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Questions tagged [vocatives]

Questions relating to nouns used in direct address, such as “John, what do you think you’re doing there?” or “Someone wants to see you now, Mr. President,” or in the archaic “O ye of little faith!”

10
votes
2answers
584 views

Ad­dress­ing boys and girls dif­fer­ently in (Vic­to­rian?) English schools

In Jane Eyre by Char­lotte Brontë I read: “Burns” (such it seems was her name: the girls here were all called by their sur­names, as boys are else­where)... So my ques­tion is: were there (or ...
5
votes
2answers
47k views

“Happy Birthday sir!” or “Happy Birthday, sir!”?

Which one is grammatically correct? Happy Birthday sir! Happy Birthday, sir! And where should I put "sir" in this sentence? Congratulations for completing another trip around the sun! Also suggest ...
7
votes
3answers
772 views

Is ‘USAers’ just an ordinary English word today?

I saw the word, ‘USAers’ in the lead copy of Reuter’s news titled ‘Gippered’ in Time magazine (September 6), which says: “More than 1/3 of USAers say they are worse off under Bam. Warning-sign ...
1
vote
1answer
129 views

Vocative case and plural - 'thou art' [duplicate]

In a previous question about the English of the KJV a link was helpfully supplied and I read the following The vocative case is used when directly addressing a person with a noun identifying the ...
0
votes
1answer
186 views

He “called himself Bob” / “said his name was Bob.” Natural wording? Alternative expressions?

I think the sentence "When Alice met him, he said his name was Bob. (But I suspect it may be a pseudonym.)" makes sense. But I'd like to know if there are more natural expressions, or alternatives. ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

“Madam President” vs “Mrs. President”

Last year I noticed some T-shirts for fans of the female presidential candidate in the US: However, there is a female US President in one of my favourite TV shows, who is always addressed "Madam ...
0
votes
1answer
132 views

Commas, commas everywhere and not a proper comma placed!

I'm a complete imbecile when it comes to grammar. Could someone kindly help me properly place the punctuation in this sentence: Hi, I'm a lost cause, people! Hi; I'm a lost cause, people! Hi! I'm a ...
3
votes
1answer
149 views

Keeping Up with the Joneses, Vocative Edition

TLDR: This question is about vocatives. Is there a rule to explain how to know whether you can drop a person’s name when addessing someone just by their title alone, or whether that form is ...
2
votes
1answer
145 views

Vocative comma or comma splice?

If I wanted to start a sentence with "hey" and follow that with someone's name, would a comma go after the name too? Here's what I mean: 1: "Hey, Thomas, I'm staying home today." 2: "Hey, ...
0
votes
1answer
660 views

Vocative comma before “all”?

When using the vocative comma, would it go before "all"? "Thank you, all, again!" Or would it be without the comma? "Thank you all again!" Is this different from "everybody"?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“You Guys” or “You, Guys” [closed]

The simple rules of using a comma before and after the vocative case state that you write, for example, What do you, Mark, think about the book? But what about “you guys” / “you, guys”? Or, for that ...
4
votes
2answers
638 views

What case is used for pronouns in the vocative?

A coauthor and I are drafting a letter, and we're not yet sure whom we're going to be sending it to. So I sent a draft to my coauthor, which started Dear [whomever]: Now, that line in a letter is ...
5
votes
3answers
107k views

Should I put a comma after “Thank you”? [duplicate]

A coworker replied to an earlier email from me with some very good news. I wanted to thank him for his help. I was hoping to start with Thank you, Jim. That is wonderful news... OR is it ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Comma issue: noun of direct address in the middle of the sentence after conjunction

Another nitpicky comma question that I hope you will help me to resolve. How does one need to punctuate the noun of direct address (or vocative) in the middle of the sentence that goes directly after ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

Is vocative comma rule vanishing?

According to some grammars[1][2] and CMS... "Interjections and vocative should be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas". The vocative case [1] is used to indicate direct address (i.e., ...
0
votes
1answer
106 views

Brothers everywhere, raise… or Brothers, everywhere raise…?

In the song "Warriors of the World United," how should one punctuate the following sentence? Brothers everywhere, raise your hands into the air! or Brothers, everywhere raise your hands into ...
3
votes
2answers
872 views

What's the subject in “You, go to the store”?

In the following sentence, what is the function of "You"? You, go to the store. I know the sentence is in the imperative mood, and that generally means there is an implicit second-person subject. ...
18
votes
6answers
3k views

Why can I use 'guys' in the plural but not in the singular vocatively

We went to a pizza restaurant the other evening and the waiter insisted on referring to us as 'guys'. I responded by calling him 'guy'. 'What kind of beer have you got, guy?' My wife said she ...
1
vote
1answer
307 views

What is the difference between a vocative and an epithet?

I've seen them used in almost similar circumstances, and I'm not sure what the difference is. The victim cried out in despair. He was a real idiot. Are those vocatives, epithets, or neither? ...
6
votes
3answers
5k views

Comma after address

Here's an example: Chocolate lovers rejoice! Chocolate lovers, rejoice! To my understanding, the first one says that chocolate lovers are rejoicing and in the second one, we are asking the ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

Where did we get “buster” as in “Look here, buster”?

Americans, at least, have for some time used buster in speech or dialogue as a generic form of address. It has a range of tonalities, from light to affectionate to grimly confrontational. Listen, ...
4
votes
3answers
192k views

Do you always have to put a comma before someone's name? [duplicate]

Example: (1) Hello John. (2) Hello, John? (3) How are you today John? (4) How are you today, John? (5) I wish I could John. (6) I wish I could, John. Must there always be a comma before ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What is the vocative expression we can use to attract the attention of someone whose name or surname we don't know?

I was reading one of my old English Language books when I came across this: "Madame, Señora, Signora, etc, are foreign vocative expressions and they have no equivalent, in either ...
-2
votes
1answer
3k views

Omitting commas in brief statements

In a brief exhortation followed by the name of a sports team, such as "Let's go, Dodgers!" or "Go, Phillies!" is it ever appropriate to omit the comma?
6
votes
4answers
2k views

The vocative case and comma splices

I've been trying to find an answer to this question for some time, and have finally decided to... well, buck up some courage and ask. In sentences like these two "Hello, Mary, how are you?" "Don'...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

What is the connotation of the word 'O'? [closed]

What is the author trying to convey with the word 'O' in the following: He has told you, O man, what is good;
16
votes
5answers
249k views

Is it acceptable to drop the comma in “Thanks, John”? [duplicate]

I grew up learning that the comma must be placed there, but it seems like an unnecessary interruption in a phrase that isn't ever spoken that way.