Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The common comma(?)

"Hello, Readers."

"Hi Noel."

Either will do, but the former is more formal...and thus less common. Each looks OK, though, doesn't it? And this is because some things in the world of words can take the lesson of art: in this case, omitting the comma for a greeting consisting of a mere two syllables "looks and feels right," indeed is accepted almost everywhere; whereas, as in "Hello, Readers," four syllables just seems to call out for a comma. See if you can get the feel of this basic artistic-literary intuition. But should you "feel" to go with no comma in that instance -- e.g., "Hello Clytemnestra" -- you should not be afraid to do so.

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