinion or preference?

Mar 21, 2018 3:33 PM
Comments · 33
I'm a conformist (by choice) and always mirror the person on the other end.
So if they say: "Greetings, oh wise and beautiful Grzybek", I will respond with "Greetings, oh less-but-still-pretty-wise Interlocutor". It's easier this way.

But if I am the first one to write I will typically use a comma and an exclamation mark: "Hi, Richard!"
March 21, 2018
I always use the comma for things like "Hello, Bob" --  it seems more fancy and natural to me!
March 21, 2018
Richard, when it is "good evening, mr. Smith" we certainly have a pause or change in intonation in Russian.
Comma may designate new intonational segment, not necessary a pause. For this reason I'm not annoyed anyhow and even fidn natural commas after 'hi'. Again in Russian.
March 21, 2018
I agree with the Russian speakers: when addressing someone directly, a comma should be used to separate the term of address (be it a name, title, 2nd person pronoun, term of endearment/abuse, or whatever) since it is a new intonational segment (the comma doesn't necessarily indicate a pause in speech), and leaving the comma out can cause ambiguity and even change the meaning of the sentence (consider "I don't know Richard" versus "I don't know, Richard"). However, with simple greetings such as "Hello" or "Hi" there is little chance of confusion, so I think leaving the comma out, as people sometimes do, is tolerable.

Aнтoн's example illustrates well the difference between "Greetings, Anton" and "Greetings to Anton", and the case system in Russian helps to highlight the distinction; in Irish we have a special case dedicated to direct address (the vocative case) so naturally anything in this case will be separated from the rest of the discourse by commas: "A Risteaird, Dia duit!" (vocative case: "Richard, Hello!"), "Risteard Dia duit!" (nominative case: "the god Richard be with you!").

March 22, 2018

Dear Richard, hello!

Did you know, Richard, that we (Russian) are taught to separate an addression (we have such word, I don't know what it is in English) by commas.

Without respect to where the addression stands, Richard!

March 21, 2018
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