1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    'Hi, there' or Hi there'?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, May 25, 2014.

    Do we place a comma after 'Hi' and 'Hello' in these two examples? And should a period or a comma follow 'there'?

    Hi there,

    [body of text ...]

    Thanks

    Joe
    ------------
    Hello there,

    [body of text ...]

    Thanks

    Joe
    -------------
    Period or comma after 'Hi' and 'Hello' in the absence of a name?


    Hi. (or: Hi,)

    [body of text ...]

    Thanks

    Joe




    Thanks :)
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2014
  2. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    I've seen it written both "Hi there," and "Hi, there." I'm not sure what the "official" rule is, but I don't think anyone will kill you for it.

    As for the last one, you would follow with a comma, and also, if memory serves, after the "Thanks":

    Hi,
    I'm writing to inform you...
    Thanks,
    Joe
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yeah, I would write the email the way Thornesque has it.

    As for the comma, I wouldn't include it, so it would read "Hi there." I don't use commas between the "Hi" and the name of the person I'm writing to. In fact, I've never seen it done that way. Also, you wouldn't use a period because "Hi there" is a greeting. A period implies that the phrase is the first line in the body of the email.
     
  4. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thanks, everyone.

    That being said, atop an email, I think, then, that a comma as you say (not a period) would follow these greetings:

    Good morning, maia,

    Body of text...

    Thanks,

    Joe
    -----------------
    Greetings, Gary,

    Body of text....

    Thank you,

    Pete

    ****The comma, not a period, seems to follow 'Thanks' and 'Thank you' in office email correspondences.*** Agreed?
     
  5. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Yes, agreed with your most recent examples.
     
  6. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thanks, Thornesque.
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I wouldn't use commas in the greeting. It unnecessarily clutters the page. A simple "Good morning Bob" or "Greetings Bob" is good enough.
     
  8. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Actually, as far as I'm aware, this is incorrect. You're meant to insert a comma when addressing a person, immediately before using their name. To be correct, it has to be, "Good morning, Bob," or "Greetings, Bob." As far as I'm aware, it's not stylistic, but right vs. wrong.
     
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  9. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    In any other circumstance I would agree with you. But so many people leave out the comma that it's considered accepted usage for greetings in emails/letters. If you look at guides that mention writing emails/letters, you'll see that they also leave out the comma.
     
  10. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Every single one of the people I know have said something along the lines of, "Oh, yeah, I seen that movie last weekend." The use of the word "seen," in this example, is incorrect. But so many people say it...does that mean it should be an accepted means of communication?

    I'm not trying to start an argument - don't get me wrong. If someone leaves out the comma, I'm not going to dismiss them as unprofessional, stupid or any other potentially negative adjective (though, personally, I will notice). I'm just saying that, "Everyone does it, now," isn't necessarily a good excuse to stop doing things the right way.
     
  11. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, it should. The rules of grammar should change to reflect actual usage, not the other way around. A good example is the singular they. Saying something like
    may seem incorrect to some, but so many people use the singular they that it's only a matter of time before it becomes accepted usage. (Part of the reason for this change is that using the singular they is gender neutral.)

    If you want a more recent example of a case where the rules actually did change, consider the word "reference." Up until fairly recently, some dictionaries maintained that it was incorrect to use "reference" as a verb (the correct verb form would be "to refer to"). But so many people, and respected journals and newspapers even, used it as a verb that all dictionaries now consider that correct usage.
     
  12. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Interesting, and slightly off-topic. I just read advice on how to get around this incorrect usage of singular/plural hookups in a piece of writing. Simple, really.

    Say: If PEOPLE want to be better writers, they should read a lot.

    This gets over the problem of neutral gender. You don't have to choose between 'he' or 'she', and you can correctly use 'they.'

    This trick doesn't call attention to itself, because it produces a natural flow and employs the same word choice as before—only in slightly different form.
     
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  13. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    Doing it the way I've learnt it (and do it) it would be like this:



    Example 1:

    Hi there,

    [body of text ...]

    Thanks,
    Joe


    Example 2:

    Hi,

    [body of text ...]

    Thanks,
    Joe




    Two rules are at play here:

    Firstly commas are used at the end of a lot of words and short phrases in letters, specifically after the Hi/Hey/Hello/Welcome at the beginning and the Thanks/ Thank you /Cheers/Sincerely at the end, presumably (the way I've interpreted it) to "bind" these lines together with the following to show that they are related and that the first part isn't a full sentence of its own, and it's become the norm in (formal) letter writing.

    The second relates to interjections in most forms of text (but for the most part not in letters and poetry where the lines are broken up manually by the writer and the punctuation isn't as standardised/locked); a comma is used when an interjection is immediately followed by a proper name or title ("Hi, John.", "Hello, mister." etc.). This may seem like an arbitraly and useless rule that's also hard to remember until you think about the difference between phrases like "Welcome, Dan." and "Welcome Dan." (in the first the person saying this is welcoming a person named Dan, in the second he is instead urging people to welcome Dan). This is also consistent with pronunciation. And to take the rule to its full extent I could also mention sentences like "Wow, Jennifer." (the speaker is surprised or amazed and is directing it specifically at particular person he's talking to, possibly as a response to something that person said or did (rather than including everyone around him or just talking to himself)) and "Yes, man." (which is saying yes to a man referred to simply as "man" as a form of slang or endearment, and not a statement about some guy being the kind of person who says yes to most things in life).

    It's often helpful to look at the context/meaning of a sentence to figure out if there should be a comma in it (for example it's not "Hi, there." as you're neither greeting someone referred to as "there" nor beginning a sentence that could be something like "Hi, there aren't any rooms available at the Hilton tonight, so we better find somewhere else to stay the night.", where "there" is not the directional or location "there", but a grammatical word explaing that there exist (or in this case, doesn't exist) available rooms at the Hilton).

    You could also try saying the sentence out loud both ways to find out which sounds right ("Boy, George." is a strange sentence that a person could say when they are surprised and in the company of someone called George, whereas "Boy George" is the stage name of an English singer-songwriter called George Alan O'Dowd, and is pronounced almost as one word and with a shorter vowel sound in "Boy", whereas the former is more drawn out, and the speaker likely didn't even plan the addition of "George" at the end before saying it).

    Despite my terrible, parentheses-ridden explanation, I hope you've learnt something. :)
     
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  14. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank you.
     
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  15. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Well, thirdwind, you're welcome to continue using your "new" English - I gain no benefit from trying to change your mind, so I'm not going to make the effort. Personally, I'm going to opt to placing the comma where I was taught it is actually correct to do so, rather than bending to the whims of people who didn't educate themselves on the usage in the first place.
     
  16. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    I've seen office memos where the person just uses the complimentary closing 'Thanks' or 'Thank you' with a comma after it (without a name). I'd think this is incorrect. In this case a period should follow. See below.

    Hi, Dave,

    [body of text]...

    Thanks,
     
  17. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    My pleasure. :)
     
  18. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Sometimes people use a signature in their emails; a signature automatically goes at the end of the email, so in such cases, having "Thanks," is perfectly acceptable. However, if there's nothing below the "Thanks," I would use a period.
     
  19. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank you. :)
     

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