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Dear Comma

You use a comma after hi in a saluation, but not after dear. Find out why.

By
Mignon Fogarty,

 

Technically, those e-mail messages you write should begin Hi, John—with a comma after Hi.

You see, Hi, John is different from Dear John because hi and dear are not the same kind of word. Hi is an interjection just like wow and ugh, and dear is an adjective that modifies John.

In Hi, John you are directly addressing John, which means the punctuation rules of “direct address” apply. From a comma-rules standpoint, Hi, John is no different from Thanks for coming, John or Wow, John, what were you thinking?

You can end Hi, John with a period or, if you continue the sentence, a comma.

 

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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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