A coworker replied to an earlier email from me with some very good news. I wanted to thank him for his help. I was hoping to start with

Thank you, Jim. That is wonderful news...

OR is it

Thank you Jim. That is wonderful news...

Do I place the comma after the "Thank you"?

  • Either is fine, Dan. The former is just a touch more formal. :-) – Mark Hubbard Dec 29 '15 at 15:25
  • "Jim, I want to thank you for the complement/comment/information." – Hot Licks Dec 29 '15 at 15:25
  • @Mark Hubbard. My feeling is that it is precious to demand the comma here where there is no potential for confusion (eg How are you[,]boss?). But most style guides and some grammars demand the comma after an interjection. Have you any authority backing up your assertion? (I'd welcome one.) – Edwin Ashworth Dec 29 '15 at 16:11

The comma use shown in your first example is correct, the second example is not correct. As noted in Chicago Manual of Style, "a comma is used to set off names or words used in direct address and informal correspondence.

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You always put a comma in a direct adress if you want your sentence to be grammatically correct.

Using Commas for Direct Address (i.e., the Vocative Case)

When addressing a person or thing directly, the name used must be offset with a comma (or commas if it's mid-sentence). For example:

Jackie, are you leaving so soon?
(Jackie is being addressed directly. Her name is offset with a comma.)
I know your sister, Michael.
(Michael is being addressed directly. His name is offset with a comma.) 

When addressing someone directly, writers should separate the name being used (e.g., John, Mary, my darling, you little rascal, my son) from rest of the sentence using a comma or commas.

The person or thing being addressed is said to be in the vocative case.

In each example below, the person or thing in the vocative case is shaded:

Alan, put your hand up if you do not understand.

(Alan is being addressed. The word Alan is said to be in the vocative case. 

It must be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma.

Where do you think you are going, you little devil?
(Somebody is being addressed as you little devil.

Those words are in the vocative case, and a comma is required.

Absolutely, John, get your skates on.


When somebody is being addressed directly, his/her name must be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma (or commas).

Source: http://www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/commas_with_vocative_case.htm

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I would consider the second option to be more personal.

Finally you could revise it to be different all together, like this:

Jim, you have done InsertSomethingHerefor me. I'm very appreciative of that and I wanted to take a moment to say thank you.

Obviously you will want to structure the sentence to your specific scenario.

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