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!”

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determining vocative commas in speech

I have a question regarding vocative commas when placed at the end of a sentence. If I said the following series of words, "I will go to the wedding chapel when I am in Las Vegas Jonathan (paused ...
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Addressing a person by occupation

In Dorothy Gladys “Dodie” Smith’s 1956 children’s novel, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, the author writes: But though you can call a cook ‘Cook’, the one thing you cannot call a butler is ‘Butler’ ...
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45 views

On the capitalization of familial honorifics

We all know that Mom and Dad are capitalized when used in dialogue as a substitute for a name. But is it the same for big sister, big brother, big sis, and big bro? One example of the sentence would ...
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Is it necessary to use a vocative comma in an email, specifically a professional email?

I received an email this morning from a candidate for an Executive Director position. Thanks Kim. This is how the email began. It immediately made a negative impression and caused me to feel ...
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1answer
83 views

Different forms of addressing parents

In my language there is an older form in which you use kinship term in the middle of a sentence, in which normally you would use "you". Here's how this would look translated to English Normal -> "Dad,...
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2answers
671 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 ...
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230 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 ...
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813 views

Dad, auntie, nana, grandpa, etc… What is this group of words used as informal family nicknames called?

When explaining to someone learning French when one has to use vous (the “formal you” pronoun) or tu (the “informal you” pronoun), there is a basic rule of thumb I find useful: Vous — Used when ...
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2answers
5k 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 ...
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1answer
155 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 ...
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1answer
267 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. ...
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157 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 ...
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179 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, ...
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1k 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"?
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4k 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 ...
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160k 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 ...
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1answer
6k 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., ...
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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 ...
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1answer
126 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 ...
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1k 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. ...
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55k 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 ...
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6answers
4k 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 ...
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1answer
350 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? ...
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3answers
886 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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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5k 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, ...
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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 ...
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6k 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 ...
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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?
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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'...
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3answers
956 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 ...
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10k 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;
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5answers
299k 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.