Is there a term for words that summon someone like "Man," "Dude," "Kid" in sentences such as "Hey, Dude," "Listen up, kid," etc?

I am sure there is, but I can't really remember what it is.

  • "Man", "Dude" or "kid" are pronouns. I'm not sure how to interpret the phrase "words that summon someone", because it's actually the entire phrase that summons/commands; "Man"/"Dude"/"kid" are just substitutes for the pronoun "you".
    – MT_Head
    Sep 4, 2013 at 16:16
  • "Hey Dude / You think you're bad / But she's a sad sack / And you're no better"... My apologies to any Beatles fans.
    – MT_Head
    Sep 4, 2013 at 16:17
  • 1
    @MT_Head I take serious offence. I darn you to heck!
    – SoWhat
    Sep 4, 2013 at 16:59
  • 1
    Are you thinking of an imperative phrase? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperative_mood
    – dcaswell
    Sep 4, 2013 at 17:16
  • @MT_Head I don't think that man/dude/kid are pronouns.
    – JeffSahol
    Sep 4, 2013 at 18:17

2 Answers 2


I think you might be thinking of vocative.

of a word or word group: marking the one addressed (as mother in “mother, come here”)


Basic grammar may tell you the "Hey" is an "interjection."

When used to specifically address a person (or an audience,) as in your example, the Hey there is a "vocative adjunct" with an interpersonal function of addressing between speaker & listener (or writer & reader): "O, Romeo, Romeo …"

This consists of relatively emotional words or phrases which express an exclamation, a call, a curse, or an oath simply added to the main predication. This vocative adjunct usually begins an utterance. But it can also be placed at the end of an utterance or even between the subject and the predicate. (Dinh-Hoa Nguyen, 1997)

An interesting explanation of the vocative here.

The WP entry has an explanation of the difference between the interjection and the vocative case.

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