Some of you may have seen this popular graphic on Facebook:
Let’s eat Grandma.
Let’s eat, Grandma.
The caption is “Punctuation saves lives.”
This is a great illustration of an easy, but important, rule: always use a comma when directly addressing someone, regardless of where the direct address is in the sentence.
In addition to the wonderful illustration above about whether Grandma is the main course or an invited guest, here are a few more examples of this rule.
EXAMPLE: Anne, please come and sit down.
EXAMPLE: It’s important to remember, Mother, that I am a grown woman now.
EXAMPLE: What’s your favorite book, Bob?
In each case, the name of the person being addressed is set off with a comma (or two, if it’s in the middle of the sentence).
It’s an easy rule to remember and a great way to keep all your addressees safe, sound and well-fed.[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://howtowriteshop.loridevoti.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/RachelColumnist.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Rachel is a full-on, hardcore grammar freak. Her favorite punctuation marks are parentheses, em dashes and ellipses. She still loves adverbs, but is trying to wean herself off of them. And she truly believes that it’s okay to split an infinitive. In addition to her grammar obsession, Rachel writes light contemporary romance – occasionally with a paranormal twist – and is published in short fiction. Rachel also works as a freelance proofreader and copy editor. Learn more at www.rachelmichaels.com. [/author_info] [/author]