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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Criminal Sentence 89: Commas in Salutations

A salutation is a greeting, as in "Hi, Bonnie." Although we all start e-mail messages with "Hi Mom" or "Hi Bill," we do need a comma. Other examples include "Sure, Dad"; "Have a good time, Andy"; and "Eat, Grandma."
Now what would happen if we left off the comma? If we wrote "Sure Dad," it wouldn't confuse anyone. But if we wrote "Eat Grandma," well that has a completely different meaning!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just to be pedantic, your example "Eat, Grandma" is not a salutation: it's an imperative!

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Thanks for being pedantic! I needed that correction.

Jeb said...

Don't let yourself be corrected so quickly. "Eat, Grandma" is an imperative sentence with a salutation. Beware of those anonymous pedants!