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I have found similar questions but couldn't find an answer to fit mine, so I am sorry if I have asked a question which has already been asked.

This is an example of the sentence:

"Sit down please John!"

Should it be "Sit down, please, John!" or "Sit down please, John!" or "Sit down, please John!"?

Thank you.

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    Possible duplicate of Is the vocative comma a recent thing? – FumbleFingers Oct 12 '19 at 12:10
  • I would prefer the first version, and definitely not the third. – Kate Bunting Oct 12 '19 at 12:27
  • It's certainly very plausible in speech. Should the best way to show it in writing (a) seek to adhere to a hard-to-find 'rule' drawn up by someone perhaps interested more in the rules per se than in how useful people would find them, or (b) seek to use commas in such a way as may most faithfully represent actual speech (but may be subjective and liable to misconstrual)? I can picture a no-pause << Sit down please John. >> but might chicken out with the probably less contentious << Sit down please, John. >> There might be a hint of a pause, and please John may be slightly garden-pathy. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 12 '19 at 13:06
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Eats shoots and leaves.... Is this a hungry gunman or a description of a panda bear? It depends where you put the comma:

Eats, shoots and leaves - definitely a hungry assassin.

Eats shoots, and leaves - a description applicable to a panda bear in a zoo in Oxford (See Oxford comma).

Eats shoots and leaves - applicable to a less well educated panda bear that has never been to Oxford.

With regard to your question:

  • "Sit down, please, John!" - No - overly cluttered and difficult to read.
  • "Sit down please, John!" - probably a general comment to the room, with a forceful direct reference to John (Who is being especially disruptive...),from someone with some authority over John.

  • "Sit down, please John!" - probably a general statement to the room, but from someone with less authority over John (Pleading for him to comply).

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