I've noticed that when greeting someone in a sentence, a comma often comes before the name. 

Example: Hello, Grace.

Should a comma come after the name as well if the sentence continues on?

Example: Hello, Grace, how have you been?

When greeting someone at the start of a letter to someone I've noticed that there is no comma before the name. Why is that?

Example: Dear Bob,

Does this rule apply to just "Dear" or any other salutation?

Example: Hey Bob,

I anyone could expound on the rules of comma use for greetings and salutations it would be wonderful.

Thank you for your help! 

New Member09
I've noticed that when greeting someone in a sentence, a comma often comes before the name.

Example: Hello, Grace.

Should a comma come after the name as well if the sentence continues on?

Example: Hello, Grace, how have you been? Yes.

When greeting someone at the start of a letter to someone I've noticed that there is no comma before the name. Why is that?

Example: Dear Bob, The reason may be that there is no pause either when people say dear Bob. In British English even the comma after Bob is usually omitted these days. It looks dated to a Briton.

Does this rule apply to just "Dear" or any other salutation?

Example: Hey Bob, I don't think anyone would put a comma there, but I wouldn't say a comma would be wrong either. There are many opinions. There is no absolute authority that has the ultimate power to dictate usage.

I anyone could expound on the rules of comma use for greetings and salutations it would be wonderful.

Thank you for your help!

You're welcome!

CB
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Anonymous:
Hello, Cool Breeze,

Let me date myself by using a comma both after the salutation of "Hello" and your username, Cool Breeze. I was taught that a comma was to be used after both. And also after the name of a state when it is used in a sentence and the sentence continues, i.e.: She was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the city known for its German heritage. I also was taught that a comma followed any list of items and separated the word "and" from the list item listed, i.e.: They have dogs, cats, rabbits, and sheep. I have no idea what is proper anymore, but I like to continue in the traditions that I was taught; I am from the time when all teachers came to school in what now would be considered formal attire.

I'm going to stick with the old ways; I like tradition, even with learning.

Sign me, Remembering
AnonymousI am from the time when all teachers came to school in what now would be considered formal attire.
So am I.Emotion: smile By all means, use commas the way you were taught! I certainly have nothing against that.

CB
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Hi,

Here are a few more thoughts on this topic.

In the formulaic greeting 'Dear Bob', I see 'dear' as an adjective describing Bob. You can see this a bit more clearly if you consider the less common form of 'My dear Bob'. You wouldn't normally use a comma to separate an adjective from a noun.

'Hello Grace' is a different situation. 'Hello' is not an adjective. It's a stand-alone salutation. I can just say 'Hello' by itself. So, a comma seems quite possible, eg 'Hello, Grace'. I favour the comma.

Best wishes, Clive
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Anonymous:
Clive, I say you are absolutely correct!! "Dear" is an adjective, a lone adjective (this no comma) that describes "Bob". This is the most classic and most technically accurate description of a greeting, whether formal or informal. To wit:

Dearest Bob ... My dear Bob ... My dearest darling Bob Emotion: wink ... adverb-adjective-noun ... NO COMMA should be used to separate any of those words. Just separate the greeting from the rest of the letter, using a comma.

One of the most common problems in writing English is over-using commas. This is both old-school and new.
It was me who made the anonymous reply to Clive, but then I joined this site so my post won't be anonymous anymore Emotion: stick out tongue
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PS: For simplicity, I suggest that "Hello" would follow the logic of "Dear", although not for technical reasons. To explain: Why use a comma to separate a very short 2-word phrase? First it increases awkwardness a tiny bit, and second, when we speak it, we don't pause between those two words. Some general rules for commas are (a) to use them for clarity in long sentences, or (b) to separate a series of adjectives and so forth. Lacking either of those necessities, I strongly suggest that a comma is totally unnecessary for any simple 2-word greeting Emotion: wink
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Hi,

I strongly support the idea of considering a comma as simply marking a place where you would naturally pause briefly. Pauses came before commas, because speaking came before writing!

Yet a lot of people seem to discuss commas as if they have absolutely no connection to pauses at all.

I grant, of course, that it is often hard for English learners to decide where a pause is natural, and technical rules are often helpful in such cases. But I think that sometimes the tail of technical rules wags the dog of speaking.

Clive
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