Eating Grandpa

I talked about this recently with one of my lovely clients (also a friend) and so since she reads this blog she will no doubt know what the subject is today and I hope she won’t mind. It’s not just her but recently I have come across this a lot… and no it is not a post about cannibalism!

It’s about commas.

Do you use a comma before a name in dialogue? Example:

So what time are you getting here Jane?

So what time are you getting here, Jane?

I would use the comma here, but, if it is absolutely clear you are talking to Jane then not always… so I might say “See you later Jane.” Strictly speaking, it might be better with a comma to be clear… but where I would put a comma in for sure is when it could be misinterpreted, which is the same rule for any commas. While the main use of the comma, like this, is to separate a sentence clause that could be removed and the sentence still work, (and not it is not just used for creating a pause!)… it is also needed to modify the meaning of the sentence…so the one where you NEED that comma is here:

“So what time are we eating Dad?” … er see what I mean?

“So what time are we eating, Dad?”

Rules of grammar are not always set in stone and, in fact, are defined by rules of common usage and do change… but be aware of this and if in any doubt, my rule is to use the comma, to be clear you are talking to Dad not planning to eat him…


Here is another example I saw in another client’s work:

“So did you know that lad?” So here are we talking about ‘that lad’ as the subject, did you know him? Or is it a response to something someone says…

“He was adopted.”

“Did you know that, lad?” as in he is asking the lad if he was aware of the fact…

So care where you insert those commas folks, if any ambiguity, pop it in!

That is all for now. 

Have a fantastic day!

Oh and don’t eat Dad! Or Grandpa for that matter! 

(Strictly speaking here if using the word grandpa instead of his name (proper noun) then you should also use a capital G in Grandpa… so even this poster I found is not quite right! ) Urgh! Grammar eh?




1 Comment

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One response to “Eating Grandpa

  1. Janice

    Nicely put Debz! I’m constantly inserting commas and then removing them… and then putting them back in! Good to read this succinct guide!

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