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Take the following sentence I found myself typing in an email today:

Thanks for the update, Mark, good to hear.

That first comma had me hesitating for an embarrassing length of time. Consider the alternative:

Thanks for the update Mark, good to hear.

Honestly both look strange to me now that I'm overthinking it. Is there a rule I can defer to so I can make this easy and stop thinking about it?

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Yes, you'd want a comma before Mark. It's the vocative case.

The comma after "Mark" makes a run-on sentence, however. Assuming the subject is understood, "good to hear" stands on its own. It would still be better to be explicit about the subject. So the whole thing would be better written as, "Thanks for the update, Mark. That's good to hear." Alternatively, it could be written as, "Thanks for the update, Mark; that's good to hear."

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  • Please don't answer duplicates.
    – tchrist
    Jan 3 '19 at 23:46

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