Spiffing y'all up, one typo at a time
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.
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.
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!