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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Commas in letters when starting with "hi"

    In professional correspondence, many people address their email to me with "hi," which they always write like this:

    Hi Joe,

    This has always been an eyesore to me. Should there not be a comme after "hi"?

    Hi, Joe,

    But if we do that, then does it not look awkward to have another comma after the name?

    Is there a rule for this? Personally, I bypass the awkwardness by ending it with a period.

    Hi, Joe.

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    #2

    Re: Commas in letters when starting with "hi"

    They are correct. "Hi, Joe" is incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: Commas in letters when starting with "hi"

    It's similar to using "Dear (name)". You wouldn't normally add a comma after "dear", would you? Also, emails are mostly informal and concise. There's no need to be so formal and edgy about your grammar and punctuation.

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    #4

    Re: Commas in letters when starting with "hi"

    Quote Originally Posted by asdf1234 View Post
    It's similar to using "Dear (name)".
    "Dear" is an adjective. "Hi Joe" seems to be like some sort of noun phrase.

    I understand emails are informal but that doesn't mean they should be illiterate. After all, this site is named "using English," not "abusing English," so we want to find the correct way.

    Gillnetter, can you cite any authoritative source? I could very well have been writing this wrong the whole time.

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    #5

    Re: Commas in letters when starting with "hi"

    Quote Originally Posted by Invictus View Post
    Gillnetter, can you cite any authoritative source? I could very well have been writing this wrong the whole time.
    There is no authoritative source of email etiquette. We can please ourselves.

    Rover

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    #6

    Re: Commas in letters when starting with "hi"

    Quote Originally Posted by Invictus View Post
    I understand emails are informal but that doesn't mean they should be illiterate. After all, this site is named "using English," not "abusing English," so we want to find the correct way.
    In recording speech, we use Hi, Joe. However an email is not speech and the opening of a letter or email doesn't require the comma. It's not a question of illiteracy, but a case where a word has moved from the realm of speech to correspondence and when it made this move, the rules that applied before don't necessarily apply. Email is an area, like much of technology, where we are making the rules up as we go along, so treating Hi the way we treat Dear makes sense as they function in the same way in this context.

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