The Grammar Belle

Spiffing y'all up, one typo at a time

Are you talkin’ to me?

Hey, y’all. Hope you enjoyed your nice holiday weekend. Now it’s time to get back to work and back to educating the masses—or at least the folks who subscribe to this blog. You don’t subscribe yet? Bless your heart. Just click the “Follow TGB” button over there to the left and you’ll get an email each time I post a new blog entry. And, if you’re enjoying what I’m writing, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter and SHARE ME with your friends, family members, and functionally illiterate coworkers. I appreciate it so much!

Now on to today’s topic: the direct address comma. Did I scare y’all with the official grammatical terminology? Don’t let that bother you. Please do let the world’s complete denial that the DAC even exists bother you. This one ranks high on my list of Most Annoying Punctuation Pet Peeves.

I am sure you’ve all seen this floating around on Pinterest or Facebook:

The whole point of it isn’t to dissuade you from familial cannibalism (which I don’t endorse, by the way). It’s a semi-humorous way to get y’all to embrace the direct address comma.

The way I remember it is that when I’m talking to someone, it’s helpful if they’re actually looking at me. That comma serves as enough of a pause to get the listener’s attention before I have to finally say his or her name and really get his/her attention. For example, when I’m asking my girls to pick up their breakfast dishes, as I have to almost every morning, it gives them time to snap into action before I lose it:
Please take your dirty bowls to the kitchen (comma = PAUSE long enough for them to look up at me before I blow my top), LADIES.

Now, I’m not always on the brink of child abuse when I use my beloved DAC. Sometimes I’m wishing a friend well: Happy birthday, Courtney! Other times I’m cheering for one of my favorite teams:

You’ll find that you need to use a DAC—or a pair of them—many times in a typical day. If you’re in doubt, just read what you’ve written to see if the person to whom you’re writing is named. Then, if by taking out that name the sentence still reads correctly, you need a DAC! For example:

Have a wonderful day, Sue! (Omit “Sue” and you still have a good sentence.)
Here’s wishing a great day to my daughters! (Omit “my daughters” and it’s a mess. No DAC needed!)

Thanks, loyal TGB readers, for joining me once again. Go, Rangers!

6 comments on “Are you talkin’ to me?

  1. julie
    September 4, 2012

    When I read “functionally illiterate coworkers”, I almost spit my tea at my monitor, Grammar Belle.

  2. The Grammar Belle
    September 4, 2012

    Sorry ’bout that, Julie! (I am very impressed by your use of the DAC in your comment, by the way.)

  3. C-Rob
    September 5, 2012

    I’m getting a kick out of your blog, Brandy. It reminds me of everything that I’ve forgotten through the years. Thanks for the birthday wishes–I feel kind of famous making your latest post!

    • The Grammar Belle
      September 5, 2012

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it! At your age, you’ll find you need more and more reminding . . . and it was the least I could do for semi-forgetting.

  4. Pingback: At least I’m consistent. | The Grammar Belle

  5. Pingback: WSWH: A Fish Tale | The Grammar Belle

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This entry was posted on September 4, 2012 by in Punctuation.

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