Long-time lurker, first-time poster.

When addressing someone with a term of endearment and a greeting, how does comma placement work? The reason why other questions didn't work in answering this was that they would never directly fix my predicament.

I understand that hypocorisms (not nicknames) are not capitalized as they are general. I don't understand if a greeting gets a comma after or before the name. Especially since, if it's before the name it looks like a non-essential clause.

For example:

Hey, pretty lady, you seem like fun.

Hey pretty lady, you seem like fun.

  • 1
    In your examples, I’d punctuate to my own rhythm. That is, they sound like speech, so I’d mimic the speaker's pattern. Welcome to ELU, by the way.
    – Pam
    Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 20:45

1 Answer 1


"Hello, Alexis, welcome to ELU." In the sentence I just typed, I am addressing you (Alexis) directly. That is referred to as direct address, which is offset by commas when in the middle of a sentence. (See rules in link below.)


So, the placement of commas in the first sentence...

Hey, pretty lady, you seem like fun.

...before and after the direct address ("pretty lady") is correct.

Always use a comma when directly addressing someone/something, regardless of whether the direct address is at the beginning or end of the sentence. If the direct address is in the middle of a sentence, use a pair of commas to set off the direct address.


That being said, leaving commas out of greetings (with direct addresses in them) seems to be a common error that is, perhaps, becoming more prevalent.

Example sentences:

Hey, honey, pass the honey.

This chair goes over there, sweetie.

Would you like a chocolate bar, little one?

“Hey, buddy, pass the chicken.”

“I’m distracting you, little turd blossom.”

“Hey, dude, check out that chick.”

“Hand over that phone, jerk!”

See #7: https://dianetibert.com/2015/03/09/when-to-capitalize-names-that-are-not-names/.

Some examples aren't so endearing. See more examples in the link below. Have a nice day.



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