Discussion:
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"?
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Ant
2020-02-12 06:05:28 UTC
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Hello.

Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?

Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
--
"I started making houses for ants because I thought they needed
somewhere to live. Then I made them shoes and hats. It was a fantasy
world I escaped to where my dyslexia didn't hold me back and my teachers
couldn't criticize me. That's how my career as a micro-sculptor began."
--Willard Wigan
Note: A fixed width font (Courier, Monospace, etc.) is required to see this signature correctly.
/\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://aqfl.net & http://antfarm.home.dhs.org /
/ /\ /\ \ http://antfarm.ma.cx. Please nuke ANT if replying by e-mail.
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Athel Cornish-Bowden
2020-02-12 06:11:40 UTC
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Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Without context the question is meaningless.

Until this moment I haven't written "Hi Ant," in my life.
--
athel
Jerry Friedman
2020-02-12 17:07:20 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Without context the question is meaningless.
Until this moment I haven't written "Hi Ant," in my life.
The question is about greetings /like/ "Hi, Ant," Have you ever
written anything such as "Hi, Joe," or "Hello, Mary,"?
--
Jerry Friedman
Stefan Ram
2020-02-12 17:22:49 UTC
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Post by Jerry Friedman
The question is about greetings /like/ "Hi, Ant," Have you ever
written anything such as "Hi, Joe," or "Hello, Mary,"?
I think it depends on the style guide one is using.

For such phrases I peeked into my corpus and found:

|Septimus: Hello, Arthur! Pleased to meet you.
"Studies in Classic American Literature" - D. H. Lawrence

|»Hi, Juno, lass ­ hi, old girl; down, Daph, down,« said
|Wardle, caressing the dogs.
"The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club" - Charles Dickens

|FZ: Hi, Phyllis, why don't you want to take your clothes off
|with the monster?
Lyrics - Frank Zappa (not sure whether he's the author of the
written form)

|I made fast and laid down under Jim's nose on the raft, and
|begun to gap, and stretch my fists out against Jim, and says:
|»Hello, Jim, have I been asleep? Why didn't you stir me up?«
"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" - Mark Twain

(My search was written in such a way that it also would have
found other usages of punctuation, such as "Hello Jim.".)
Peter Moylan
2020-02-13 09:35:07 UTC
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On Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 11:10:47 PM UTC-7, Athel
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't
it be a period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Without context the question is meaningless.
Until this moment I haven't written "Hi Ant," in my life.
The question is about greetings /like/ "Hi, Ant," Have you ever
written anything such as "Hi, Joe," or "Hello, Mary,"?
Speaking for myself: never. But I suspect that this is really a question
about whether the comma should go inside or outside the quotation marks.

I have certainly written, and probably said, things like
"Hello, Mary", he said.
but that's a whole nother situation, where the comma is not included in
what he said.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Ant
2020-02-12 22:21:15 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Without context the question is meaningless.
Until this moment I haven't written "Hi Ant," in my life.
Well, I see it in job e-mails.
--
"I started making houses for ants because I thought they needed
somewhere to live. Then I made them shoes and hats. It was a fantasy
world I escaped to where my dyslexia didn't hold me back and my teachers
couldn't criticize me. That's how my career as a micro-sculptor began."
--Willard Wigan
Note: A fixed width font (Courier, Monospace, etc.) is required to see this signature correctly.
/\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://aqfl.net & http://antfarm.home.dhs.org /
/ /\ /\ \ http://antfarm.ma.cx. Please nuke ANT if replying by e-mail.
| |o o| |
\ _ /
( )
John Varela
2020-02-13 00:23:32 UTC
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Post by Ant
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Without context the question is meaningless.
Until this moment I haven't written "Hi Ant," in my life.
Well, I see it in job e-mails.
If it's a salutation in a written communication, then of course it
would take a comma or a semicolon.

Dear sir:

Hi, Aunt Mary,
--
John Varela
Ant
2020-02-13 22:57:04 UTC
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Post by John Varela
Post by Ant
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Without context the question is meaningless.
Until this moment I haven't written "Hi Ant," in my life.
Well, I see it in job e-mails.
If it's a salutation in a written communication, then of course it
would take a comma or a semicolon.
Hi, Aunt Mary,
Interesting for the comma part. I thought it would be a period. I know
"Dear Sir or Madam:" part.
--
"I started making houses for ants because I thought they needed
somewhere to live. Then I made them shoes and hats. It was a fantasy
world I escaped to where my dyslexia didn't hold me back and my teachers
couldn't criticize me. That's how my career as a micro-sculptor began."
--Willard Wigan
Note: A fixed width font (Courier, Monospace, etc.) is required to see this signature correctly.
/\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://aqfl.net & http://antfarm.home.dhs.org /
/ /\ /\ \ http://antfarm.ma.cx. Please nuke ANT if replying by e-mail.
| |o o| |
\ _ /
( )
Jerry Friedman
2020-02-13 23:14:51 UTC
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Post by Ant
Post by John Varela
Post by Ant
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Without context the question is meaningless.
Until this moment I haven't written "Hi Ant," in my life.
Well, I see it in job e-mails.
If it's a salutation in a written communication, then of course it
would take a comma or a semicolon.
Hi, Aunt Mary,
Interesting for the comma part. I thought it would be a period. I know
"Dear Sir or Madam:" part.
Well, I prefer a period after "Hi, Aunt Mary", especially if it's the
the only thing on the line.
--
Jerry Friedman
Peter Moylan
2020-02-13 09:38:54 UTC
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Post by Ant
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't
it be a period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Without context the question is meaningless.
Until this moment I haven't written "Hi Ant," in my life.
Well, I see it in job e-mails.
Please ignore my previous comment in this thread. Now that we know that
you're talking about the salutation at the beginning of a letter, that
changes the question completely.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
RH Draney
2020-02-12 07:57:52 UTC
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Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Like more conventional salutations such as "Dear Sir," or "To whom it
may concern," the greeting is a vocative and indicates that what follows
is intended for the person addressed....r
Jerry Friedman
2020-02-12 17:06:00 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Like more conventional salutations such as "Dear Sir," or "To whom it
may concern," the greeting is a vocative and indicates that what follows
is intended for the person addressed....r
I'd say the comma some people use at the end of "Hi, Ant," is a
holdover from "Dear sir," and such, where it's correct. However,
we usually punctuate "Hi, Ant" as a sentence in itself, with a
period at the end, and there's no reason to change that at the
beginning of a letter.

"Hi, Ant, I hope you're doing well." is pretty common and I don't object
to it, but I have a mild objection to

"Hi, Ant,

"What do you think of Doe's latest proposal?"

By the way, "To whom it may concern" isn't a vocative.
--
Jerry Friedman
b***@aol.com
2020-02-12 18:03:43 UTC
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Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by RH Draney
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Like more conventional salutations such as "Dear Sir," or "To whom it
may concern," the greeting is a vocative and indicates that what follows
is intended for the person addressed....r
I'd say the comma some people use at the end of "Hi, Ant," is a
holdover from "Dear sir," and such, where it's correct. However,
we usually punctuate "Hi, Ant" as a sentence in itself,
Which it is not.
Post by Jerry Friedman
with a
period at the end, and there's no reason to change that at the
beginning of a letter.
The reason could be that it's an interjection, and as such, should be
followed by an exclamation mark.
Post by Jerry Friedman
"Hi, Ant, I hope you're doing well." is pretty common and I don't object
to it, but I have a mild objection to
"Hi, Ant,
"What do you think of Doe's latest proposal?"
By the way, "To whom it may concern" isn't a vocative.
Indeed - if anything, a dative.
Post by Jerry Friedman
--
Jerry Friedman
Quinn C
2020-02-12 18:39:18 UTC
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Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Jerry Friedman
I'd say the comma some people use at the end of "Hi, Ant," is a
holdover from "Dear sir," and such, where it's correct. However,
we usually punctuate "Hi, Ant" as a sentence in itself,
Which it is not.
But it can be a self-contained utterance.
--
... English-speaking people have managed to get along a good many
centuries with the present supply of pronouns; ... It is so old and
venerable an argument ... it's equivalent was used when gas, railways
and steamboats were proposed. -- Findlay (OH) Jeffersonian (1875)
Jerry Friedman
2020-02-12 18:44:36 UTC
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Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by RH Draney
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Like more conventional salutations such as "Dear Sir," or "To whom it
may concern," the greeting is a vocative and indicates that what follows
is intended for the person addressed....r
I'd say the comma some people use at the end of "Hi, Ant," is a
holdover from "Dear sir," and such, where it's correct. However,
we usually punctuate "Hi, Ant" as a sentence in itself,
Which it is not.
It's what /The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language/ calls a "minor
sentence", like "No way" and "If you'll just follow me, please."
I don't think that term is widely known, though. Anyway, such
things are punctuated like sentences.
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Jerry Friedman
with a
period at the end, and there's no reason to change that at the
beginning of a letter.
The reason could be that it's an interjection, and as such, should be
followed by an exclamation mark.
...

English doesn't have a rule like that (though it may appear in some
textbooks for all I know). "Hi, Ant" can be followed with an
exclamation mark or a period, or probably other punctuation marks.
--
Jerry Friedman
b***@aol.com
2020-02-12 20:34:27 UTC
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Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by RH Draney
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Like more conventional salutations such as "Dear Sir," or "To whom it
may concern," the greeting is a vocative and indicates that what follows
is intended for the person addressed....r
I'd say the comma some people use at the end of "Hi, Ant," is a
holdover from "Dear sir," and such, where it's correct. However,
we usually punctuate "Hi, Ant" as a sentence in itself,
Which it is not.
It's what /The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language/ calls a "minor
sentence", like "No way" and "If you'll just follow me, please."
I don't think that term is widely known, though.
I didn't know it, and find it confusing because I was taught a
sentence had to contain a subject and a predicate - offhand, I'd
have tought it referred to a basic form of that arrangement, e.g.
"She likes him".
Post by Jerry Friedman
Anyway, such
things are punctuated like sentences.
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Jerry Friedman
with a
period at the end, and there's no reason to change that at the
beginning of a letter.
The reason could be that it's an interjection, and as such, should be
followed by an exclamation mark.
...
English doesn't have a rule like that (though it may appear in some
textbooks for all I know).
You're right, there doesn't seem to be a rule to that effect. There's one
in French, which probably misled me.
Post by Jerry Friedman
"Hi, Ant" can be followed with an
exclamation mark or a period, or probably other punctuation marks.
--
Jerry Friedman
David Kleinecke
2020-02-12 21:26:59 UTC
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Post by b***@aol.com
I didn't know it, and find it confusing because I was taught a
sentence had to contain a subject and a predicate - offhand, I'd
have tought it referred to a basic form of that arrangement, e.g.
"She likes him".
I hope you have not reported what you were taught precisely.

Imperative sentences have never needed a subject:
Stop!

More to the point:
The more the merrier.
b***@aol.com
2020-02-13 01:34:51 UTC
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Post by David Kleinecke
Post by b***@aol.com
I didn't know it, and find it confusing because I was taught a
sentence had to contain a subject and a predicate - offhand, I'd
have tought it referred to a basic form of that arrangement, e.g.
"She likes him".
I hope you have not reported what you were taught precisely.
Stop!
True, though the subject is implied - and at least, the sentence has (is)
a verb.
Post by David Kleinecke
The more the merrier.
An idiom with an elliptical construction, not an actual sentence, IMO.
Peter Moylan
2020-02-13 09:44:54 UTC
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Post by b***@aol.com
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by b***@aol.com
I didn't know it, and find it confusing because I was taught a
sentence had to contain a subject and a predicate - offhand, I'd
have tought it referred to a basic form of that arrangement, e.g.
"She likes him".
I hope you have not reported what you were taught precisely.
Stop!
True, though the subject is implied - and at least, the sentence has (is)
a verb.
Post by David Kleinecke
The more the merrier.
An idiom with an elliptical construction, not an actual sentence, IMO.
Here's an example with two sentences:

Will you be coming?
Not today.

I was probably taught at school that a sentence must contain a verb,
which would disqualify my second sentence. But that was over half a
century ago, and the definitions have evolved since then.

Besides, what I was taught at school was almost certainly an
over-simplification intended for the ears of a ten-year-old. When
teaching primary school you have to dumb down the explanations a little,
for example by omitting special cases, in order not to drown the pupil
in too much detail.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
David Kleinecke
2020-02-13 18:34:23 UTC
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Post by b***@aol.com
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by b***@aol.com
I didn't know it, and find it confusing because I was taught a
sentence had to contain a subject and a predicate - offhand, I'd
have tought it referred to a basic form of that arrangement, e.g.
"She likes him".
I hope you have not reported what you were taught precisely.
Stop!
True, though the subject is implied - and at least, the sentence has (is)
a verb.
Post by David Kleinecke
The more the merrier.
An idiom with an elliptical construction, not an actual sentence, IMO.
The pattern is
The X-er the Y-er
and it occurs a few times in every thousand English sentences. X and Y
can be almost anything.

The point is one cannot generate all of English if one's first
phrase structure rule is
S -> NP VP
even if you make room for adjuncts.
Jerry Friedman
2020-02-13 18:42:45 UTC
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Post by David Kleinecke
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by b***@aol.com
I didn't know it, and find it confusing because I was taught a
sentence had to contain a subject and a predicate - offhand, I'd
have tought it referred to a basic form of that arrangement, e.g.
"She likes him".
I hope you have not reported what you were taught precisely.
Stop!
True, though the subject is implied - and at least, the sentence has (is)
a verb.
Post by David Kleinecke
The more the merrier.
An idiom with an elliptical construction, not an actual sentence, IMO.
The pattern is
The X-er the Y-er
and it occurs a few times in every thousand English sentences. X and Y
can be almost anything.
The point is one cannot generate all of English if one's first
phrase structure rule is
S -> NP VP
even if you make room for adjuncts.
Something we're currently discussing at my college, in reference to
adjunct professors.

In regard to not generating all of English with NP VP, how about
"What a brilliant idea!" For that matter, how about "How about"?
--
Jerry Friedman
David Kleinecke
2020-02-13 20:04:49 UTC
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Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by b***@aol.com
I didn't know it, and find it confusing because I was taught a
sentence had to contain a subject and a predicate - offhand, I'd
have tought it referred to a basic form of that arrangement, e.g.
"She likes him".
I hope you have not reported what you were taught precisely.
Stop!
True, though the subject is implied - and at least, the sentence has (is)
a verb.
Post by David Kleinecke
The more the merrier.
An idiom with an elliptical construction, not an actual sentence, IMO.
The pattern is
The X-er the Y-er
and it occurs a few times in every thousand English sentences. X and Y
can be almost anything.
The point is one cannot generate all of English if one's first
phrase structure rule is
S -> NP VP
even if you make room for adjuncts.
Something we're currently discussing at my college, in reference to
adjunct professors.
In regard to not generating all of English with NP VP, how about
"What a brilliant idea!" For that matter, how about "How about"?
If you look at transcriptions of real speech you see that are
many different examples of non-NP-VP sentences. But most of them
can be explained away by reconstructing an ellipsis. The glory
about "The more the merrier" is that one can't explain it as an
ellipsis.

I am, systematically, suspicious of all explanations by ellipsis.
Ellipsis often is surely a semantic explanation and is used to
cover some flaw in one's syntactic explanation.
b***@aol.com
2020-02-13 20:34:17 UTC
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Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by b***@aol.com
I didn't know it, and find it confusing because I was taught a
sentence had to contain a subject and a predicate - offhand, I'd
have tought it referred to a basic form of that arrangement, e.g.
"She likes him".
I hope you have not reported what you were taught precisely.
Stop!
True, though the subject is implied - and at least, the sentence has (is)
a verb.
Post by David Kleinecke
The more the merrier.
An idiom with an elliptical construction, not an actual sentence, IMO.
The pattern is
The X-er the Y-er
and it occurs a few times in every thousand English sentences. X and Y
can be almost anything.
The point is one cannot generate all of English if one's first
phrase structure rule is
S -> NP VP
even if you make room for adjuncts.
Something we're currently discussing at my college, in reference to
adjunct professors.
In regard to not generating all of English with NP VP, how about
"What a brilliant idea!" For that matter, how about "How about"?
If you look at transcriptions of real speech you see that are
many different examples of non-NP-VP sentences. But most of them
can be explained away by reconstructing an ellipsis. The glory
about "The more the merrier" is that one can't explain it as an
ellipsis.
Can't it be viewed as a two-elliptical-VP sentence standing for e.g.
"The more we are, the merrier we are"?
Post by David Kleinecke
I am, systematically, suspicious of all explanations by ellipsis.
Ellipsis often is surely a semantic explanation and is used to
cover some flaw in one's syntactic explanation.
Peter T. Daniels
2020-02-12 22:50:23 UTC
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Post by Jerry Friedman
It's what /The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language/ calls a "minor
sentence", like "No way" and "If you'll just follow me, please."
I don't think that term is widely known, though. Anyway, such
things are punctuated like sentences.
For a few months, something called "Small Clause" was all the rage.
Apparently it was a secret code term developed in Cambridge, MA,
and they never bothered to explain it so that non-initiates could
tell what they were talking about.
Ant
2020-02-12 22:22:02 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Thank you for reading and hopefully answering soon. :)
Like more conventional salutations such as "Dear Sir," or "To whom it
may concern," the greeting is a vocative and indicates that what follows
is intended for the person addressed....r
I thought they were supposed to use periods and not commas.
--
"I started making houses for ants because I thought they needed
somewhere to live. Then I made them shoes and hats. It was a fantasy
world I escaped to where my dyslexia didn't hold me back and my teachers
couldn't criticize me. That's how my career as a micro-sculptor began."
--Willard Wigan
Note: A fixed width font (Courier, Monospace, etc.) is required to see this signature correctly.
/\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://aqfl.net & http://antfarm.home.dhs.org /
/ /\ /\ \ http://antfarm.ma.cx. Please nuke ANT if replying by e-mail.
| |o o| |
\ _ /
( )
Garrett Wollman
2020-02-12 15:02:44 UTC
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Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Because it's a personal latter. For a business letter the salutation
would end in a colon.

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | "Act to avoid constraining the future; if you can,
***@bimajority.org| act to remove constraint from the future. This is
Opinions not shared by| a thing you can do, are able to do, to do together."
my employers. | - Graydon Saunders, _A Succession of Bad Days_ (2015)
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2020-02-12 15:31:20 UTC
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Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Ant
Hello.
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Because it's a personal latter. For a business letter the salutation
would end in a colon.
In the USA, yes, but not in the UK, where a comma is usual, or, I
think, in Germany, where they put an exclamation mark (which looks very
weird to my eyes). Of course, in a formal letter one wouldn't have "Hi
Ant" at all.
--
athel
Don P
2020-02-12 20:57:38 UTC
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Post by Ant
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Asked to correct an item of written English, if the questioner did not
also supply the source I for one would not trouble to reply.

This query tests the case, because it so likely Ant invented this
example for himself: i.e. it is not a case of genuine usage (by a
non-pedant, for his actual purpose.) Most people write a quoted greeting
with this structure as: Hello [or other greeting] Comma Name, and
thereafter either a comma or a period, depending on the context in
Reported Speech. A comma between the greeting and the name is usual.
It is incorrect to write " . . . Name,"? (viz. three punctuation marks
in series, comma, quotation mark and question mark.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
s***@gmail.com
2020-02-13 00:00:08 UTC
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Post by Don P
Post by Ant
Why a comma at the end of the greeting like "Hi Ant,"? Shouldn't it be a
period?
Asked to correct an item of written English, if the questioner did not
also supply the source I for one would not trouble to reply.
The construction of this sentence bothers me.
Post by Don P
This query tests the case, because it so likely Ant invented this
example for himself: i.e. it is not a case of genuine usage (by a
non-pedant, for his actual purpose.) Most people write a quoted greeting
with this structure as: Hello [or other greeting] Comma Name, and
thereafter either a comma or a period, depending on the context in
Reported Speech. A comma between the greeting and the name is usual.
It is incorrect to write " . . . Name,"? (viz. three punctuation marks
in series, comma, quotation mark and question mark.)
For somewhat formal writing, yes. A respectful register, if not a high register.

/dps
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