Where is it appropriate to insert a comma when putting a persons name in the middle of a sentence, such as when writing an email or letter. Is it really before AND after?


Thank you for writing me back, Michelle, and all the best to you in 2019!

I really appreciate you taking the time to meet with me, Michelle, but I hope we don't have to meet under these circumstances again.

Is this correct?

I feel like I use commas too often and this is one scenario where I always question myself.

2 Answers 2


According to the eminently accessible Indiana University East writing center website. Commas are used in this fashion to indicate Direct Address:


Rule: When a speaker in a sentence names the person to whom he is speaking, this addressing of his audience is called direct address. Direct address is indicated by the use of a comma or commas, depending upon its placement within the sentence.

  1. I think, John, you’re wrong.
  2. John, I think you’re wrong.
  3. I think you’re wrong, John.

See this and more for yourself at https://www.iue.edu/hss/writingcenter/documents/Commas.pdf


It is an example of vocative case. Names that are being addressed directly are said to be in vocative cases. It is always treated as parenthetical text set off by comas. Comma.guide dealing with vocative comma tells us that in language like Latin the vocative case would involve changes to the ending of nouns and various other tortures. But in English, we can simply mark the noun off with commas before and after; job done.

Michelle , the name is used exactly in vocative case.

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