In a sentence "What's up, my friends?" and "Hey, everyone!" should I put a comma between "What's up" and "friends" and "Hey" and "everyone" respectively? Is there a particular set of rules?

  • Certainly it makes a difference if one is asking, "What's up, Edward II?"
    – Sven Yargs
    Dec 29 '17 at 5:50

When a person/persons are addressed directly in a sentence, the nouns so used, proper or common, are called nouns of direct address. The second person pronoun, "you," can also be used to address someone directly, as can the indefinite pronouns "everyone" or "everybody." Nouns/pronouns of direct address are always set off by commas, regardless of where they fall in the sentence.

And that, my friends, is what is wrong with Congress today.

It's time to eat, Grandma! (Try this sentence without the comma!)

John, your taxi is waiting.

Look, you, don't try that again unless you want the toaster to blow up in your face.

Hey, everyone, Maryanne's brought a chocolate cake.

  • This has been covered on ELU before. Though the 'vocative comma' is often necessary for disambiguation, it is rapidly becoming seen as an optional pause-marker in say << "Hello, world!" / "Hello world!" >> Dec 28 '17 at 9:26
  • You didn't bother to stick a couple of your "optional pause-markers" around a parenthetical "say" in your comment, but that doesn't yet make the usage the rule. There is a certain logic in not sticking a comma in the middle of a very short sentence like "Welcome new students," but it's another matter assuming this is a new paradigm and extending it to potentially edible grandparents.
    – KarlG
    Dec 29 '17 at 6:41

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