The Correct Punctuation For Salutations That Begin With “Hi” or “Hello”


I always thought that salutations starting with “Hi Puck or “Hello, Youhfollowed by a comma at the end are specious. Thereupon, I never used them even though almost everyone in the office overly promotes them in my emails and letters. I patiently continued to snuggle the conventional prefatory greetings like “Dear Maggie Quigley,” or “Mr. Jason Statham:” instead.

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Based on what I had seen on the internet and some offices, salutations like “Hi Puck, or Hello, Youh, are tolerated but definitely not by grammar sticklers. Please note that this kind of salutation is far different from the wonted “Dear Puck,” which is often used in business letters and emails. “Dear Puck,” does not require a comma after “dear” because it is an adjective. “Dear” is a modifier and the rule says a comma is not required to separate modifiers from the things they modify.

On the one hand, “Dear Puck,” makes more sense to have a comma after the name as it begins a thought. On the other hand, “Hi, Puck.” should really be ended with a full stop or an exclamation point —depending on how excited you feel about the greeting—because it is a complete thought.

Clearly, “Hi” cannot be a substitute for “Dear” because of the difference in their syntactic functions most especially in this case.

The thing is, there are only a few who knows that those salutations are punctuated with a full stop. As a result, it looks bizarre when you do it correctly more so punctilious and pedantic given the pervasive use of the favorite yet incorrect alternatives.

So remember, salutations that begin with interjections like Hello even conventional expressions like Good Morning—in a direct address—follow a different rule: A full stop should be placed at their respective ends as in “Hello, Puck.” and/or “Good morning, Puck.

If you are one of the tagmemic ruffians guilty of this particular rule, I hope you will consider triturating that comma the next time around. It will give a celestial hand to the English language in saving its already compromised beauty.

Related Article

Week 25: Commas with Salutations (albertcabot.wordpress.com)

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6 thoughts on “The Correct Punctuation For Salutations That Begin With “Hi” or “Hello”

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