When you address someone with the salutation “Hi John” at the beginning of a letter or an email, you should put a comma in between the words “hi” and “John.” To properly address John, the greeting should be “Hi, John.” This is an exception to the customary practice of including a comma after the word “dear” in a greeting. It should read “Dear John, ” if you are going to use the word “dear.”
Keep reading to find out more about the reasons why these popular greetings are distinct from one another, the reasons why they employ various places for the comma, and other interesting facts about this common address.
Where to Use Commas in Greetings
There is one basic rule that you should follow when it comes to commas with greetings, and that rule is as follows: place the comma after the greeting, but before the name of the person being addressed. This rule will typically direct you to success, regardless of what you say to people when you welcome them.
Using Commas with Hello and Hey
A traditional “Hello,” “Hey,” or “Hi” is always a decent introduction, especially if you want to come out as welcoming. It is customary to insert a comma after any of these pleasantries and before the name of the recipient before addressing them. If you were to use any of them on their own as an interjection, you would simply end the phrase with the typical punctuation mark for the type of sentence you were writing.
The Exception to the Rule
Now we are going to discuss a problem that many people have. To begin, there should never be a comma between “Dear” and the person’s name at the beginning of an email, letter, or other forms of communication that begins with “Dear.”
You may be wondering why “Dear” is the sole exception from the overall comma rule. This is because “Dear” is not used as a greeting but as an adjective instead!
That is correct! For example, saying “I am writing a letter to dear James” makes sense, but saying “I am writing a letter to hello James” does not. So, when you start a letter with “Dear,” you are paying someone a compliment.
Dear is not the only word that gets treated this way either. You could, for example, begin a letter with “Dear Lisa,” “Darling Lyonel,” or “Cherished friends.” As can be seen, none of these openers include commas before the names. Be sure if you choose to use dear or another term of endearment, that you use the comma after the entire opener.